Are You Making These 7 Mistakes with Your About Page?

Image of blackboard with the words I heart myself

Does thinking about it make you stumble and sweat?

Have you put it off, because you’re worried it will suck?

You’re not alone — lots of website owners have an easier time proposing marriage than they do writing a solid About Page.

If that’s you, you’re probably overcomplicating things. A good About Page is simple, straightforward, and it communicates just a few key things.

But just because they’re simple doesn’t mean people don’t screw them up.

There are certain mistakes that I see again and again, on sites that deserve better. These mistakes are easy to fix and they’re pushing away the people you want to bring closer: your wonderful website readers.

Your About Page is typically one of the most-visited pages on your site. So let’s make it easy for you to have a stunningly helpful, user-friendly About Page.

Take a look to see if you’re making one of these common mistakes:

Mistake 1. You don’t have an About Page

You might have some interesting content, a nice custom-designed header, a sweet-looking premium WordPress theme.

What you don’t have is an About page.

It might be completely missing because you think “About Pages are a cliché.”

Or because you’re freaked out about creating an About Page, so you’re just hoping no one will notice it’s missing.

Or you might have called it something clever like “Experience” or “The Scoop” or “But Wait, There’s More!”

When it comes to the interface on your website or blog, never forget the words of usability expert Steve Krug: Don’t Make Me Think.

I don’t want to look at your “Resonate” page and wonder if that’s where I find out who you are, what you do, and why I should read your site.

Every site needs an About Page. Don’t be clever. Call it About.

Mistake 2. I can’t find your name

Let’s say I want to link to you, or tweet something cool on your blog.

I would really like to know who you are. That means I need your name.

Not a spammy name like “The Real Estate King.” (Please don’t comment under those either. You can’t believe how bad this makes you look.)

Your name. As in, “What I say when I am introducing you?”

Unless you are Madonna, you need a last name, too.

(Incidentally, if your name is Dave Smith or Cathy Johnson, try including your middle name to make yourself more memorable and to give you a decent chance to rank for your own name in search engines. It works for David Meerman Scott and Carole Sevilla Brown, and it can work for you. If your middle name is common too, find a family name to put in there.)

Please note that this does not have to be your real name. Some people would rather keep some distance from readers, for security reasons or just to have a little privacy. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Johnny Truant, James Chartrand, and Terry Starbucker all work and write under professional pseudonyms. You can, too.

Mistake 3. I don’t know what you look like

If I want to hire you, refer you, recommend you, or even pass you some readers, I’ll feel more comfortable if I have some sense of who you are.

I get that from two things — your writing voice and your photo.

Again, make this a real photo and not a drawing or an avatar. Yes, there have been successful bloggers who have used cartoons instead of photos, but they’re the exception.

When you’re trying to make your site successful, why work against yourself? Give yourself every advantage you can.

When I have a face to put with your name, you become much easier for me to remember. That, combined with some well-written content, starts to help me feel like I know you.

And I’m much more likely to link to you or otherwise help you reach your content goals if I feel like I know you.

Mistake 4. The writing is boring

This one hurts, I know. Let’s get it over with so we can move on to more pleasant topics of conversation.

For some reason, when people sit down to write an About Page, everything they know about creating interesting content suddenly flies out the window. Their usually great writing style starts to suck.

To fix this unfortunate problem:

  • Use your own writing voice.
  • Be ruthless about pruning out any corporate-speak or hypey jargon.
  • Don’t be afraid to be a little funny, if you can pull it off.
  • Don’t be afraid to be a bit of a dork, either, if that’s part of who you are.

Remember, along with your photo, this is where I go to figure out who you are and whether or not I like you.

Mistake 5. Using video alone

Video is a great way to create quick rapport on your About page … for site visitors who like video.

But visitors who are coming to your site from work may not want your voice, however melodious, blasting from the speakers in their cube.

They also may not have 6:23 minutes to spend figuring out who you are.

Lots of web users love video — and some hate it.

If you use video on your About Page, keep it short, make it interesting, and include some text for the readers in your audience.

Mistake 6. You go on (and on and on)

I’m a fan of storytelling. It pulls the reader in, it engages like nothing else, and it’s one of the few techniques that actually sometimes changes people’s minds.

Stories are awesome.

Long, boring stories aren’t so awesome.

If you’re going to tell me the story of how you came to be here, please for the love of Pete make it interesting.

What do your readers find interesting? Themselves, and things that benefit them. Those are two good places to start.

Mistake 7. I bet you think your About Page is about you

This is perfectly natural, even if you aren’t so vain.

What most site owners miss is that your About Page is actually about the person who clicks the link to see it.

Talk to that person about why they should bother reading your site.

Talk about the problems you solve.

