068 How to Craft an About Page That People Actually Read and Share

There really is no right or wrong way to create about page. The only question is this: is it interesting?

Remember, people will read a lot if it is interesting. However, there are a few best practices you can follow.

Let’s look at those …

In this 5-minute episode you’ll discover:

  • The wrong way to tell an About page story (sure to bore readers to tears)
  • What you MUST have if your About page is going to be short
  • The dos and don’ts of using pictures on your About page
  • How to make an instant intimate connection with a reader

The Show Notes

How to Craft an About Page That People Actually Read and Share

Voiceover: This is Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at Rainmaker.FM/Platform.

Demian Farnworth: Howdy dear web writer. This is Rough Draft, your daily dose of essential web writing advice. I am Demian Farnworth, your host, your muse, your digital recluse, and the Chief Content Writer for Copyblogger Media.

And thank you for sharing the next few minutes of your life with me. And thank you for sharing this week with me … because this week is all about your questions.

That’s right. This week I’m devoting each episode to a reader question. Yesterday we talked about email subject lines and open rates for Art Wiseman.

Today we are going to talk about writing an about page people will actually read. And even share. And this topic comes from my friend Bonnie David.

Let’s get this out of the way up front: there really is no right or wrong way to create an about page. There seems to be a debate that long about pages outperform shorter ones, but just like everything else on the web, it’s not so much about the length … the question is this: is it interesting? Does it hold people’s interest?

Best Practices For Writing an About Page

Remember, people will read a lot if it is interesting. However, there are a few best practices you can follow. Let’s look at those.

1. Tell a story – Not your entire story. But the story that’s relevant to your ideal reader. This could be your professional path. Or your struggle with depression or weight or cigarette smoking. Or your reason for buying a house from a hoarder and rehabbing it. Whatever it is — tell a story.

2. Drop credentials if you have them. – Did you work for Nike. Google. Stephen King. Adobe. New York Times. Copyblogger. Mashable. Go to a prestigious school? Win a significant award — even if regional?

Whatever it is, mention it. Of course you have to be honest.

But even if you got a pat on the back from one of the Google founders or got a scant mention in NY Times — stick it in your bio. Those brand mentions will separate you from the pack. And I think you would be surprised to learn how minimal the contact between some of those big name mentions you see on great About pages and the person behind that page.

Often it is not very much. It’s certainly not like they are best friends.

This is why this is important. Think about how you feel when you are looking at the blurbs on the cover jacket of a book you want to buy (some of us still do that, you know). A few high-powered names changes the value of that book drastically. Unfamiliar names, on the other hand, and no value is added.

Don’t forget: This works on a regional level, too. Add names and brands that people in your community will recognize and respect and you immediately enhance your bio. This includes testimonials.

Scott Berkun argues that impressive people have a short bio. If you won the Nobel Prize or invented air, then you don’t need to say much more than that.

But if you don’t have these credentials because you are just starting out — don’t worry, we all start at the bottom — but you should begin immediately on working towards getting them.

You will get them eventually if you keep up the work.

3. Use pictures – Personal pictures. Pictures of you and your family. Your dog. Your hobbies. Which leads me to the next and final best practice …

4. Be yourself – Be open. Be vulnerable. Be authentic. One of my bosses, Brian Gardner, talks about an about page he loves … it’s Erin Loechner who runs a site called “Design for Humankind.” It’s a great example of being vulnerable. I’ll link to it in the show notes.

I’ll also link to my about page on my personal site, The Copybot, and leave another link to a post written by Ramsay Taplin, where he lists the 12 best about pages out there. A good mix of big and personal brand about pages.

Hopefully that will be enough to get you going. And if you have any questions about this topic — or any of the topics we’ve discussed in the past, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or here on the blog comment’s section.

And by the way, if you haven’t yet, do me a favor and leave me a rating and a review on iTunes. It’s a great way to show support for this show.

And if you haven’t already, check out my other podcast — The Lede — which I do with Jerod Morris. It’s podcast about content marketing. Recently we’ve been challenging some conventional marketing wisdom in a Hero v. Villain series.

Give it a listen when you get a chance. Until next time, take care.