Your About page is probably one of the most important and most viewed pages on your blog or business website. And yet many bloggers and small business owners don’t have one. That’s understandable because it can be one of the most difficult pages to write. You see the page as “about you”; you’re putting yourself out there. And a lot of us find that writing about ourselves is not easy. We want to get it right. So we procrastinate and leave the page blank, which is really the very worst thing we can do.
This tutorial will help you get started on your About page, and it will help you finish.
It’s About Them!
Instead of viewing your About page as About You!, think of it as a conversational introduction to the readers, customers, and clients you’re meeting. It’s simply a “Hi! How are you?” While it is one-sided when you first put it online, it won’t be for long.
Another view is to think of it like going to a party. There will be people there you don’t know. But you don’t go in and stand with your face to the wall (a blank About page). You grab something to eat or drink; you smile; you try to say Hi to someone.
Step 1. Think About Your Reader
First, think about who you want to read your About page. Maybe it’s first time visitors. Who are they? They want to know what you do or write about and whether they should come back. Someday these visitors will be customers or clients. They want to see if you are someone they can trust. These are the people you want to talk to.
And guess what? Your visitors want to see who you are. You need to show, and not just tell, them who you are. Add a recent photo of yourself or your staff. Some will tell you to have a formal photo shoot; others will tell you a candid image is better, but whichever you decide, don’t procrastinate doing it.
Step 2. The Interview
You will want to (mostly) answer the 5 W’s about your blog or small business – Who, What, When, Where, and Why or How? But how do you answer these questions without sounding, well, stiff and formal?
One of the easiest ways to get your About page written is to have someone interview you, and record your answers (smart phone, computer) to these questions. Then you can transcribe your interview. Allow your answers to be naturally conversational. Perhaps your helper can ask some followup questions too. If you need to, you can interview yourself, and then listen to your answers. If you were someone else, what followup questions would you ask? Don’t get distracted by how your voice sounds; just concentrate on what you’re saying.
Here are the questions to answer:
- Who? This one’s easy; just your business or blog name and your name too.
- When? This one is easy too. When did you start? Sure, it’s great if your blog or business has been around for awhile. But if you’re just starting your business or blog, you can tell about when or how you got interested in what you’re doing now.
- Where? Where are you located? You can also add where your readers or customers are located. For instance if you have an e-commerce store; where are you; where do you ship from; and where do you ship to.
- What? This one might be a bit harder to answer. What do you do? What’s your expertise? What does your blog or your business or you do for your reader or client? Do you talk to young moms about raising children? Do you sell widgets? Do you coach those in the midst of a career change? For this question, it helps if you know your niche or ideal client. But it really is OK to be general, if you’re just starting out. You can refine, as you learn more about your readers or clients. This is mostly the “features” of what you offer.
- Why or How? Why are you different? How do you help your readers or customers or clients? What is your passion? This one is harder to answer, and this is usually the one to get stuck on. This one tells the benefits of what you’re trying to do.
Step 3. Use a Formula to Organize
If you’re having difficulties with organization, you can use a formula to help you organize your interview. If you think a formula will make you sound formal and stuffy, remember that you have all your answers in a conversational format, and your answers are different from everyone elses, so it will still have your personality.
Here’s a simple About page formula from ProBlogger. There is also a great example of how to use it.
- who you are…
- your expertise and how it addresses…
- their problem or goal, and how they can…
- contact you
Henneke from Enchanting Marketing shares how to make your about page sparkle. She tells you to answer three questions, and then describes how to write a 3-step intro with personality.
- Who are you writing for?
- What action would you like him to take?
- Why would your reader take action? What can you promise him?
This is another About formula from Shawn Graham. He also has a nice list of questions to use instead of the 5 W’s.
- Establish A Conversational Tone
- Tell Your Small Business Story
- Show Some Personality
Here’s an About page formula from One Xtra Pixel. Don’t miss the comments on using a photo for your About page!
- Name and profession
- Specialty, niche, or area of focus
- Experience – list number of years experience, any high-end clients, or if worked for a well-known company
- Useful personality traits – pays attention to detail, thinker, entrepreneurial mindset, perfectionist
- Publications, interviews, or other recognitions in the design community
- Education and work experience
- Location, age, general family life
A bonus fourth formula is to find an About page that you really like. Then you can organize your words into their format. But again, don’t use this one, if it causes you to procrastinate, and keeps you from finishing your About page.
Step 4. Put It Online!
You’ve thought of your reader; you have your photo; you’ve interviewed to answer the 5 W’s; you’ve used one of the formulas to organize your words. Now upload it to your blog or website before you change your mind! And then leave it alone for at least a week.
Step 5. Add Something Extra
OK. It’s been a week. Now you can go back and read your page, and decide if it needs anything extra, as long as it doesn’t detract from helping your readers to understand what you do.
If you use these suggestions for your About page, please let me know! If you have some other great tips, I would love for you to leave a comment.