Yesterday I published a post on what About pages are and why they’re a good idea.
Did you know that About pages are one of the most clicked on pages of your site? This is because no matter where in your blog story a reader has arrived, if they click on the About page they can get up to speed on your story, get a flavour for the real you not just the snapshot one or two blog posts have given them and the About page helps them decide if they are going to come back or not.
I know from your responses to my post yesterday and to your comments on Twitter that I’m not the only one who gets frustrated when I come across a blog I’ve never seen before and because I enjoy it so much I want to know more about the writer so I click on the bit that says About Me and it’s a paragraph of the same ol’, same ol':
‘I’m a SAHM with two beautiful children, Rosie aged 7 and Jasper aged 3, two lazy ginger cats and a crazy border collie who thinks she’s human. No probably better than human. I love my husband and I love making cupcakes.’
That tells me nothing other than that this blogger is the same as several thousand other bloggers–names of beautiful children and description of pets varying.
Tell me something worthy of yourself! Whether your goals are to make money from your blog or simply connect with other people, your About page is an important space on your blog. Use it wisely.
Every About page should include:
1. Who you are.
Your name (or alias if you’re an anonymous blogger), perhaps something about what you do such as ‘I’m a freelance writer’ or ‘I’m a windscreen repairman’ or whatever. Also include any links to projects or achievements such as a published novel.
If you are a SAHM (Stay At Home Mum/Mom) then say so, especially if you run a parent blog, as this information is relevant to your blog. Just consider how you say it.
2. Your experience and how it adds to your blog or the services you’re offering.
You provide a service through your blog. It may be obvious, such as the freelance work you do, or it may be subtle such as offering a bit of humour in someone’s daily reading.
If you’re a freelance writer and you would like to do more freelance work, list some of the projects you’ve worked on in the past, links to work online, and your niche if you have one and perhaps some testimonials. Add a direct solution to the readers’ problem:
‘Need original, SEO copy for your website? I have worked with top garden, homemaking and interior design sites creating copy for their homepages as well as commissioned articles within the sites.’
If you’re a windscreen repairman and your blog is about the different customers, cars and situations you visit on a daily basis, then write a sentence or two about why you decided to create a blog around it.
If you are indeed a SAHM with little Rosie and Jasper and a crazy dog, you offer the shared family stories, sometimes humorous, sometimes painful—kind of like a coffee morning with friends. ‘Welcome to my coffee morning!’ might be a good place to start your About page!
3. Contact details
Remember people do not have much time. If they have to search for your contact details they will probably not search for long. Make it super easy for people to contact you.
Even if you aren’t interested in making money from your blog, readers still might have reason to contacting you. Perhaps a post really struck a cord in them and they just wanted to say a bit more than they might in the comments. Or a journalist might want to interview you for an article, or a reader might like to ask if you’d like to write a guest post for their site.
You can create new contact details that are not related to your regular details. I have a private email address and a work email. This is not because I am worried about my millions of fans flooding my private inbox, but because it is just easier for my organising to keep them separate.
4. A photo
This can be of you (smiling, hopefully) or if you blog anonymously, a logo or other recognisable image such as your regular gravatar. An image of the writer behind the voice of the blog is a great way to establish another connection with your readers.
An extra note here about images that represent you and your blog: Think about using the same image on all social media for each identity (most people have one identity, but some have more than one, say for work and for social). It helps establish your brand by increasing your brand identity. This is important if you want to increase your network, even if you aren’t interested in making money.
If you think any other pages or posts on your blog are relevant to the information on your About page, include them! If you mention that your blog accepts advertising and you have a separate page with rates, link to it. If you have a page with a list of characters whom you blog about regularly, link to it. If you have a post that was mentioned in The Times, link to it.
6. Audience, aim, action.
As with all your posts, always remember who your audience is. Speak to them.
Really think about what your aim is with this About page. Do you want more work? Do you want to connect to more like-minded people? Do you want people to see that you can write about redundancy in a funny way and that it really is ok to laugh about it sometimes? Don’t forget your aim.
And what action would you like your readers to take? Would you like them to return? Show them where your RSS feed button and email sub form are. Would you like them to tell more people about you? Offer a link to Stumble Upon or a Tweet This button. Would you like them to hire you? Make it easy to contact you.
7. Be succinct.
As with your blog posts, keep your About page well under 800 words. Don’t let the reader grow bored before they learn all the useful info about you that you want to share.
8. Be creative.
Even if you think you’re not creative, you can play around with the design of this page to make it easier to read and more eye catching.
Try any or all of these ideas:
Create a catchy title. Use ‘About’ or About Me’ in your menu, but on the page try playing around with something different. For example:
- ‘Who is Michelle Garrett?’ as a title and continue the theme with ‘Where has she been?’ and ‘Where is she going?’ as sub headings.
- Or ‘Hello! My name is Michelle Garrett and I’m a sharp, fast freelance writer. Seriously.’
- Maybe ‘Profile – the woman behind the cupcake’ (or whatever gravatar you use if you are an anonymous blogger). Something like this could also be used if you’re known for something, such as a published book, ‘the woman behind the novel’ or a food critique, ‘the woman behind the empty plate’.
Divide your info into different headings.
Use bullet points or numbers.
Use a theme such as ‘The top 10 weirdest things about me’ or ‘The 5 craziest reasons why I decided to blog’. Just as with post titles, something different will catch people’s interest and they’ll want to know more.
If you’re a designer, showcase your talents! Design an interesting page here.
Consider making this page different from the rest of your blog to set it apart—a background colour (one that’s easy on the eyes!), a large image behind your copy, giant font, or instead of much text, use your own cartoons illustrating each point with a caption underneath.
Use vlogging (video blogging)—but you don’t necessarily have to make a video of yourself sitting in front of a camera.
- If your blog is about travel, put together some clips of places you’ve been.
- If your blog is about cooking show clips of people enjoying your food.
- Don’t feel you have to do a voiceover either; you can add music and/or subtitles effectively.
- One word of caution on vlogs—remember that people cannot always listen to sound on their computers because of various reasons (such as their location), and some people may have streaming issues. Put your most important information in text form on the page.
9. Your About page can change as often as you like.
Don’t let indecision stop you from starting!
Get on with it. Play with the page. Ask friends to have a look. Do you like something someone else does? Try it on yours!
Study the professional sites for ideas. Unless you have a lot of design experience or a lot of money you may not be able to copy some of those ideas, but it’s a great place to start thinking of what you can do with yours.
Have fun with it.
10. Tell people about your About page!
When you get one version finished, leave a comment here, post it on Twitter, and leave a link on Facebook. If I see it I will share it as well.
* * *
If you thought this post was useful, share it with the world! We could use more About pages that’re great reads. ‘Like’ it with the Facebook button, or ReTweet or Stumble using the Share / Save button below this post–thank you!