Talk about how you can help.

Talk about what they’re interested in.

To quote Brian Clark,

What do you need to know? You need to know whom they admire, and what they aspire to, despise, fear, and cherish.
How to Craft a Marketing Story that People Embrace and Share

Yes, it’s a spot for you to talk about yourself — but only in the context of how you serve your readers.

If you absolutely can’t resist self-absorbtion, create a personal blog or social media account and throw in a link to that. You can put all the tedious details there, and warn people that’s where you talk about your struggles with your cat’s gluten sensitivity.

For your About Page, keep it about the reader — and how you help that reader.

What’s your About Page pet peeve?

What drives you nuts about the About Pages you’re seeing around the web?

What do you love when you see it?

Let us know in the comments.

About the Author: Sonia Simone is co-founder and chief content officer of Copyblogger Media. Share all your favorite peeves with her on twitter.

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Comments

  1. Two more mistake people make with the ‘About’ page:

    1. Not giving social media profile links – Who doesn’t have a profile on FB, Twitter or LinkedIn?? The About page should link to the person’s social profile page (its a priority). This makes the person more approachable from the reader’s perspective.

    2. Not giving contact details – Yes, blogs/websites do have Contact page but the About page should have contact details too…it could be an email or a phone number.

    What say?

    • Those are two great ones, thanks Chitra!

      • Who doesn’t have a…?

        I ditched my FB account. With Timeline becoming a requirement, the last thing I need is for someone in my household to use my computer to look up lots o’ porn, and for my fans to start wondering if perhaps they’ll see me on the news in some sort of scandal or if I’ll be their future stalker. When it boils down to ‘less social media interaction’ vs. ‘scaring the fan-base away’, it’s an easy decision…less social media wins. Also, I have never made a LinkedIn account. Honestly, I’d rather spend more time making music (original content) than checking a whole pile of social media accounts, especially as all but one is dead (unless you count Farmville requests).

        Also, unless I want people knocking on my door or calling my home at all hours of the night (surely fans in, say, Belarus, Russia, China, India, Germany, Pakistan, etc.* are on a different sleep schedule than the one I keep for my day job), my email, address, phone number and other personal information is not getting posted on my site.

        An About Me section is a great idea, but perhaps it can be kept a little less personal and a little more site-relevant. In my case, it’s all about the music and not so much about the musician…

        *I’m guessing, here. I’ve set my site stats to only tell me what continent people are on. The less is recorded per hit, the less fans have to worry about privacy and security issues. They can contact me through the Contact section of my page or Twitter easily enough.

        The OPs tips are quite good on their own.

        • “It’s all about the music and not so much about the musician…”

          Thanks, I needed to hear (umm… read) that. I’m working on getting my website name out there but drowning in a sea of social media. I’m good with creating content – in fact I love creating content – but this whole business of what to share, when, where and why is draining me.

          I know being connected is very important for any brand. I get that. But the next time I feel overwhelmed by the nitty gritty of what goes where and why, I’ll remember the music. So thanks!

    • Oh so true. I HATE it when I cannot find a way to contact someone. And if you have a Twitter account, for the love of Pete please make it easy to find. Sidebar or about page.

    • Those are great points Chitra! I’m a student @NewhouseSU currently studying Social Media Theory & Practice with @dr4ward in his #NewhouseSM4 class. I loved this article but I think you added some great insights of your own. In terms of personal information, people are often times wary of putting too much ‘revealing’ information online. While that is understandable, you need to create an engaging online identity if you expect people to remember you. Also, your point about including links to other social media profiles plays to the value of consistency in your online identity. Pictures, accounts and a large range of social media engagement shows others that you are involved!

  2. Oops, I hadn’t realised how much I was doing wrong. Thanks for the tips, they’re certainly food for thought. I’m going to read over them a few times so they sink in. :)

    • “I hadn’t realized how much I was doing wrong.” Can I point out that you’re using blogspot. A self hosted wordpress.org blog is much much better. Also, your blogs title is completely undescriptive. Your title should communicate what your blog is about.

  3. Nice one, Sonia. I like the way I wrote my About page, but it might need some tweaking. It has the reason why the site can help people, a little social proof and a little personal story about me.

    I was thinking if sales-letter-style About pages would work. Since the About page is kinda like a landing page, you can sprinkle a little long-copy-magic here and there. I haven’t tried it yet, so I was wondering what you thought about it.

    That’s if you can spot this comment among the couple hundred others.

    • It could work — but you need to think about what you’re selling with that long copy. A sign-up for your email list, perhaps?

