I blame Roger Overall.
If it hadn't been for his generosity, I'd never have solved this puzzle. It's vexed everyone in business since we started putting up websites.
Conundrum, enigma, dilemma - call it what you like - we all want to know "what's the most valuable Page on my website?"
Read on if you want to know how Roger Overall led me to the right answer. (Warning: this is not a short story.)
It was a wet Saturday afternoon, about 3:18 when I drove past his house heading for the English Market & a printer's shop.
I'd been doing family work & business work all day. Wanted time out for Paul - but first had to get two signed contracts shipped to USA & India.
It was raining cats & dogs.
Roger Overall didn't answer his phone when I rang him. He was the one guy I thought might be able & willing to help me. He was probably doing family stuff or editing a video?
So I gave up on him. I simply thought there must be somewhere in Cork where I could get a contract scanned, signed & out into a PDF. (Cork is not a big place.)
Ever wished you had an "electronic signature" App on your iPhone or Android?
Roger Overall rang me back. Said he'd leave home, take me to their city centre office & sort me out.
I stopped the car, turned off the windscreen wipers & doubled back to collect him. He might be my saviour?
In Story Foundry HQ, Roger Overall did it all for me. Chris Brogan in Boston & Mr Seejo in Ahmedabad got their contracts. David Acheson, Chief Party Officer, PartyWorld, Waterford got their report on work-in-progress.
By 5pm - I was exhausted. Thrilled but feeling as if I hadn't chilled out all day.
Mr O took me for a coffee at F I L T E R (their Facebook page).
Filter was new to me. A J Leon & Misfits-Inc (including CFO Cheese King) were there recently with Roger - but I didn't like filtered coffee.
I drink coffee from Espresso machines. Never touch instant, avoid filter coffee. But I was curious enough to follow my most generous friend. The least I could do was buy him a coffee?
The coffee house was stunning. The smell blew me away. Art on walls went perfectly with the "distressed" wood of a handmade counter (recycled stuff). The owner reminded me of a white Haile Selassie. The barista had particularly delicate fingers & chatted attractively all the time.
I was hooked in 90 seconds.
What has all this got to do with the question: "what's the most important page on my website?"
You better have a coffee - this is a long story. And the mystery is yet to unravel.
Who are these guys? I know they're serving coffee. I suppose it'll be OK - but where are they from? How've two young men ended up running a funny little business like this in Cork Ireland? Where did they get the money to open this place? More interestingly to me, where did they get the ideas? Why is this coffee house like this? Why isn't it like all the others?
Why? Who? When? I was full of curiosity. A real nosy parker me.
But that's what I'm like.
I won't even go in unless it looks interesting - unless one of my trust agents points me towards them (in that case I'll go into any old crap).
But once I'm inside the door, the questions flow.
I'm one of those weird people who always wants to know "who's behind this business?"
For me, it's a matter of trust. Any old shyster can put up a fancy sign, get a cool decorator to knock up an edgy image, claim to be wonderful - and trick me into buying.
I'm a mixture of curious, suspicious & worried. Worried a place I fall in love with will go out of business - isn't built on sound foundations.
For me, it's the people behind the business that matter most. Why are they in business? How sound are they?
Were these coffee guys a flash in the pan? Or were they the real McCoy?
Roger Overall introduced me - and in my peculiar way I went to work doing my due diligence.
By the time I'd prowled all over the shop taking photos to share via Instagram, bought a filtered coffee (they have an espresso machine by the way) and got chatting to another customer - I was convinced I'd stumbled into a gem - the best in Cork (for me).
Surely there was a secret weakness?
There was. It was the draught coming in through the toilet window. It was the wastepaper basket that was turned round the wrong way. My detecting eyes, ears & nose found this place close to perfection - because the people behind the business struck me as well worth coming back to meet again.
The experience of getting behind the appearance of the business, into towards the heart of the matter, was like the About Us page on a website.
"What's the most important page on your website?"
The one that sells you what you want, when you want it with the least friction - right?
Wrong. That's the one that buys you a transaction. The least thing you want from someone who visits your website is time. Two seconds is better than one. Obviously five minutes is great. Obviously, people who browse are great (you measure visits don't you?).
People who buy are greater. So the most important page on your website is the page where they push the "Buy Now" button?
People buy, have their needs satisfied - and move on.
I wanted to chill out. I bought a coffee. I got chilled out. I moved on.
But look at me now - telling the whole world I've found the coffee place in Cork - if not in Ireland.
Because I saw the Product Page of the website and was impressed?
I think you've got the message. I think the penny's dropped.
Roger Overall showed me the About Us page. He took me in there, introduced me to the two coffee guys (Lennon & McCartney of coffee - or might they be Gilbert & George?). I was able to immerse myself in the business.
The result was more than a transaction (I spend about €15 in Filter - including the takeaway "Cascara Coffee Cherry" from Bolivia.
The result was the start of loyalty.
The About Us page on your website is where you start attracting loyalty. It's were you can become irresistible. The stakes are high. Most people won't go straight to your About Us page - but when they do, that Page can hook them for life.
Just as the Filter guys have done by simply talking with me.
You see they had time for chat. Oh yes, I got my coffee - but what I really got was attention.
Humans love attention: we crave it from birth.
Your About Us page is where you give attention to your visitors.
You anticipate their every curiosity & show they you have empathy for their unspoken questions.
- You show photos of yourself & the people behind the business - photos that reveal what kind of people you are
- You show where you've come from (that'll tell people where you're likely to go next)
- You show what it's like behind the scenes (in the restaurant, in the toilet, even back home)
The owner of Filter didn't know what I was interested in. He knew I wanted a coffee (value €2.50 top whack). He had no idea I wanted a place for life.
He simply was himself on the day.
Your About Us page simply has to be you.
Only one thing is certain I think, people will get more and more curious - 'selfies' matter more than ever.
Roger Overall & I left, carrying a bag each.
But I got a gem - my answer to the question we all want answered:
"What's the most important page on my website?"