I can't count how many "About Us" pages I've read on websites. I'm continually reading them for business reasons. It's likely the first place I turn when learning about a potential client and their products or services. The frustrating part can be how poorly About Us pages typically communicate and describe the company. Many times, we in the design world, are often selling and explaining the visual strategies behind a design, but the copy is just as critical to the success of a piece as the visual design.
One of the classic hurdles a company encounters is trying to articulate what their company, products and services do. Way too often the company is talking to themselves rather than trying to inform their audience, and in the case of a corporate website, missing an opportunity at a critical touch-point. If your audience is not able to come away with an understanding of your company and then be able to convey that to others, you are probably missing something.
One of the first questions we at Percepted pose a client at the start of a brand identity or other project is, "describe your company in 3 or 4 sentences as if you've just met someone for the first time at a cocktail party". It's not surprising how many people find this a challenge. The purpose of this question is to really extract in common language what the company does without any of the industry jargon and sales fluff.
A good, simple test to see if your About Us page is articulating what your company does in a simple and clear way is to ask few people who are not industry insiders or already familiar with your company to read the copy and get their reaction. If they are having trouble receiving a clear understanding of your company, products or services, you may want to revisit the copy, positioning statement and even the over-all brand strategy.