Layout Image

How to Write an About Page

Are you crystal clear on what your blog’s got to offer?

That was the question I forced myself to answer as part of the redesign of the Confident Writing blog. The new navigation bar had put “About” bang at the top of the page – which meant I had to come up with the copy to fill it.

I knew enough about blogging to realize that the About Page is a vital part of your blog.  But what I wasn’t clear on was just what I was trying to achieve with my words, what effect I was trying to create.  I’d noticed that some bloggers go with an “About Me” approach – and a page about me was certainly going to feature in the bundle of introductory pieces that I was writing.

But was that the most important thing that I needed to say?  What was it that new readers would be looking for?

The About Page challenge

There’s no one right answer on how to do this, but here’s the advice from some of the brightest and best on how to write your About Page.

New visitors to your site want to know straight away what your site has to offer them. A prominent link to an ‘About’ page says: ‘Want to know what this site is about? The answer is right here.’
Skellie at Skelliewag

One of the key pages on a blog is the about page. This page is often used by new readers to a blog to gather information about you and your blog and based upon what they find on this page they could be making a decision as to whether they’ll subscribe to your blog or not.

As a result, your About Page is a key conversion page on your blog and it therefore needs to be reworked regularly.
Darren Rowse at Problogger

The “About” page of a blog is an important opportunity to convert a new visitor into a regular reader. If you are not crystal clear on why your blog is worth paying attention to, potential subscribers are not going to figure it out for you…

…a story about the blog author is not the most effective approach. That’s why there’s purposefully not a single thing about me on the Copyblogger “About” page.

As an information delivery platform, a blog only has value in what it can teach. A compelling “About” page must communicate in no uncertain terms what the reader can learn and why it’s important to them.
Brian Clark at Copyblogger

The Confident Writing About Page

Although I liked Skellie’s approach (which starts with ‘about the blog’ and then moves into ‘about the
author’) I decided to go with Brian Clark’s advice and write a page that was just about this blog – and that was firmly focused on the benefits it would bring to those who chose to stay.

Going for this approach certainly made for a more manageable writing task – because it’s easier to get the tone and style right when you’re writing about your blog than about yourself.  The challenge of course comes in getting crystal clear on what’s on offer.

This is where I ended up:

Confident Writing is about:

  • learning to improve your writing - for greater impact, and to make a stronger connection
  • finding your voice - writing that is authentic, that expresses your values, that comes from the heart
  • giving you confidence - in your skill as a writer, in  your right to express yourself, in the power of your own words
  • sharing resources that will help you to write with skill, style, and confidence
  • building a community of people who support these goals - and share the belief that our words count

It’s a site not just for writers, but for anyone who wants or needs to write with confidence.

Confident Writing is written and hosted by me, Joanna Young, writing coach and freelance writer.  It’s inspired by the people who stop by and read it.

You’d be very welcome to join us.  It’s free and easy to keep  in touch: just subscribe to this feed.

Take the About Page Challenge

You don’t need to wait for a redesign to have another go at your About Page.  Darren Rowse suggests it’s something we should be auditing regularly:

Take some time today to do an audit of your About Page. What does it communicate? How could you improve it?

If you want to write, improve or rewrite your About Page here are some questions and prompts that helped me find the words for mine:

Working out the benefits

  • Learn from feedback: have a look through the feedback you’ve had on your blog – comments, reviews, e-mails from readers, link pieces – what kind of things do people mention? What words do they use?
  • Spot patterns: take a look back at your archives and watch for any patterns that emerge – your categories, post titles, popular posts, key words, issues and themes that you keep on coming back to
  • Look from the outside in: imagine you were looking in the shop window of your blog for the first time.  What are the things that stand out to you?  What might entice you to go in?

Writing the copy

  • Keep it succinct – you’ve probably only got 30 seconds to make your pitch
  • Be friendly – create rapport with your reader and they’ll be more likely to stay
  • Address your reader – for an immediate sense of connection

If I had to pick just one I’d go for the last one – address your reader directly.  It’ll help to make your writing more engaging, and it’ll also force you to get clear on what your blog’s got to offer.

