By James Chartrand of Men with Pens
If you’re going to put your words on public display, it’s your job to make that content compelling, intriguing, entertaining or informative. If it’s boring… well. Suffice it to say that very few readers are going to be interested.
That’s why your About page has to be just as good as every other piece of content on your site. A well written About page is an extra more tool in your arsenal. It can help you engage readers, encourage sales, enhance trust and increase respect.
Here are some tips on how to write a great About page that pleases everyone:
Know What You Want
Your About page needs to help you accomplish a goal. It’s not there to look pretty; it’s there to work for you. What you need your About page to do depends entirely on what you want to achieve with your site. Do you want more sales? More readers? More clients? Gear your content towards your goal and make your About page work hard for you.
For example, if you want more readers, then write in a way that engages people and develops a bond. Get personal. Tell a story. If you want more sales, then your About page becomes an extra place to pitch the benefits of buying or how your product helps customers get what they want. If you want more clients, then use your About page to convey what you’re like to work with and why you’re different from the competition.
There are some rocking blogs out there, and there are great sites full of entertaining info. But sometimes, you click the About page of one of these sites, and you’re jarred from that greatness thanks to content as dry as breadcrumbs. Be consistent with the voice and style you use throughout your site, and reflect the same personality on your About page.
Don’t switch from sassy blog posts to overly stiff professional credentials. Don’t go from casual class to raving wild child. Don’t switch from swearing like a sailor to top manners and queenly etiquette. And if your crumbly-dry About page is consistent with the rest of your site’s style? Then you need a major content style overhaul, my friend.
Put Yourself Out There
Welcome to Generation X and Y, where millions of people crave personality, transparency and honesty. Gone are the days of About pages listing the year of company founding and boring credentials. Now people want to see who you are, how you came to be here and what your favorite color might be.
That doesn’t mean you should use your About page to tell your life story, reveal your deepest, darkest secrets or go on about unrelated traumatic events. Keep the content relevant and concise. Just add a personal touch and give people a taste of who you are. List a bit of ‘you’ trivia. Talk about how you got started. Show a little of the face behind the online mask.
Don’t Forget the Credentials
While About pages should tell an honest, interesting story, they should also still have those credentials in there. Mention your experience, your education or your skills – just do it with style. Note how long you’ve been in business (if it’s been a while), and indicate any accomplishments that make you stand out. You can also list associations you’re involved in, distinguishing factors, or organizations you support. Do you do volunteer work or donate funds? List that too, because it helps show people what you stand for.
Don’t have any credentials? Just getting started? That’s okay; we all start somewhere. In this case, mention how you learned your craft and why you became involved in this line of work. You don’t have to say when that was, but you do have some backup that makes you a credible provider, authority or business.
Tell a Good Story
Everyone likes to hear a story, and every single person in this world has a story to tell. A bland description isn’t going to interest people, but a story hooks them in every single time. That doesn’t mean listing your bio from birth to now. A long About page that isn’t relevant or that gives too much information isn’t a good read. Stay sharp and concise, with a hook intro, a nice build up, a climax and a wrap.
People like to know the story of what brought you here and how you became interested in what you do. One of the most frequently asked questions I hear is, “How’d you get started in writing?” You could start with something like, “Looking up at the sun one day, it struck me that there was something better than the damp dirt of the cow field I sat in.” That’s a story right there, and it gets people interested in knowing more.
So What Is Your Story?
By now, you’re thinking, “Well, then, what do I write? I don’t have a great story and I can’t write my full history… what’s left?” You. That’s what’s left. What kind of person are you? What makes you the star you are? Why do you do what you do? What makes you special? What makes you interesting? What makes you a good person to work with, or to buy from, or to listen to?
Your turn: What do you like to see on an About page? More importantly, what’s on yours?
About the author: James Chartrand’s mission is to help writers and freelancers get out of the cow fields and get into earning a decent living online. Get more great freelance writer tips at his site, Men with Pens
Photo by Daniel H. Agostini aka dhammza
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