Have you ever been so OBSESSED with a company, that you follow and copy everything they do? Like, when they change their brand colors to black and green you suddenly think OH GOD WHY DID I CHOOSE YELLOW!?!?
For me, that company is Etsy.
I’m in constant awe of their branding, contact strategy, design, products—they blow me away.
But their About page? Sure, it’s inspiring. But it could also use some work.
First, the pros.
Etsy’s About page does a great job introducing their business. It has it all:
- Short blurb on what they do
- Fun facts
- Inspiring mission
- Overview of items they sell
- Benefits of being a seller
- Origin story
- Pretty photos
I send their About page to all my clients.
But while Etsy understands the importance of having an overview of their business, they also sound a little stuffy. It turns me off a bit.
With such an inspiring community, I'm confused why they're unwilling to inject enthusiasm into their copy.
Here’s what I mean:
They start off: “Etsy is a marketplace.”
Okay. Not the sexiest way to start such an important page, but it doesn’t make me want to die.
Underneath, they’ve added descriptions of who they serve:
- “Creative entrepreneurs”
Again, it’s clear, but not jaw-dropping.
Here’s how I’d improve Etsy’s copy…
1) Bullet points.
That last paragraph is one, long sentence. Since most internet readers skim, they’re likely not getting the full effect.
2) Match a 7th grade reading level.
Your copy should be simple enough for readers of any reading level to understand. Readers of all levels respond better to simpler copy—aim for a 6th or 7th grade level.
The problem with Etsy is that they write at a college level. This is waaaaaayyyy too convoluted for most internet readers—whether or not they know what the word "convoluted" means.
I plug all my copy into Hemingway App. This tool shows where your writing level falls and gives suggestions for simplification.
To capture reader attention and KEEP IT, Etsy needs to simplify their language.
Here’s how I’d edit this first section:
Make, sell and buy unique goods.
The heart and soul of Etsy is our global community:
- Creative entrepreneurs selling what they make or curate
- Shoppers looking for items they can’t find anywhere else
- Manufacturers partnering with sellers to help them grow
- Etsy employees nurturing our marketplace
Now isn't that easier to read?
All I did was add bullets, break up sentences and delete heavy words. Now that dense paragraph doesn't read like an accountant practicing creative writing.
Let’s take this even further.
What if their About page started off like this...
You = On the hunt for gorgeous designs you can’t find anywhere else
Etsy sellers = Creative entrepreneurs creating and curating work they love
Us = Bringing the two together
This killer graphic shows off Etsy’s reach
Everyone loves visuals. Pretty numbers give us a clear story—at a glance.
(Plus, journalists love data.)
It's like they want us to exit the page...
I love this section above—photos + clear copy + bullet points = easy engagement.
But there’s always room for improvement.
This section has the most room for potential, since it’s literally talking about the products they offer. Why aren’t they linking to those items?
I bet you $100 that a simple “Shop Now” button would boost sales within the week.
I mean, just linking the words “handmade items” and “curated recommendations” to actual items and recommendations would do the trick.
IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE READ THIS:
Give! People! Somewhere! To! Go! Next!
If you read my Mistakes post from last week, this is one the biggest roadblocks I see on company About pages.
When you don’t give visitors somewhere to go next, you’re basically telling them to exit your website.
Your About page is essentially a catch all for new visitors, so give each group something to do.
>>Buyers? Get them shopping.
>>Job seekers? Send them to your jobs page.
>>Press? Have them download your media kit.
Etsy’s done a great job creating content buckets for their About page, but they don’t tell them what their next move should be.
They’ve turned their About page into a dead end, NOT a bustling intersection.
Again, this quickly highlights how Etsy helps artists, but again with the links! Come on Etsy! It’s like they don’t want us to spend time on their website.
ETSY, INTERNET READERS ARE DUMB. JUST TELL US WHAT TO DO.
I’d get more engaging here too.
For example, instead of “Open an Etsy shop” I’d write:
The average Etsy seller makes $5,000 per month. Open your Etsy shop now with just 20 cents and your imagination. >>>> LINK TO "CREATE A STORE"
This is my least favorite section.
It’s bulleted and image-heavy like the rest, but the benefits aren’t clear. When was the last time you desperately wanted to “learn the stories of makers?” I don’t even know what that means. It’s like they’re trying to sound pretentious.
Instead, they could write:
Peek inside the studios of Etsy’s most successful sellers (LINK TO BLOG SERIES)
Etsy Teams help artists profit from their work. Read tips you can’t find anywhere else (LINK TO TEAMS PAGE)
HOLY BATMAN SIXTH GRADE TEXTBOOK.
First, the positives:
Huzzah for origin stories!
Not nearly enough companies share their juicy behind-the-scenes. People are obsessed with start-up stories (helllooooo HBO’S Silicon Valley). There’s soooooo much opportunity here!
THAT IS TOO. MUCH. TEXT.
Guess what Hemingway App told me about their reading level for this chunk of copy? GRADE EIGHTEEN.
Is that even a grade?!?!
I BROKE HEMINGWAY.
Honestly, this whole section is a bummer. If I weren’t writing this email I wouldn’t have bothered to read past the first line.
But I did. And I rewrote the whole thing so you can see how basic storytelling and simpler language can take your copy from corporate to connection (say that three times fast):
In an apartment in Brooklyn, Rob Kalin and two friends designed the first Etsy website. It was the summer of 2005 and in the spirit of handmade, they spliced their own cables and wrote their own code.
[HEY ETSY: WE NEED STORY HERE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED NEXT ETSY. How did they grow it? What big important things happened to turn Etsy into a household name? You’re missing the good stuff!!!]
By 2008 Chad Dickerson joined as Etsy's first CTO. He created the company’s foundational engineering culture, treating “Code as Craft”.
Chad became CEO in 2011, transforming every aspect of how we make, buy and sell goods.
Under Chad's leadership, the website that began in a sweltering Brooklyn apartment has evolved into one of the world's most sophisticated technology platforms. A platform connecting sellers and buyers across borders, languages and devices. Etsy now spans the globe—creating lasting change in the world.
No, this copy doesn’t sound as “professional.” But it does sound like a human being.
In the wise words of Marie Forleo:
“The future of business is about being more connected to your humanity, not less.”
Overall, I do love Etsy’s About page.
Its structure, flow, earnest attitude and design has inspired so many of my own projects.
But a few changes would make it even better. This single page could be working work so hard for Etsy’s business, they just need a few tweaks.
- Clearer, simpler language
- Shorter paragraphs and sentences
- Obvious calls to action at the end of the section:
- Shop Now
- Open an Etsy Store
- Read Our Blog
What do you think about Etsy's About page? Let us know in the comments!
PSSSST: We write About pages for a living. In fact, it’s pretty much all we do. Just call me Marian “Specialization” Schembari. Click here to find out more about how you can turn your About page into the most powerful page on your website.