      Like all long copy, it needs to maintain attention. But absolutely, pull out all the copywriting skills you’ve got. :)

  4. YES! I have definitely been putting this off. Thanks for the tips and the motivation to get going on this!

  5. Thanks for the insights. I made all these mistakes. I don’t have an About page as I thought it’s a waste of valuable page, so I put it under Contact or Home. I don’t like my own name so I could create a new pen name, and would encourage myself to publish my pen name more. Not that I dont want to put my personal pictures it’s just that I don’t look good and could turn visitors off. Wonder if I could put a picture of my brother or a friend who looks better.

    • Use YOUR picture or don’t use one at all. Using someone else’s picture is about as honest as pushing snake oil and will likely drive people away from your site if they find you’ve been trying to pass off someone else as yourself. There are exceptions, but typically they involve large business sites and royalty-free images from stock image banks.

    • Philip,
      Be yourself and be proud. :-)
      Others are much less worried about and much more accepting of you than you are yourself.

  6. Thanks for reminding me the importance of our About page. I left it off a couple of recent sites and you are correct, it needs to be on every Website. Thanks!

  7. Thanks for this Sonia. I’m in the process of getting my blog ready to launch and was toying with the idea of using an avatar – think will stick with a photo now though!

  8. About us page are probably one of the most important pages, general visitors go to, especially if you’re a local business, such as “garage, florists, solicitor…etc”. People like to do business with people, by getting your about us page right, you can build a level of trust, and assurance with your visitors (potential customers) and portray to them exactly whom they would be dealing with.

  9. I worry about coming across as too cheesy with starting off with ‘Hi, I’m Susan…’ and have said on my about page what my business is all about and how I can help potential clients – how can I best get my name in without it sounding too AA-like? Also, been teetering on the photo bit for some time as I don’t consider myself photogenic at all!

    • Take a look at Terry Starbucker’s About Page — he starts right off with a “Hi, I’m Terry.”

      I know I sound like your mom, but you’re probably much more photogenic than you think you are. :) A good professional photographer can be worth the expense to get you a shot you feel decent about. I’ve found it really useful for getting clients to let them see a face so they can start to make a connection.

      • Sonia’s totally right. A photographer whose talented will know exactly how to capture your inner and outer beauty — believe me. Every photo I’ve ever had taken by family and/or friends has been crap. But the right lighting and camera angle can do wonders. (And I do the “Hi, I’m Tea” thing on my about page: http://thewordchef.com/about/)

  10. My pet peeve is *definitely* the too long About Me pages. I don’t have the patience to read your life story

  11. The whole idea of posting your photo concerns me…especially an African-American woman, there are still a lot of closed-minded and (gasp!) racist individuals in the world – believe it or not people! Even though we have a black president, I am still turned down for positions based on my race, therefore posting a pic doesn’t always work in my favor, it actually works against me.

    • Since you’re not linking to a site I don’t know what you do, but there’s always the consideration — do you actually want to land clients who are going to turn tail and run because you’re African-American?

      Ultimately we all decide for ourselves, but I’ve seen again and again that engagement goes up when we come out of hiding and reveal the real person behind the business. And I see lots of successful African-Americans who are proudly showing their true selves with their sites. :)

  12. This is a great article, Sonia. I was almost “there,” but you pushed me over the brink in this article. Now I’m all the way there. The truth is, About pages are the first thing I always click on when I’m surfing…. why didn’t I think that’s what other people do, too? Well, let me clarify …. that’s what interested, engaged people do, too. Visitors who click away instantly are not my people anyway. My About page is not bait for them, it is only bait for people who are poised to like and follow me anyway.

    • I got the idea because I had a whole stack of websites to visit and link to, and so many of them had About Pages that didn’t answer my questions or left me otherwise scratching my head in some way. :) It’s a common affliction!

  13. Ooohh, the notorious About Page. I have to say that I am one of those people who can write blog posts with ease, but I hate writing About pages or Landing pages. Something about those words just simply scares me. LOVE the last tip. I totally got that wrong and will have to do some rewriting. Thanks for that, Sonia.

  14. It’s the dry corporate speak that drives me ’round the bend!. Like this lovely example: X is a company that assists organization’s operational and financial areas with the alignment of business processes, people and computer-based technologies for the purpose of achieving optimal work environments that support an efficient and effective asset life cycle. What????

    Also, to your point in Mistake #1.Calling an About page “About” is also important for search. Google looks for an About page on websites as part of its algorithm.

  15. Our blog is more of a hobby blog, so I took a more informal approach. My blog partner and I wrote about each other. I thought it was easier than each of us writing about ourselves.

    • I think it works! I got a good idea what the site is about right away.

      I’ve used that trick before for bios and I like it. So much easier to write about someone else. Maybe I should ask Robert to write one for me so we can add it to the CB About Page. ;)

  16. Thanks for this post – I needed it.

    On several of my blogs, I’ve kinda taken an easy (and incorrect) way out by having both an “About” page and a “My Story” page. I know I need to consolidate them into one high-quality page that does everything a good “About” page should do.

