It’s amazing how often this happens: I visit an author blog and, finding something interesting, I go looking for the “About” page. And when I get there, it’s a total disappointment.
Typically there will be a couple of paragraphs of copy and a photo, but often there’s not even that. For some reason the Blogger.com platform seems particularly guilty in providing little in the way of an “About” page.
But even when authors have an about page, it falls victim to one of two problems:
- Boring. Do you want to read about where I went to college? No, I didn’t think so, since there’s no benefit in it to you, one way or another.
- Written like a press release. Writing about yourself in the third person can be awkward, and it’s easy to slip into “corporate-speak” when we try.
The Goal of the “About” Page
I think if you look at your analytics you’ll find that your “About” page is one of the more popular sites on your blog.
All of us want to connect to the person behind the words, that’s just a natural human desire. It pays to recognize this because it’s an important signal.
When I visit an “About” page I’m open to more engagement with the author. I’m saying with my clicks and my time that I’m interested in you. Since a lot of what we’re trying to do with our blogs is build reader engagement, you can see why your “About” page is actually a crucial and uniquely powerful asset in that effort.
Understanding this makes it more clear how to fashion your own “About” page.
Your aim is to humanize yourself, step out from behind the author’s viewpoint and engage with readers directly.
It makes no sense to waste this precious communication time with information that has no interest to anyone outside your immediate family.
“They want to see the face behind the blog. People use your About page to decide if they’ll subscribe or not. Ideally, you’ll want to let them know that you know what you’re talking about. Readers also like to be assured you’re human. Assure them.”—Martyn Chamberlin, Copyblogger
Statistics Tell the Story
A look at Google Analytics tells the story of why we need to pay attention to the “About” Page. On this blog, over the last 30 days there were 370 visits to my main “About” page. When I was working through a course in blogging I put a fair amount of work into getting this page to work.
I have a secondary “About” page, my “Hire Me” page that performs a similar function. It got 523 visits over the same period.
Multiplied out for the year, it looks like this:
“About Joel” page = 370 x 12 = 4,440 visits
“Hire Me” page = 523 x 12 = 6,276 visits
That’s over 10,000 people who will click over to my “About” pages in the next year. I want to use that opportunity to my advantage, and that’s something you can do, too.
Check your “About” page to see if it:
- Communicates in a personal way to readers
- Contains information readers of your site would fine relevant or interesting
- Shows more sides of you than you usually show in your articles
- Uses photographs or videos to make the information more personal
- Links to other assets of yours or to contact information.
Chris Brogan has an excellent “About” page which speaks in a very personal voice but still manages to list lots of impressive achievements.
Colleen Wainwright shows another way to connect with readers while providing lots of background at the same time.
Joanna Penn does a great job of personalizing her “About” page while reinforcing the mission of her blog.
Paul Stamatiou shows how you can make an “About” page both interesting and informative.
I hope this encourages you to take a fresh look at your “About” page as another way to build reader engagement. Your readers will thank you if you do.