A good about page is straightforward, and answers just a few central questions - don’t overcomplicate things or ramble.
Your ‘writing voice’ should be similar to how you speak aloud (or if you are anything like me, how you would speak if the words always came out in the order you wanted them to!). So write as you speak, but polished. Don’t overuse the thesaurus though – if you've ever watched Friends, you'll probably remember the Baby Kangaroo incident! You can pop a few SEO phrases in there, but don’t overload it and definitely no jargon, unless your audience will understand/expect it.
Your about page is not about YOU, it’s about how you can help THEM
Begin by asking yourself how you want people to feel when they read your about page. Inspired, assured, motivated? Write a list and refer to it regularly to make sure the tone of your words is invoking the right reaction.
TIP: I have a process when I write anything that might work if you're suffering from blank page syndrome. Firstly, answer the following questions by listing keywords and phrases. Then begin writing sentences, then paragraphs, that incorporate these words and phrases, and before you know it, you'll have a structured body of text.
1. How can YOU help THEM?
This is the single most important element of your about page. It must be a punchy, introductory statement, that demands attention, in a prominent headline position. It should be benefit-driven, magnetizing and unexpected. For example:
Expected: “Hello I’m Martin Winter and I am a professional web designer.”
Unexpected: “At Banjo Design, I believe a thoughtfully designed website can help bring meaningful results to any small business.”
2. Why do you do what you do?
Your values and motivation. What do you love about your work? What got you started? Keep it brief and try to stay away from stories you read a lot on your competitors' about pages.
3. How can you relate to them?
Empathise through personal experience. Are you like-minded in your passions and beliefs? Is your journey similar to the one they are about to embark upon? Have you overcome the obstacles they are facing?
4. How will your product or service change their life?
How does it solve their problems or help them to overcome obstacles? Perhaps slip in the odd link to product/service pages where relevant, but keep it friendly and relatable, and not too salesy – that’s what the rest of your website is for so give them a break.
5. What makes you special?
How do you stand out? What’s your USP? Why should they choose you over the competition? This is a good point to reiterate your passion for what you do and how much you care about your clients.
6. Who are you?
It is important to include where you are based, even if your audience is international or global, as it takes them another step closer to feeling like they are getting to know you. Don’t forget to include your actual name, not just your business name!
Also, it’s great to throw in a few random tid-bits to add a more human aspect, especially if they help your visitors to relate to you. Do you have kids, pets, a favourite vegetable, a fun (but relevant) anecdote from your personal life?!
Always write in the first person and never say ‘we’ when you mean ‘I’.
On your about page, grab attention, be likeable, credible, authentic and best of all, memorable.
Add a PROFESSIONAL photo or video.
Yes, I’ve capitalised the word PROFESSIONAL! Please don’t use a photo/video that your mate with a ‘good’ camera took, or worse, one taken with a phone! The technical and aesthetic quality of a photograph or video sets a tone and you want that tone to be positive and professional. Also, be mindful of the colours and vibe of your branding when choosing an outfit and a location for your shoot.
For some of us it's harder to summon a smile on cue, but it will make all the difference for the photo on your about page. Looking approachable can make a big difference to your future customers!
A photo is a must, but if you choose to include a video, do so only in addition to, not in place of, written words. Videos are like Marmite to visitors – not everyone appreciates them, so it is important to offer both options. A video is a great chance to do something memorable, so make the most of it!
Other important details to include:
- Use a small selection of calls to action, for example, ‘follow me on social media’, ‘view my portfolio’, ‘subscribe to my newsletter’, or most crucially, ‘contact me’. Don't overwhelm your your reader with options though.
- Add client testimonials to reassure the reader that you are trustworthy.
- Include links and details of any recognition you have had from publications such as blogs and magazines.
- Professional bio: Add qualifications and career achievements, but ONLY if they are relevant and important to your visitors – your about page is categorically NOT your CV! Place this at the bottom of your about page, below the relatable, attention grabbing content.
The title may be ‘About Me’, but don’t make it all me, me, me. Your about page serves to assure your visitors that you can HELP THEM, in whatever capacity that may be. As long as you answer the 6 questions posed above in a friendly and relateable manner, you should have a fine about page on your hands. Let me know how you got on!