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Write a More Compelling ‘About’ Page

July 1, 2013

Did you know that your “About” page is probably the most frequently visited page on your website? Check your analytics. You may be surprised.

Is your About page as compelling as the rest of your site? Or is it ordinary, an after thought? Here are some ideas to spur you to write a more compelling About page.

Write in your own voice

Maybe it’s because people find it difficult to write about themselves. Maybe it’s because they think that professional means formal, but often About pages are dry, stiff, and terribly boring. You’re a writer, for heaven’s sake. Don’t stop being creative here. Make your personality and your writerly voice come through on  your About page, too.

By the way, it’s  more than okay to write your About in first person. (Unless you’re a Famous Person, we know you’ve written your own bio anyway.)

Write for your audience

Who are they, and why do they come to your website? Your About page should help you accomplish your goal for the site. Address readers directly. If you’re an author who wants to attract more readers, then engage them in a personal way that builds connection and loyalty. If you’re a freelancer wanting more clients, give people a sense of what it’s like to work with you. Differentiate yourself from competitors.

Tell a story

People will connect with you through your story more readily than they will through lists of facts or credentials. (Show, don’t tell!) No, don’t tell your full biography, and don’t go on and on at length, but do share a story that shows why you do what you do. An author’s story could answer such questions as: Why do you write? When did you first start writing? Where do you get your ideas? A freelancer might have a story about how she helped a client. Show people who you are and what you believe in.

Show the real you

Post a good photo of yourself or two, an avatar or stock photo just won’t do. I am surprised by how many author and freelancer sites don’t include profile photos. (I wonder: what are they hiding?) People want to know the real you. Add something personal, too. Something unrelated to your writing. Mention a hobby, a special talent, a pet, or a favorite food. Give people another avenue for connecting with you, human to human.

Include your credentials, but don’t pad

Include your publications, your experience, your education and your skills. You  can also list honors you’ve received and associations you’re involved in, but try to incorporate your credentials in an elegant way. And don’t pad! Name only the biggies, and keep it relevant and concise. Unless you can make an intriguing story of it, your potential readers or clients really care if your chihuahua placed first in show in your town’s pet show.

Oh yeah, and include a sample reviews or endorsements or two, and a button to click to buy your book, sign up for your mailing list, or contact you.

Here are some examples of  About pages that are beyond the ordinary. What do you think of them? How does yours compare?  Please share examples of other About pages that have intrigued you.

  • Mary Burton – covers all the ground, but starts like a story
  • Carl Hiaasen – the humor he is famous for shows through
  • Maria Popova – unusual word choices for an unusual blog
  • Andrew Reifman – clever and outside of the box, perfect for a person who sells his creativity

______________________________
Mary Ann de Stefano is the editor of The Florida Writer, the official magazine of the Florida Writers Association. She is also a writer, editor, and organizer of writing workshops with 30 years of experience in publishing and writing consulting. Besides working one-on-one with writers who are developing books, she builds websites and advises on e-marketing. Mary Ann does business at MAD about Words, named as a play on her initials and love for writing.

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5 Comments
  1. Don Royster permalink
    August 13, 2013 1:57 am

    The more I look at blogs the more I realize how important the About page is. The way I look at the About page is that it not only should tell you a bit about the blogger but also should be a Mission Statement for the blog. I recently came across a blog that looked like a serialized novel but I couldn’t really tell if it was. I went to the About page and all I read was that the blogger was a mother with two children and a husband. The blogger gave me no reason to return.

  2. August 13, 2013 8:10 am

    Good point, Don. There should be a “call to action” of some kind. In this case it could have simply been “Tell me what you think about my novel in progress” (in the comment section or via email). Often there’s no call to action, because the person doesn’t really have a clear idea of what she’s trying to achieve with the blog or website.

  3. August 13, 2013 2:03 pm

    I am doing a presentation on blogging for a class at Full Sail. I am using your blog post here as a part of the presentation.

  4. August 13, 2013 2:08 pm

    Thanks, Don. I assume you’ll give me credit. Tell them to visit me at MADaboutWords.com! Thanks!

  5. August 13, 2013 2:40 pm

    I will. I am putting a link to the blog in my presentation.

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