    Also, that’s a nice insight – that the about page is actually about the visitor who’s reading it. That’s something that’ll be good to keep in mind as I write the content.

    • Katherine Haag :

      I’m in the process of putting a resume website online. The About page was the place I got stuck. I agree, Alex, about the about page actually being about the visitor. Never thought about it that way…

      After reading that tip, all of a sudden I was writing answers to all of the things Brian Clark said visitors were looking for when they came to my site. My perspective changed enough that I wasn’t blocked anymore!

  17. Sonia,

    My site will launch within the next two weeks and I had not even given any thought to an About Page……..until now! I will put one together starting today. Thanks for the ‘heads up’ and great advice. I look forward to all emails from Copyblogger.

    Rick

  18. Hi Sonia. Great stuff. I went in and just updated my about page – thanks for the gentle nudge. I cleaned up the top but I also added a third “section” that really gets to the heart of why people hire me. Now I’m stuck – should I lead with the last section or leave it where it is? http://www.gadarian.com/about/

    The About Pages I respond to generally are very personal but I’m not sure if my potential clients would feel the same?

    • I think I’d move that third section to the top with some tweaks.

      I also think the voice could be more personal. My guess is your clients would feel the same — not that you have to post a picture of your dirty dishes or your puppy dog, but that the voice could be a little more relaxed and informal. Let people know they’re hiring a person (or a team of people), not a corporate entity.

  19. Oh my goodness… what useful advice.
    I just reviewed my About page and have tweaked it accordingly. I was advised by another site to put some testimonials there too. I hope that’s OK?
    Thanks so much for this.

  20. People want to do business with or buy a product from someone that they can trust. They want to know who is actually working behind the scenes. Without that personal element, it’s harder to gain trust.

  21. Last week, my site was re-designed, and the designer did something that surprised me: she made the left-hand column on every page show the text from my About page. I’m not sure yet how I feel about that – I think I like it, but it has also made me ridiculously aware of the copy. It’s hard to resist the urge to re-write it. Again.

    Thanks for the tips. I rarely use my last name when commenting, but will from now on :)

    • Nice to see you, last name and all!

      That is interesting, make sure to watch your site and see if your time-on-site goes up. You might get a friend to help give you a gut check on whether the copy actually needs reworking or if you’re just wanting to tweak it for the sake of tweaking it. I am a fan of writing & rewriting those important pages until they’re just right, but we can definitely take that to extremes. :)

  22. Writing “about yourself” is a struggle, but I have managed to get those pages on my website and my hobby blog. I think Mistake #7 is really key and I’ll be reviewing my pages to make sure they focus on how I can help my clients and readers. Great reminder and super advice. Thanks!

  23. My pet peeve is those who make their educational degrees the focus. It’s like they earned them, they want to flaunt them. The truth is, many today don’t care about your degrees. They care whether or not you have common sense, integrity, care and have anything to offer them.

    • I think it depends on the person. I’ve had people tell me I should just give up running my own site until I have a degree in music from a ‘respectable university’, specifically Julliard. They don’t care so much about the quality of the music, but they care about whether I’m ‘established as a professional musician’ and which major music label I’m signed to.

      Luckily there are still some people out there who do care about liking what they listen to, at least in my genre. I use my About Me to find future fans who have not been brainwashed into thinking that a degree and a contract guarantee great work and that a lack of either one guarantees that you’re just a kid with an app and a website.

  24. I just ran the numbers on my About page yesterday. First time visitors who read my About page are more likely to subscribe to my site than readers who browse my blog archives.

    That’s how important my About page is!

  25. Thanks for terrific advice and tips.

    When I began my Dog Leader Mysteries blog a year ago, I didn’t have an About page. I wrote a Welcome page my blog offered and a touch about me. Now I’ve created an About page, plus a sidebar widget with a summery of what I write about and why, in case visitors don’t want to click on another page.

    Since I have a noncommercial WordPress.com site focused on saving dogs lives and animal welfare, I noted that I pay to keep ads on puppy sales off my blog.

    This month I want to build a Web site where I may sell my writing and related dog parenting and dog adoption books. Any tips for visually engaging readers on my new About page? I have great photos of dogs on my blog. Can I use a few of those?

  26. So, I just happen to be on site with a company famous for it’s big yellow phone book. (Under contract I can’t say their name and / or byline any of my work.) I thought you might find this interesting: The head haunchos here, in most cases, DO NOT want websites created with an about page. Their numbers show the about us page to be the least visited — they recommend making it into a service based page instead. (The small site package only includes 5 pages.) Curious on your thoughts of this since your article is converse to their philosophy / numerics?

