Although it seems like a natural place on your website to talk about yourself, a strong About page is really about empathy for your visitors.
When you write an effective About page, you dig into your readers’ minds and then communicate that you have what they need or want.
And you can’t afford to follow the herd. Just think about how many times you’ve clicked away from a website that included just a little too much “Me! Me! Me!”
You don’t want to be that person at the cocktail party who brags so incessantly that other party guests plan different routes to the restroom to avoid you. But you also don’t want to bore new visitors.
How do you strike the right balance?
Why a smart About page includes your visitors in the conversation
Your About page is usually one of the most visited pages on your site, and there’s a good reason for that.
If you capture readers’ attention with your content, they’ll want to know more about you — so this is your chance to connect with them, keep them intrigued, and convince them beyond a doubt that you’re the person they should work with.
But your visitors also want equal time in the conversation. Having strong, trusted relationships with your readers helps them know, like, and trust you so they feel confident about doing business with you.
Your About page helps you build those relationships, and relationships are two-way streets, not one-way lectures. That’s one reason why, when crafting your About page, what “everyone else is doing” probably isn’t your best model.
You certainly can inject humor and personality, but keep those aspects in perspective. Your morning coffee preferences may help some of your readers connect with you, but they’re just a cute aside.
Above all, your readers want to know what you can do for them.
What value do you provide for your readers?
Your life story, achievements, and accomplishments may bolster your credibility and credentials, but they’re not the first thoughts on visitors’ minds.
Some of your visitors’ unanswered questions are:
- What’s in this for me?
- Am I in the right place?
- Can this person help me with my problem?
Don’t send your readers screaming for the exit by talking only about yourself. Instead, make them want to pull up a chair, chat with you a while, and keep in touch long after the party.
Here’s the five-step process for writing a creative About page that’s the hit of your online party, with examples from folks who do it right.
Step 1: Rouse the wallflowers and make them dance
When your readers discover a site that speaks to them, it’s exciting. Grab your audience with an opening statement that ignites a feeling.
Demonstrate that you know why they’ve visited your site — whether it’s through a great story, a solution to their most pressing parenting problem, or answers to their burning business questions.
Chris Guillebeau states that The Art of Non-Conformity is “a home for unconventional people doing remarkable things.”
All you need to do is read that first sentence to know whether or not you qualify.
At Social Triggers, Derek Halpern asks five questions about marketing your business and using persuasion. If you answer “yes” to one or more of them, you know you’re in the right place.
Step 2: Crank the volume and excitement up a notch
Now it’s time to throw a little fuel on the fire you’ve lit.
This second section of your About page is a short paragraph that allows people to decide for themselves whether or not they’re interested in what you do.
You want to use your best empathy skills here. Get into your readers’ heads and make them think you understand them so well that you’re reading their minds.
Jon Morrow does this nicely:
So, let me guess. You wouldn’t exactly call your blog ‘popular,’ right? You write a great post and … nothing happens … Your little voice gets swallowed up, almost like you never said anything at all … And it’s starting to piss me off.
If you read Jon’s intro and relate to it, you’ll be pissed off too. That’s the point. Stir some emotions and get your readers on your side.
Another way to do this is to be on a mission. There’s no better way to get people to rally around you than to tap into their own deeply held values and beliefs.
Step 3: Learn how to brag strategically
What others say about us can hold more weight than what we say about ourselves.
Let others speak for you. Provide testimonials and social proof so your readers can picture themselves becoming a part of your community.
Jeff Goins attracts readers who have a passion for creativity and changing the world. He introduces this section of his About page with: “People are talking about me and some of it’s actually good.”
He includes humor alongside strong professional endorsements. All of them make you know, like, and trust him just a little more.
Step 4: Seal the deal with your charm and personality
Your biographical section should appear towards the end of your page. Once you’ve warmed people up and established that you care about them, they’ll want to learn more about you.
To make a personal connection, your bio should:
- State why you do what you do and your mission — these are both powerful rallying points.
- Use one to three short, engaging stories to sum up your background in a memorable way.
- Include one to three photos throughout the page.
Whether you’re a one-woman show or a large enterprise, your readers want to see faces and learn names. People connect with people.
Step 5: Ask to keep in touch
If you’ve successfully intrigued your new fans, make sure they stick around by asking visitors to sign up for your email list.
Pat Flynn, among others, suggests giving readers three opportunities to sign up for your list on your About page.
Place the first email sign-up box after your second section, once you’ve told people who you are, what you do for them, and why they should care. The next sign-up box should appear after your testimonials and social proof, and the last one should go at the end of the page, after your personal bio.
Don’t forget that the About page is one of the most visited pages on your site. If you give readers several opportunities to become subscribers here, you should see an increase in email signups.
Are you ready to be the life of the party and attract more clients?
Sometimes just a few tweaks to your About page are enough to put the spotlight on your readers. When you do, you can transform a boring life history into a valuable outlet for attracting clients.
What changes will you make to get started?
Do you have a favorite About page to share as an example?
Head over to Google+ so we can continue the discussion!
Want more on About pages?
You might want to check out Sonia’s post on About pages as well. You can find it here: Are You Making These 7 Mistakes on Your About Page?
Flickr Creative Commons Image via Michael J. Moeller.