How to Write a Great About Page
I didn't quite know what to expect when I asked Kate Marlys, owner of Philly PR Girl, to speak about how to write a great about page at the January PHLBloggers meet up. In the past four years of reading blogs I've read a lot of great about pages (I really should have been keeping a list), but here's the thing about a great about page, there are so many different ways to make it happen - and Kate absolutely knew that.
Kate led a discussion of everything you could possibly put on your about page. She talked about what worked and didn't work on various pages and we talked about a few of our specific sites. Every idea can work, it just depends on how you do it. The key is to go through the list and decide what works best for you and your brand. Think like a visitor, what is somebody going to want to see when they arrive on your page? Maybe even ask a few of them what kind of information they looked for when they arrived. Browse the list below and decide which items work best for you.
This might not actually be a tangible item on the list, but it's an interesting start to your brainstorm. There are so many names that your about page can have: About, [Your Name], About The Blog, Who's That Girl? (boy), Let Me Introduce Myself, Meet [Your Name], etc. There's no harm in choosing "About", but isn't it kind of liberating to know you have free reign?
Putting a picture of yourself on your about page is a good practice. It's a good way to help people feel more of a connection to you. A handful of the blogs we browsed had blogger pictures with pure white backgrounds, which had a super fun effect. This could be a place for you to introduce your family, the love of your life, your cats, or more.
Personal Information (Who You Are)
If your blog is a personal blog, it's great to give a little information about yourself, something that somebody can connect with. Think about including your name, where you're from, where you live, how old you are, and some of your hobbies. There are a handful of ways you can do this - as paragraphs, divided into sections, Q&A format, FAQs, etc. Laura from On the Racks does a great job of breaking out her about page into categories.
Blog Information (How You Got Started)
It may be useful to explain how your blog got started. If you started it because you were trying to fill a gap that you found, you may be able to connect with others looking for the same type of resource you were. This can be combined with personal informartion, but could be written in the third person if your blog takes a more formal tone. Erica from PS. I Made This has an about page that shows a great example of combining personal and blog information on the same page.
Where To Begin
Where is somebody going to go if they arrive on your site for the first time? You may want to lead them through top posts, series you write, or some of your own favorite posts. Give somebody the map that you want them to follow; it's not being pushy, it's being helpful.
*Aside: You may be able to write three different about pages and put them all under an "About" title on your navigation bar depending on your theme format. You can check out a great example of that on the Maiedae site.
Depending on the name of your blog, you might be able to do something fun like The Man Repeller blog where you define what the title of your blog name means on the about page.
Goods and Services
If you sell services or goods this might be the place for you to tell people about it. Maybe you have a specific design or thought process that others don't and want to share a bit of the secret to entice people. It's up to you if you want to add prices to those services (there's such a debate about that), but that sort of detail probably belongs on a page of its own.
Work With Me
This is different from goods and services. Work With Me is about collaboration - working with another blogger, working with a brand, working with a public relations person - there are so many different people to help build your brand; sometimes you just have to let people know it's an option.
Make sure people know how to contact you. If there are social media buttons plastered all over your page, you might not need to include them on the about page, but make sure people know how to reach you if they want to. And make sure you don't forget an email address.
Quotes & Testamonials
Reach out to your previous clients to get testamonials. If you don't have any clients yet, but want testamonials, consider doing a test run with a friend or acquaintance to get some feedback. Who knows, you might even be able to work some kinks out of your process. Testamonials are a great way to prove to other people that your services are worth buying and blog worth following.
This was one of the coolest ideas that we saw. If you've lived a lot of places, done a lot of things, or just in general traveled on an interesting path it might be worth taking people through the highlights. Danielle LaPorte does a great job with this on her about page. They also have a pretty great "About the Team" section for anybody looking to talk about more than one person.
If you have the resources, you may want to consider creating a video to promote your blog, it's a great way to capture people's attention. It doesn't need to be all inclusive, it's just a teaser to get people to peruse the rest of your site. Lauren from The Skinny Confidential has a great example of a video, check it out.
As Seen On
If you've been featured around the web or in print, you may want to include these on your about page as well to let your visitors know that other people think you're awesome too.
GIFs may not provide much actual content, but they can be a lot of fun. We found this one on the ABM about page, check it out. They also have some great examples of how to meet a team of people instead of just one blog writer.
Call to Action
This is possibly the most important item to put on your about page. So you've gotten to the point that people want to learn more about you, now what? Where are they supposed to go? Do you want them to contact you? Follow you? Check out other posts of yours around the web? Work with you? Buy something from you? Make sure your visitor is clear on their next steps before leaving the page.
Mailing List Sign Up
This is a great place for you to throw in a mailing list sign-up. Think about offering a free printable with the signup. If people have made it this far, they'll probably want to stick around for a while.
As for how to actually do it, there are the steps to make it happen, and it's a lot of trial and error. Don't forget to follow the steps listed above. 1: Choose three or four items from the list above. 2: Figure out the layout (it's great to sketch this stuff out). 3: Write your content. 4: Ask for feedback from two or three people in your life (or your mother, sometimes usually mothers know best) - or find a feedback buddy and trade advice. Remember, at the end of the day that it's your about page and to do what you want. 5: Update as necessary. Your about page is constantly changing as you change, so don't forget to show it a little love.
Be on the lookout for a new Chrystina Noel about page soon. And don't forget to leave a comment below about what you're going to add to your own page (or what you'd like to see on the pages of some of the bloggers you follow).
Here's a picture of the group. If you're in the Philadelphia area don't forget to check out the PHLBloggers page. Thanks to everybody who came out!
(top row) Chrystina from Chrystina Noel, Sarah from Smoorelovin, Julie from The Working Body Therapy, Rebecca from Young Bird, Brigette from Brigette I, Kate from Philly PR Girl
(bottom row) Melissa from Skinny Affair, Jess from Philly PR Girl, Emily from Her Philly, Shen from Shen Dove Style, Jill from Philly PR Girl
PS. Don't forget to check out the Philly PR Girl recap here.