  27. Oh Sonia, I could hug just hug your article. But then I’d be hugging my monitor and people would stare.

    My ‘about page’ pe’ peeve? When I read the first line and it says “We are a company that specializes…” then my head hits the desk. I’m getting a lump there.

    I also don’t want to hear about any more ‘quality’ companies where ‘service is our top priority.’

    That being said, I’m one to talk – my own about page needs a good scrubbing. But now I know where to look when I want to remind myself of what not to do! :)

  28. Yes! I believe my About page is dead on according to this post.

  29. I work with a lot of musicians, especially classical musicians. I have the biggest pet peeve about how notoriously dry and boring their “about” pages are! OMG! It is soooo bad. They are often just a listing of their education and important shows they’ve done, or important roles they’ve sung. No writing style, no humor, no personality, just a listing of facts strung together with “and”s and “then”s. For being creative people, that certainly isn’t very creative. I think you’ve just inspired me to write a blogpost specifically about writing musician bios! THANKS!

    • In the case of musicians and bands, the dry, boring, always-professional-never-personal About Me tends to be recommended. As a musician, I can’t say I’m thrilled with the format, but it’s what’s needed. Fans may like creative About Me pages/sections, but if the musician plans on getting signed or playing a concert, the musician needs to let labels and venue owners know what they have accomplished.

      Paragraph 1: Describe your music and write your mission statement.
      Paragraph 2: List your accomplishments.
      Paragraph 3: (optional) List your future plans for your band/music project

      A creative About Me would be far easier to write, IMO, but those tend to come of as the ramblings of middle school kids playing at being a rock band.

  30. Sonia, does the about page not depend slightly on what your web page is trying to do? Are you saying that even the sales letter pages where you are telling people about yourself should have an about page?

    • Great post and you are so, so spot on! I am probably gulity of the boring sin above but thanks to you I am going to revisit this page immediately:)
      My pet peeve with About pages is when it’s very anonymous and there is no name or background etc. Why bother putting in general waffle that could be about anyone? It drives me nuts and often puts me off using the product or service offered.

  31. By now, I’m a fan forever, Sonia.
    I’m Judy Cullins, infamous book coach. How many times have I wrttten my About JudyCullins–let me count the ways!. at http://bookcoaching.com/judy-cullins-platform.php

    Advice from branding people don’t use your approach–I like it myself, because this is likea welcome blurb–reach your visitor where he/she is now. What’s their concerns, problems in your niche? What can you do for them.

    So back to my About Page to shorten it, ,make it less me and more YOU–just what I advise my clients to do in their web sales letters, their books and their blogs.

    Thank you so much.
    PS I wonder what your about page says. Got a link for us?

  32. Hi Sonia!

    Long time no talk :(

    The worst About pages are the ones that don’t exist.

    No About page=no cred.

    Thanks!

    The Franchise King®
    Joel Libava

  33. How do you do it? Each time I start thinking of some website related problem, you post something on the subject and rescue me. I love you guys.

  34. WOW! What timing. I just put my first about page together this morning because I noticed several visitors there yesterday. I know I need a picture. I am working that one. Anyone willing to give me feedback? Too long? Too boring? I am thick skinned and can handle critique well. Would be willing to reciprocate as well.

    Blessings to all,
    ej

    E-mail: ej@emmlyjane.com
    Blog: emmlyjane.wordpress.com
    Twitter: @emmlyjane

  35. I think it’s important to include client testimonials. You can “brag” about yourself in your About page but it’s more credible if your clients do it for you.

  36. I think I may be guilty of making mistake #7. My About Page is probably too much about me and not enough about what the reader will gain by visiting my blog. Thanks for the tip!

  37. I like to see name and picture on About page. They make blog more personal and close to the reader.
    I also find some difficulty when need to tell a little bit about me :).
    Very interesting and useful post.
    Thanks
    Dragan

  38. great post, ill for sure be editing my page. quick question, should i have an ‘about me’ page AND a social media page or do i link them together and how so?.. once again great read!!

    -teal

  39. Great post Sonia – of course! I particularly love your last point about context. I pull my eyelashes out when I read blurbs like “XYZ has been growing in size since 1982. With over 250 employees and national offices ….” SNORE.

    Explaining your experience is great but only if you relate it to how you can help the reader. Answer the “what’s in it for me?” question with the lens of your experience.

    I would also add the fact that your About page should have a call to action – linking people back to why they are there and nudging them along to getting in touch with you.

    I added a little extra to my About page (http://www.copywritematters.com.au/about/) with some other things people might find interesting (http://www.copywritematters.com.au/things-you-dont-know-about-me/)… I wanted to give my visitors an even greater insight into my life and it’s had a fabulous response so far. I’d love to know what you think!

