Do you call yourself “We” on your website?

When I see great content on the web, the first thing I do is click on that about us page. I am almost always disappointed. I can tell there is just one guy running the show, but he keeps referring to himself as We.

I did this too in the past. When I created a simple website to provide programming tutorials many years ago, I referred to myself as we. The reason was I wanted to sound like a legit website. This was not the work of a little kid on his laptop that could barely run two application at the same time. It was to be a professional service backed with years of experience.

At XYZ, we carefully curate great programming tutorials from all over the web so you can find them instantly when you need them.

To commemorate this experience, I use the word We. In reality, I was running the circus in the back, manually changing database values from the command line. There was nothing professional about it.

To this day, I work with clients that are very adamant about hiding who they truly are. And even when it is a sole founder, the word 'we' keeps on getting used. When they are small they want to sound big. They use generic terms that are usually common in big faceless companies like IBM or AT&T.

This is a mistake. At least when I see a website that is obviously ran by a small group, I want to hear that small groups voice. Being small is an advantage. There are things you can only do or say when you don't have a thousand employees laboring in your headquarters.

The story of someone running a company from the back of his van is more appealing than a company in a big square building. If big companies like Microsoft or Apple always try to remind us of their humble beginnings it's because those stories matter deeply.

What's your story

It's like children wanting to be grown up, and adults wanting to get back their youth. Take advantage of that and let your users hear you for who and what you are. Add a small blog to your website where the people building the service can communicate with the world. Don't use a generic we to erase your face. Use names, say 'I', let people know that whatever you are building is built by people.

A hat manufactured in a big factory is high quality. It is built using multimillion dollar machines calibrated to create the finest details. Those machines can build thousands of hats a day and the product can last a lifetime for the wearer.

But these machines can't match the personal touch of an expert hat weaver. Simon Espinal made only one Panama hat in 2013 and sold it for $25,000. The difference is when he makes a hat the whole world hears about it. It is delicate and can't last long unless given special care.

Don't hide behind the cover of a corporation. Especially when you are an individual with a story to tell. Your personal voice is what will attract your audience.


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For my eyes only