It’s easy to write blog post after blog post about your chosen field of interest (Well, not easy, but just go with me here).
You could sit down at your keyboard and probably crank out a post about gardening/car repair/marketing tactics/(Your Interest) pretty damn easily. You might not even have given a second thought to your About Page because you’re thinking “people come to my blog because of my content, not because of me.”
What you might not realize is that a lot of times, the About Page is one of the most visited pages on a blog. Someone finds you through a link or Google search, reads a post or two and gets interested in who’s writing these great things. If you don’t have something interesting and helpful to tell them there’s a good chance that connection won’t be made and badda-bing badda-boom, you just lost yourself a subscriber.
So what things are you doing (or not doing) that’s totally screwing up your About Page? (This is all assuming you have an About Page. If you don’t, that’s step one. Then come back and read these guidelines).
1. You Don’t Tell Me Who You Are
This one seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many About Pages don’t even have the person’s name. They’re so used to using it and working with it that they forget people finding the site for the first time don’t know them as well as they know themselves.
Tell us your name.
Also, don’t forget to include any other names you may go by online as well (if you want those known). Maybe you have a pseudonym that you don’t mind sharing or a nickname that all your social profiles are listed under. Those should be listed as well.
Let me take this opportunity to say that the name you use here should be the one you want people to associate with you through the blog, not something like a Football nickname, while that can be listed if it’s pertinent. Even if this is a pseudonym, it’s fine, just ask Johnny B. Truant.
This, more than any other, should be the page that has all your social handles (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc). Make sure no one comes away from your About Page without knowing who you are.
P.S. This includes including a picture of yourself. People want to know what you look like, even if there are pictures of you elsewhere on the site, always include one on the About Page.
2. You Suck At Talking About Yourself
This isn’t the page to pull back and go all professional on everyone if that’s not your M.O. The About Page should be written in the same Voice as the rest of you blog, if not a little sillier. You are talking about yourself, after all.
Let your true colors fly here. Think about it, this page is all about you and no one knows you better than you. You have a veritable Doctorate in you. You’re well above Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of expert-dom on the subject of you. No one can disagree with you, challenge your posits, add more information. You have the run of the table on this one.
Take advantage of it. Tell us everything we need to know, but tell us in your Voice.
P.S. This is NOT an invitation for you to write an opus. Long About Pages are almost worse than not having one at all. We all like you, but we aren’t willing to sit through 3,000 words about you. Remember this simple mnemonic: KISTSTFU (Keep It Simple Then Shut The Fuck up)
3. You’re More Creative Than Useful
Maybe you think it’s super cute to have your entire About Page be a collage picture of your Vision Board. Maybe you think it’s be quite chic to have it simply be a video of you talking. Maybe you’re a total unconformist and your About Page is only one word.
Yes, you want your personality to show through in your About Page, but ultimately it’s not for you. Yes, it’s about you, but it’s for the people who don’t know you who find themselves there to learn about you. You just having a white screen with the word “Writer” on it tells me nothing about you except that you think we all have ESP and just “figure the rest out”.
Be yourself, but be yourself in enough description so the readers of your About Page will understand that self. Your one goal on this page is to have every person that finds him(or her)self reading it come away having a full understanding of the areas that need to know about you to read your blog.
God forbid you try to get business through your blog and your About Page is shitty. You think people are going to give you money with nothing else on your About Page but a picture of a kitten on a air hockey table?
P.S. This isn’t to say that you can’t include those videos or pictures on the About Page, but make sure they’re supplemented with a fuller explanation of your person, writing, services, etc.
4. It’s All About You (Kind Of)
There are a LOT of great About Pages out there. There’s also a lot of crappy ones. If you keep the steps above in mind, you won’t find yourself in the latter and will probably start seeing some more people joining up to read along with what you write.
Who knows, you might even get some more business out of it, all because of some simple changes to one page on your blog.
There’s a lot to be said when you talk about yourself. It’s an artform all of it’s own. Make sure you’re doing it well.
Have you seen any exceptionally great (or poor) About Pages in your travels? Who’s are some of your favorites?