    Regards, Belinda

    PS I don’t really pull my eyelashes out.

  40. Cats with upset tummies will definitely be more at home on Facebook than on an “About Me” page. Great post!

  41. You bring up a lot of good points in this article. It’s not easy to create a well written page that explains your site’s focus and goals. Because most people have little foreknowledge about your website, having a detailed “About Us” page is absolutely crucial. It’s also important to present yourself as a personable human being without coming across as self-centered.

    You can look at my “About Us” page by clicking on the tab located at the top of the page:

    Although your article has a lot of good points, I disagree with you regarding the use of photos and real names. I include my real name in my “About Us” page and profile, but I prepare my articles with a pen name. I’ve noticed that other science writers (and writers in general) use pen names. In my case, the pen name that I chose reflects the theme of my website and is therefore memorable. I had included a personal photo but decided that an image would be better suited to the website, again this is because it is more reflective of the focus (but if you visit my Google profile, you can see my photo).

    The main thing is that the About Us page gives visitors a brief overview of your site’s mission and values which will help in their decision to continue reading your articles.

    • From this very article:

      “Please note that this does not have to be your real name. Some people would rather keep some distance from readers, for security reasons or just to have a little privacy. There’s nothing wrong with that.

      Johnny Truant, James Chartrand, and Terry Starbucker all work and write under professional pseudonyms. You can, too.”

  42. I thoroughly enjoy your emails, but I have a couple of issues:

    1. The font size is *microscopic*. Please don’t forget about us myopic types. I have to select your text and copy it to my programmer’s editor to render it readable..

    2. Your apostrophes are being rendered cross-platforms as ’ (sic). Do you know of a fix for this?

    Many thanks & keep up the good work!

    Fritz

  43. I’ve been writing as Bellesouth for more than five years, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. That’s my pseudonym and I’m sticking with it!

    My pet peeve with some About pages is overuse of abbreviated online text. I’m not a fan of LOL at all, but if you’re going to use it, at least have the decency to keep it away from your About Me page.

    A good, down-to-earth writing voice is key. And you have to let your readers know that you are a bona fide human being.

  44. I really enjoyed this article. I do agree that even with my web page i absolutely did not want to make an about page mainly because I did not know where to begin. Alas, I did create an about page and it will definitely be getting a much needed update after reading this. Thank you.

  45. I am also studying Social Media Theory & Practice with @dr4ward at @NewhouseSU and I have subscribed to the copyblogger blog. Our class #NewhouseSM4.

  46. I didn’t notice that the first time around. Thanks for pointing it out.

  47. and maybe add a callto action as well???

  48. Thanks, getting some insight is very helpful as I have always felt my page was pretty darn good, but it’s time to tweek. I am always surprised when a client mentions something he/she could only have found on my “About” page.

    Yes, they really do read this stuff!

  49. Some great tips here. The first page I always look for whenever I go to a website for the first time (blog or otherwise) is the About page so my biggest pet peeve on about pages would be their absence.

  50. So I shouldn’t say I support world peace and the restablisment of the unicorn populations in the Midwest?

  51. Spot on points Sonia!

    I might retool a bit. I had a decent length about me page, then a shorter one, than a clever one, now a quickie. Need to improve the benefits to readers though. I have the name, picture and contact information down, as readers need to be able to contact you immediately after they learn more about you.

    As for pet peeves I feel simply not explaining who they are, is a big mistake. I know, I need to dig a little deeper on this 1 myself. Use names. Real names. Unless you are – or plan to – become a world famous person, stick with real names, it makes you look real, it makes you feel real, and it will improve your readership and business.

    People who hide, have something to hide. They lack belief in self, or in their viewpoint, or whatever. So hiding is definitely not a good thing because it does not vibe with a calm, confident assured blogger.

    I feel that opening up and talking about your self is key. Then, letting readers know how you can help them, this is a biggie. 2 steps to take to a successful about page.

    Good homework for me here.

    Thanks for sharing Sonia!

    Ryan

  52. LOVE IT! Great list!

    I see it way too many times, the “about us” is just the template that come with their 5$ website… Or it’s filled with what we call “Marketing poison”, things that will not make a buying decision (or give you credibility) “we are the number 1 in such and such” (says who? your mom? LOL) or “such and such lives with her wife so and so and their four kids…” Do I really care about your living situation???

  53. Great post. I started my blog about 3 weeks ago and just added an About page last week. (Actually there are 2 because I can’t figure out how to get the duplicate out.) The blog has gone through multiple revisions in the 3 weeks because I was making most of the mistakes you write about. I do explain why I’m blogging in my first post, but not on the About page. Should I repeat the information there also?