Sharing the learning

If you decide to take the challenge you’re welcome to share how you get on either in the comment box here, or write a post about it and link back.  If you’ve already got an About Page you’re proud of, let us know how you did it…

Here are the links to the expert articles on writing your About Page:

How to write the perfect about page by numbers by Skellie at Skelliewag

Conduct an about page audit by Darren Rowse at Problogger

What’s your blog really about? by Brian Clark at Copyblogger

Share on Twitter

Comments

  1. CatherineL says:

    Hi Joanna - thanks for this. Looking at the examples you’ve given, I’ve definitely been doing my about page all wrong.

    I should have used my common sense and looked at the about pages of top bloggers to begin with. But, unfortunately, my about page was a bit of an afterthought.

    Thank you. Your tips are helping me to really think about some of the flaws in my blog.

  2. Robert Hruzek says:

    Wow, talk about timely! After about a year and a half, just the other day I finally decided to post an “About this blog” page at the Zone. (There’s been an “About Yours Truly” page from the beginning.)

    I know it needs work, but what the hey; it’s a place to start at least. Along with working on a new look for the Zone. (It’s time to match the theme to the brand.)

    Any suggestions will of course be greatly appreciated!

  3. Lillie Ammann says:

    You’ve made me think, Joanna. My about page has about me at the top and about the blog below. Maybe I need to reconsider based on your good advice and example. My first reaction to your post was that I like to know who is writing the blog so I can evaluate whether the blogger knows anything about the subject. I really don’t like to read about pages that don’t say anything about the author. However, you solved that by including a link to a page about you.

  4. Making Life Work for You says:

    Business Choice - Corporate or Personal?

    If you missed the big announcement, I left my previous real estate brokerage to join one that has newly opened. A brilliant agent and friend opened the first Sellstate franchise in the state of Georgia right here in Richmond Hill and I was all too happ…

  5. Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    @ Catherine hmm… don’t be too hard on yourself now. Shift your comment to ‘helping me think about things I could do even better’ and I’ll be happy :-)

    Blogging is always a work in progress - I’m learning myself, every day, and it was only the redesign that forced me into thinking hard about this question. But you’re right, looking at the advice (and more to the point, the examples) of the top bloggers is a way to go. That way you’re sure to find an example that works, but also suits your style and your blog.

    @Robert You know I can’t wait to see where the Zone goes with all this musing on brand and purpose you’re doing… :-)

    I found it an interesting exercise to think about what my blog might be for from the perspective of readers.

    Taking it to the next level it might have been an idea to ask all of you to help me write it - because it’s what you see, what you get from the blog that counts, not what I think it’s about. I might do this for the next rewrite.

    @ Lillie I don’t think there is *one* right answer - but I was persuaded by Brian Clark’s arguments on this one. It’s still easy enough (I hope) for those who want to learn more “about me” to follow the link from the about page and from the porch pitch.

    It sounds as if Skellie’s approach might work well for you - she suggests the first half of the page about the blog, the second half about the author. Her “how to” advice is all pitched as a comparison with the back page of a book so it might be right up your street.

    Joanna

  6. Laura says:

    Good post! It’s definitely something to put on my “to do” list.

  7. Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Oh Laura - I’m not sure if that’s something you’ll thank me for or not!

    Joanna

  8. Emma Newman
    Twitter: emapocalyptic
    says:

    I’m so glad you sent this page’s link to me Joanna, it’s inspired me to re-write my About page and hide the old FAQ section until I’m well enough to re-think it. Not sure if writing a new About page when slightly feverish is the best plan, but the urge seized me and wouldn’t let go!

    So grateful for all you give here, thank you x

    Emma Newmans last blog post..Ten writing lessons learned – a reminder to my future self

  9. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Emma, I’m glad the material was useful - the sources I quoted helped me a lot with writing and rewriting my own, and I certainly found it a lot easier once I decided to focus on about the blog, rather than about me. Hope you’re feeling better soon!