Two things to do (and not do) when writing your ‘about’ page
Back when the internet had just become a thing, I was in high school, and it wasn’t so uncommon for kids to use platforms like Angelfire or Geocities to create websites.
It seemed like the whole purpose of creating a website was about explaining who YOU were as a person, and putting out content that was specific to an individual’s likes and dislikes (habits too).But, that was more than two decades ago, and as with everything else, the point of building a website (and, specifically, the point of the content on that website) has changed over time, for most people.
I look at websites and their content in a very specific way. I’m not a designer, but I’m a writer, and as I make my way deeper into the world of online business, I approach content for websites differently.
In this post, and potentially others, I’m going to be looking at “About” pages: explaining my philosophies, dos and don’ts that I see happening, and as far as I can tell, best practices. Also, what works for me.
So what IS this page actually about?
Calling it an “about” page is sort of inaccurate.
When I was in high school, most websites were all about the person who created them. But now, even the page that is supposed to share info about the person represented there isn’t really meant to be JUST about the owner of the website.
Now, your “about” page is supposed to draw people in, teach them about you, and your business. But, it’s also supposed to guide them further through your funnel to hopefully entice them to buy, or guide them to explore your content.
That all sounds complicated, right?
It doesn’t have to be so difficult to include those elements in your “about” page.
Here are a few do’s and dont’s to keep in mind when you’re putting this oh-so-important page together.
A few tips for your “About” page
Do: Use your story and sprinkle your personality throughout (throughout the whole website)
Don’t: Throw so much at your reader that you overwhelm them.
You want people to get to know you, so you give them a lot of information - personal info, like your hobbies, tidbits about your family life, what drove you to start an online business or a blog. This isn’t exactly the best way to handle an intro. You don’t throw all of that at someone if you’re interested in setting up a coffee chat, do you?
There’s always a temptation to throw everything on there and see what sticks - put your quirks on display. The problem is that, again, you really shouldn’t be thinking about YOU when you’re creating content.
Your readers don’t need to know at first glance that you collect stamps and have a menagerie if pets AND sing show tunes in the shower. Or that in fourth grade, you had a habit of picking at your fingernails until they bled, or that you spent your summers with Aunt Lucy and Uncle Joe.
These are generalizations, but, you get the picture.
That’s just too much for one page, and may likely overwhelm and push a reader away.
Do: Write the way you talk.
Don’t: try to copy someone else’s voice
When this tip comes out, it’s often pointing to filler words that people use to fill gaps when they’re speaking, and may not even realize they’re staying it. These might include “um,” “like” or “uh...” But, I rarely see that in people’s writing.
It’s a good thing to remind people of, but I think of this tip differently.
Instead, my focus on this particular tip is to use your natural cadence and vocal habits. You want your writing to sound like you. You want to use words and phrases that you’re comfortable with. Don’t copy that blogger you enjoy reading, because she’s not you, and even if you do manage to keep it up, it’ll get old, and won’t feel genuine for your audience.
There’s something else here: another don’t: If, when you speak, you tend to go off on random tangents, you’ll probably want to avoid this when you’re writing your copy, for your “about” page or any other. Save it for stories, or use the tangents as inspiration for potential blog posts to come later.
On each page of your website, the content should have a focus, and that focus should be pretty narrow. Save the exposure of your quirks for appropriate times: in blog posts or social media. Your “about” page has two jobs, maybe three:
Introduce you and your biz to your audience;
Show what you do and how you could help them; and
Entice your readers to poke around and continue exploring your content.
What trips you up the most when you think of your “About” Page (initially writing or refreshing)? I’d love to hear from you. Hit the comment button and let me know your biggest struggle with writing your about pages.
And, if you’re struggling to write your about page, I’d love to chat with you about how Writing Unfiltered can take that stress away. Feel free to reach out via Facebook or Instagram (both @WritingUnfiltered) or email to start a discussion.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
April Bamburg, Content Writer
My business is Writing Unfiltered. Writing is what I do. Unfiltered is the type of life I aspire to have.
I’m a little different from most people I know, partly because I find research delightful. I love learning about new topics in order to write about them.
Anyone you ask will tell you I drink too much coffee. They might also say I’m out of touch when it comes to pop culture. I definitely don’t jump into trendy topics until the buzz has died down. I like music people have never heard of, or is no longer popular. (Seriously. I just binge-watched Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters, and Parenthood this year. Don’t expect me to get into Game of Thrones.) But, I stick with what I like (New Kids on the Block will ALWAYS be on my playlist.)