    Thanks for the great information.
    Richard

  54. Hi Sonia,

    great advice. But how do I make my writing less boring? How do I make the writing sound less enterprisey and more like a human?

    Trixi

  55. If you use a photo, make sure it’s a good photo. I remember running across a writer’s site, and she’d posted this horrible photo. The first thing I thought when I saw it was that someone insisted she have a photo up, she posted the most least flattering one out of spite. She was dressed in a sloppy t-shirt, and her hair was stringy –and she was frowning at the camera.

    She got a new book release and replaced the photo with a much better one.

  56. Very cool post!, I have been delaying an about page for a while. I’ll make sure it’s live next month. ;]

  57. So many people overlook the About page, or just pass it off as a secondary page. They should know that people actually read them to find out more about the company and if they want to do business! Great post.

  58. Sonia – great advice, so simple and yet sooooooo easy to forget. Next thing on the list – photoshoot (and red lipstick!) .

  59. I’m one of the people who doesn’t like video, but if you are going to put a video on your about page, make sure it’s under a minute, or else it’s too long.

    If you can make (or have one done) an infographic about who you are is sweet, I’m thinking about having this done since I don’t have the graphic skills to make it look nice enough.

  60. I don’t have a photogenic personality. Hence, no photos. My face looks like I just walked out of mug shot academy.
    Sorry for being facetious, but that’s just the way I am. Also, I don’t have an about page, but I’ll let you know when I start a blog. Everybody keeps telling me my blog would rule the internet, but I know they are all lying because they want my dead end job. If you have an about page, people, please consider introducing comedy: people like people who can make them laugh. That’s what makes Johnny Truant popular; and that’s why Sonia is a treat to read too. Cheerio.

  61. Kristine Remer :

    I whole-heatedly agree with these tips. I would also add that you should have a professional headshot on your website, then consistently use it across all your social properties so that people begin to recognize you. Headshots don’t need to be stuffy though – have fun with it & show your personality.

  62. 1 major mistake when writing an “About” page blog post regarding making a better about page:
    1) Not giving some bad-ass examples/samples.

    Hey, nice tips above but without a few examples/samples we’re missing a big part.

  63. Hmm, I think I made the mistake on #4 and #7.

  64. I was kind of hesitant about putting an about me page on my blog as well due to not having the success of many of the top leaders. This post has change my view point about it and I realized that some success is better than no success. People need to see where your at right now and how you are growing. While there are many people who do not have the big success either, they are looking to grow with someone who is moving forward and reaching for the dreams.

    Thanks for Sharing!
    Antwuan Bell

  65. I agree with making your About page focused on the visitor. At my RPG gaming site I started it off with my blurb, and then asked all members to tell me about themselves by leaving a comment on my About page.

    This has worked very well:
    * I get to know my course members better
    * Members get to know each other better
    * Site visitors get to learn about who’s in the community and to see if people like them are liking my course

    Each time a new member joins my course I send a follow-up email asking them to introduce themsleves on the About page. That’s generated good response so far.

  66. MY pet peeve about About Pages.. people who think I care about their dogs or kids or cats. I don’t!
    Kids do kid things. Pets do pet things. You are not responsible for either’s accomplishments.
    Now MY three kids are not axe murderers. I say that’s an accomplishment!!
    And I think nobody gives a rip about that either!

    • Sadly, many people still don’t understand #7. I think the easiest way to figure out what should and should not be in the About Me or Biography section is to ask yourself a couple of questions.

      1) What is the purpose of my site? Is it a blog about my day, am I trying to sell a product, or am I trying to get people to look through information on the site?

      2) Does my About Me or Biography pertain to me personally, my life, or the purpose of my site?

      If your About Me pertains to anything other than the purpose of the site, it’s time to re-evaluate why it is even in there at all. Unfortunately, there are people out there who do not understand that when you make a website, you should make it for your users. It may belong to the owner, but it is not necessarily FOR the owner.

  67. Great article, I’ve already written and re-written my About page several times without much success! Will take another look now with these guidelines in mind.

    I agree that it is definitely about ‘selling’ your site and telling your reader why they should be on your site instead of someone else’s. It all just takes a bit of practice I think!

  68. Yeah, my latest blog’s About Page is pretty terrible. I still haven’t added a photo, and you’re definitely right about one thing: The writing is boring. I think. Just need to keep telling myself “It’s about the reader!” and not about myself. Thanks for the tips!

  69. Sonia you nailed it agin. All these are common mistakes that almost every bloggers makes, when it comes to blog about page.

