As most bloggers and website owners know, the About page is the most frequently visited page on any website, besides your home page. For this reason, it’s important for us website owners to give extra special attention to our about pages, to help our visitors get to know us better and see how we can be of help to them.
How do we write an effective about page? Here are some tips I’ve discovered over the years!
Know Your Audience
All content creation, especially for a website, involves knowing just who you are writing to. This can be a bit tricky when you are starting out. Before you have regular readers, the answer usually is, “Whoever will read my stuff!” However, you’ll get more readers, and happier readers, if you gear your writing to a specific audience.
Even trickier is not only knowing who you are, relative to your audience and website, but conveying this in an effective way. Who are you? Why are you writing a blog or starting this website?
Exactly what it is about you that you should convey also varies based in what kind of website you have. For example:
About Pages for Creative Websites and Blogs
For Creatives, such as photographers, artists, designers, and writers, who you convey you are should discuss not just personal information about you, but what makes you tick as a creative professional. What inspires you? What keeps you designing and creating?
People who purchase from craftsmen and artisans also usually like to hear about the story behind the art. Don’t be afraid to tell your story. If necessary, link to the story of your professional journey.
About Pages for Businesses
For businesses, the about page is not usually about individuals but the company as a whole. Discuss what makes your company special and sets you apart from the competition.
Still, visitors like to have some person to person contact, so it’s a good idea, where possible, to add information about individuals working in your company to add a personal touch.
About Pages for Organizations
The same is true for organizations as it is for businesses. Although you’re not one person, you still want to make a personal connection with your audience.
It’s also important for organizations to share what motivates them and makes them tick. For example, a campground doesn’t just provide a place for kids to go to camp, but may be driven to help connect at risk youth with nature a bit.
If any information that tells more about your organization is found on other pages, you should still mention it on your about page, and link to it for further information.
About Pages for Churches and Ministries
Additionally, for churches and ministries, it’s important to think like a visitor, rather than a church member admiring the website. What information would someone new to the area looking for a church to attend need to know about your church? Churches and ministries should also provide a brief summary of what they believe, with a link to a more detailed doctrinal statement for those who are interested.
For churches and ministries, as well as service organizations, it’s important to introduce those who are in leadership in your organization, to make a personal connection.
There are other things a potential visitor may need to know about such as links to your service times, a link to the page giving them driving directions, and information about children’s programs during services. The key is to think like a visitor.
The Value of Photos on your About Page
Although an about page should never be made up exclusively of photos, a well-shot photo of you is a must have for your website.
Most people like to have a face to put with the name. They want to be able to look you in the eyes.
Now, I know I put this one off for years, especially as I battled with my weight. I also reasoned that I couldn’t afford a nice professional photograph anyways, so why bother?
Well, a professional looking photograph doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost anything at all. The one I have on my about page was shot of me sitting in front of my drawing table on a stool by my daughter, and yet it looks very nice. I think it may well be my favorite photograph anyone has ever taken of me.
The best tip I can offer when taking a photograph for your about page is to have the photographer (even if it’s your kid) stand higher than you. Look up into the camera. This provides a better view, and also takes a good ten pounds off of your face. 🙂
What Benefit Do You Provide to Your Target Audience?
How exactly does reading or shopping at your website benefit your audience? What do you intend for them to get out of visiting your website? What products or services do you provide for them?
I once heard someone say during a webinar that even though it’s called an “about us” page it’s not about the website owner as much as it is about how the website owner can help their audience. So again, thinking of your target audience, emphasize those parts of you, your website, your products and services and how they benefit your audience, instead of focusing just on what they mean to you.
Why Should Your Audience Trust You?
Especially in regard to information websites, most people want to know they can trust the information on the website. They need to know enough about you to know they can trust you and the information you’re sharing. Write about yourself and the benefits you provide with the trust factor in mind.
Your Education and Achievements
If applicable, this would also be a good place to share your education (whether formal education, or the kind of education where you learned some hard life lessons in the school of hard knocks), and what you’ve achieved in your life.
How You’ve Helped Others
If you provide a product or service that has been of help to others, either sharing some brief testimonials or linking to a testimonials page could help your readers see how you could help them as you’ve helped others.
You, Live and In Person
If you attend craft or professional trade shows, do speaking engagements, or are signing copies of your latest book, you should include links to upcoming events where your readers might meet you in person.
Social media makes it easier to make connections with others from around the world. Share how to connect with you or your business on social media via your about page, as well as how to best contact you through other means (email, phone, mail). If you have a physical location, link to driving directions and hours of operation.
Next Steps on Your Website
Most readers aren’t going to know what it is you want them to do next on your blog or website. It’s up to you, especially on a heavily-read page like your about page, to offer them some direction.
For example, on my website I suggest using my start here page, which helps my readers dive deeper into all that I have to offer here at Thoughts and Designs. I try to help my readers explore my site more deeply and find content relevant to them. Once you’ve decided what the purpose for your website is, you can figure out more specifically what you want your visitors to do with your website once they’re there.
For Further Help
I’ve also created this free printable About Page Worksheet that you can download on my website here. This worksheet will help you think through the different questions you’ll need to answer for your audience.