What’s Your Blog Really About?

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I read a great story this morning.

It’s all about this guy who started blogging back in 2002 after he read an article on the subject. He spent all his free time teaching himself the ins-and-outs of blogging back at a time when all the “how to blog” resources we have today didn’t exist.

He continued to start additional blogs on different subjects, and soon discovered that he was making enough income to cut back his employment to part time so he could focus more on blogging. He decided to really give this blogging thing a go and see if he could make a living from it.

From there, he eventually did become a full time blogger, supported mostly by advertising revenue from close to 20 blogs. It seems this fellow had stumbled into a thoroughly modern new profession, and it allowed him to make much more money than he had previously.

Where did I read this story?

On the “About” page of Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger.

Of course, I’ve been reading Darren’s blog for quite some time. But if I had just stumbled upon it today, I would have clicked on the “About ProBlogger” link to see what was going on.

And that page would have done its job well. It caught and kept my attention, and it would have resulted in a subscription. All because he told me a story that demonstrated exactly the reason why I would want to read his blog, and at the end, he asked me to subscribe.

That’s what the “About” page of your blog is for. Without a static homepage, and with numerous potential entry points via links or search results, the “About” page of a blog is an important opportunity to convert a new visitor into a regular reader.

The necessity of understanding exactly what your blog is really about is why we examined remarkable benefits, how to find them, and how yours must be expressly communicated before we started with this series. Because 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.

Most blog “About” pages tend to be about the author, not about the blog. And most of the time, that’s where visitors will click away, never to be seen again, because they were provided with no compelling reason to ever come back.

I use Darren as an example of an exception that proves the rule. Darren tells his own story because it so happens that his story is exactly the “reason why” you’d want to read his blog. Darren’s story is what gives his blog credibility and value, and that’s why it’s the right story to tell.

A first-person narrative is exceptionally effective when the primary benefit to the reader is to learn how to emulate some characteristic of the person telling the story. It could be about a guy who learned how to play the piano really well or another guy who makes good money from blogging.

In most other cases, however, a story about the blog author is not the most effective approach. That’s why I’ve pushed down information about myself on the Copyblogger “About” page, and even that’s done reluctantly.

As an information delivery platform, business blogs only have 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.

In other words, your “About” page has to sell the blog before the blog can sell you.

Are you getting in the way of what your blog is really about?

About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Brian, if your name was Barry Bonds, this would have been your 714th homerun. Excellent post! I’ve been planning to rewrite my “about” page and I’ll follow your suggestions.

    Thanks.

  2. Thank you, Glenn. And I swear I’m no longer on the juice. :)

  3. Brian – I have to admit that just today I read your “About” and “Author” sections. They’re great. I have a lot of work to do – I suppose I have to figure out what my blog wants to be when it grows up! Thanks for a great post (again!).

  4. Hi Ann. I really like your blog and the way your write. I think you know deep down what your blog wants to be when it grows up, and all you have to do it spend some time putting it into story form.

    It seems like maybe you would start here (taken from your About page):

    “My focus is now on content providers and the strategic and operational issues that impact them.”

    There’s definitely a story there, and I can’t wait to read it. :)

  5. Hmmm…I rewrote that (based on my first ever blog entry) before I saw your comment. I might just take another crack at it! Thanks for the kind words.

  6. An excellent point if you use a free blogger blog. There is a section called “About Me” that appears in a very high profile place on the blog. If you do indeed write about yourself (a trap I fell into) you are putting people off.

    The moral of the story – Don’t be lazy when setting up a blog.

  7. Brian, I’m beginning to think of Copyblogger as the “primer” for true blogs. Not intending to sound like flashy praise BUT your ability to write with such clarity without all the fluff and jargon is exactly what made me subscribe and continue to read.

    When I start my next blog, I will know how what I should NOT do but also what to make sure I include. My readers have been part of an experiment as I learned this but I’m learning.

    As for Problogger – yes, his about page pulled me in. Your about page is very different but very compelling so effective because it’s written about the reader.

    Again a BIG help for me!

  8. I have tried to develop a sense of consistency with my blog, however, this would require about five different blogs for the content I include: animal rights, glbt, politics, reviews, and St. Louis-local/Missouri-local things. I cannot possibly maintain five blogs. How does one find consistency in a blog while offering a variety of subject matter?

    Any suggestions would be MUCH appreciated!

    Lily B.

  9. Thanks Tammy!

    Lily, I think to answer your question you’ll have to figure out what your blogging goals are.

    My advice is mainly for people using a blog for business or economic reasons, but this isn’t necessarily something that limits the applicability of what I write about. Many of my readers are artists or have causes they want to get the word out about.

    That being said, I think many agree that the more laser-focused you are on one topic with a blog, the better you’ll do as far as subscribers and overall readership.

    That may not be the answer you are looking for, but in my experience that’s reality.

  10. Thanks for the words of advice. I will ponder it a bit and figure some things out.

  11. Absolutely brilliant.

    Gave me the motivation to redo the “about” page on my site (though my ego still doesn’t allow me to remove the old “about me” page completely yet). Will work on that…

    Thanks for the article. Very helpful.

  12. Great article, perfectly true. Whenever I visit a blog that Impresses me, I make it a point to check out the about page.

  13. A blog is a perspective. If journalism is a first draft of history, a blog is a first draft of journalism. It is alive. A well done blog welcomes and responds to comments. And here’s where we may differ: The about us section of a blog shouldn’t be afraid to feature the personality of the blogger.

    Why should an about us page “sell” a blogger? If you’re reading the blog, aren’t you already sold? My curiosity and sincere interests takes me to that page. When I read it, I’m looking for a screen side chat: neither a self-promoting pitch piece; nor something all about my reader experience.

    If I’m reading about you, that’s exactly who I wish to read about. The more authentic the description, the happier you’ll make me.

    I appreciate your words and read them daily.

    Zachary J. Braiker
    http://www.quiverandquill.com

  14. Brian, your comments have inspired the new Songsblog.com- a source of news and ideas on songwriting and digital and social media.

    Rock on!

    Lawton

    Songsblog.com- “What do you mean, you can’t understand the lyrics?”

  15. Great “kick in the pants” article! I actually think my about page on my Office Humor Blog is really good. I use a gimmick of doing a “who, what, where, when, why” list.

    However, finding my about page may not be that easy. I just have a small link at the top next to “home”, “links”, and “contact”. After reading this article I may go with a more obvious placement with my about link.

    Most bloggers put a decent sized chunk of “about” info on their sidebar somewhere with a link to more… maybe I’ll have to give up some sidebar realestate and do that.

  16. My about page will have contents from now on. I find no compelling reason to put something in there before.

  17. Brian, this is a first for me. Two commentaries in a row for one blog.

    I have to say, you have wowed me with your blog and that’s hard to do.

    I have spent hours combing through your site, discovering golden nuggets of knowledge.

    Thank you! Copyblogger is aces in my book!