    The one mistake that I’ve seen in lots of bloggers about page is, they try to sound smart by using lots complecated and cliche words that very few peoples know. They forget about there readers, that they don’t have dictionary in their hand while reading your blog about page. So using complicated words only going to make your story harder to understand and as we all know that readers are big fans of easy-to-understand things not of harder things.

    The easier story you’ve for your readers the more enjoyly they will read it. So stick with simple and make it simple.. :)

  70. I have tried to write an about us page for my service website many times. Every time I haven’t published it. I am gonna follow some of this and see if it applies to my situation.

  71. This post make me more confident about my about page. When I started my blog, I followed Darren Rowse’s tips about about page. Now, I read this post,and make more confident about it.

    The only problem about my about page is I think that it is a little bit too long. :D I’m planning to cut it.

    Thank you,Sonia! Great post!

  72. What a great post… It is the most annoying thing to me when visiting a website – you generally are looking to learn more about the business – if the about page is not useful, I leave, frustrated. It is the most bothersome on Service based businesses too. If you are going to provide a service fro me, I want to know about you.

  73. Great post Sonia. Most bloggers forget how important an About Page really is. I know I did for the longest time. After reading this I really have to work on mine. Mistake 7 is killing me. Seems to me this is pretty crucial to an about page, well besides having one.
    What I love from About Pages is that I could quickly find their social media links and connect with them. If I just read a great article I want to see what else they have to say. It gets really frustrating when I can’t find one. It’s also frustrating when some just ramble about different subjects.

  74. I think the biggest frustration I have with About pages (especially bloggers) is when the author does a poor job of presenting their value. Of course I want to learn about them and get a feel for their personality and what they are all about, but the author should communicate why I should be returning and what solutions they can offer to the reader. It seems common to read an about page that explains the profession/credentials of the author, but fails to explain why/how they can connect with me, on a human level. Thats probably the largest factor in my decision to keep returning to the site. Not because I’m looking to take, but rather, I want to be able to connect and exchange with the person.

    I’m currently re-tuning my about page. This was great!

  75. I used to have a straight forward, boring “about” page. Recently, I found a bunch of amazing blogger ladies in Canada and realized it was their interesting about pages that made me like their blogs. I needed to now more about them than the educational details. So here’s my attempt at making mine more interesting: http://blog.rumorsofglory.com/about-2/

  76. Wow, am I ever nervous to comment before I go spiff up my about page!! Hopefully, I will beat you over there. My pet peeve probably fits into #7, but what I HATE in about pages is a long list of randomly dumb information such as your favorite flavor of black tea or why you suffer guilt for picking your toes. While I agree that a bit of dorky and quirky add flavor, the completely arbitrary list of info ensures that I’m bouncing right out of there. The About page should be full of links that draw me further into your blog. Also, regarding those of you who claim no pictures is better than a crappy one, I beg to differ. I just put up a very “unprofessional” picture on my speaking page, but have had nothing but positive feedback. I’ve realized that even this imperfect picture helps me to seem more approachable.

  77. Great post – I especially like the tip about the About page not being about you! Well done!

  78. Another awesome post! About me page have always make me sweat quite a bit. I never really felt good about them. But this post now clarifies a few things so thank you. Keep on the great work !

  79. Well — I’ve decided I’m game for a full-on critique. I like that people commenting here feel free to speak their mind — so “speak away!” I have high hopes we can get beyond “oh, it looks nice,” because I’m really looking for honest-to-God critique. http://www.workplace-excellence.com/about-leadership-development-inc/

    What do you like? What do you NOT like? But if you say you don’t like something, offer a suggestion for what to do instead / what you would do different.

    Don’t know if this is an appropriate forum for this, but here’s a chance to offer your .02. And thanks in advance for your feedback.

  80. Unbelievable! I actually didn’t need to change my about page after reading this article.

    This is so much different than every every article I read at CopyBlogger. If I followed every bit of advice, I would never get anything done. Thanks!

  81. Very good tips. Thanks!

  82. I don’t have a full page, but I do have a blurb on the side of mine that explains the reason for my blogging (and my baking) and gives a bit of info. Is there a reason About should be a completely separate page? I feel like I need a mission statement with a bit of personality and that should cover it.

    • The biggest reason for me would be that you want to put information where people expect to find it. So when someone lands on your site and thinks you’re cool, you put the “here’s where you find out more about me” in the place that they’re most likely to look.

      Is it a fatal error if you don’t? No. :) But Steve Krug wrote a great user interface book called “Don’t Make Me Think” that talks about putting web page elements where users are accustomed to finding them. What we as the page creators think is obvious can be baffling to new readers, even if it’s front and center.

  83. Sonia, this is awesome advice. I am guilty of a few mistakes here, but they will be corrected very quickly! Thank you for your competence and help here!
    Domo Arigato.