10 Steps to an Addictive About Page
I'm one of those people who really likes lists (if you haven't noticed) and I firmly believe that there can be a list for any occasion. They're especially helpful when you're venturing into unknown territory! It's easy to write an engaging About page because you know all about yourself, right? Wrong (click here for sound effect; you'll thank me). Believe it or not, your About page isn't about you. Your About page is about a connection with your audience. So how do you connect without boring, confusing, or over-sharing? There's a list for that!
1. THE DUH: USE A GOOD PICTURE
There are a lot of ways that a picture can be good. You can look straight on and engage the viewer while smiling and looking not creepy. (The last part is essential to success.) Making eye contact, even virtually, can show confidence as long as you get that whole not creepy bit down. It's proven that people are drawn to look at human faces, even in pictures.
Example: pretty much every website ever
Or you can do the opposite. A person looking a direction other than forward causes the viewer to look at what the person is facing. It also has the side effect of making you look edgey and artistic if you style is as such. (Tres arteest!)
You can have a picture that looks like a candid of you in your workspace. This has both the benefits of building confidence that you are a professional and not challenging your audience with direct eye contact. I see these a lot on About pages of women who work in a creative capacity. (I have a theory about why that is, but I won't delve into that right now.) Or you can take it a step further and go "totally in the workspace." If you are an artist or designer, consider doing a self portrait. It's not only a great version of "you" but it also shows off your mad skillz.
2. WRITE LIKE YOU SPEAK
Your About page is where you want your personality to shine. Writing informally and in an engaging manner is a great way to get people to keep reading, which is no easy feat on the internet. Make your audience feel like they're having a conversation with you. (Tiny Caveat #1: obviously, there are situations in which you do not want to be conversational. Using a professional third person inspires more confidence in professions such as doctors, lawyers, etc. Use your best judgement on which category fits you.)
3. START STRONG
Say something that grabs your reader's attention. It can be quirky. It can be humanizing. It doesn't matter what it is! Just make it work for you. It's easy for your audience to start glossing over the page, looking at pretty pictures all the way down, and never truly read a thing. If you catch them at the beginning, there's a much higher chance that they will stay with you throughout your About page.
4. TELL A STORY
Channel your best inner campfire counselor for a few minutes and make yourself memorable. Telling a story that is relevant to your experience or business is a great way to engage your audience and make you memorable. "She's the crochet lady that made conjoined socks accidentally!" is better than being the lady they don't remember at all. (I think this is a good life theory in general.)
5. LINK, LINK, LINK
While you have your audience engaged, give them more to see and do. Whenever it makes sense on your About page or in your biography, link to relevant content on the rest of your website. If you have a couple blog posts that have been the most popular, link them. Did you allude to the product that launched your entire line? Link it. Just don't overdo it and give your viewers too many options. Funnel them where you want them to go and be smart about it.
Example: Mark's Daily Apple
6. BREAK IT UP
Nothing scares people off like a wall of text, especially a wall of text about someone else. If your About page content doesn't lend itself naturally to being segmented (we'll talk about that next), break it up visually. Make paragraphs in different sections with relevant backgrounds. Add pictures or quotes to dilute the visual rectangle of wall to wall words. Great creative with it!
7. MAKE A LIST
Oh my, did the list-lady just suggest making a list? Yes, she did! There is a huge move towards this with UI/UX designers and while I'm not personally a fan, I do see its merit. If what you're pitching product/service -wise is highly creative and visual, you can definitely be creative and visual with your About page. It doesn't give your audience as much to read, but when you're in a technical field, less reading may be a good thing.
Example: Andrew Reifman
8. ACTUALLY TALK TO THEM
Videos are oh so amazing when it comes to captivating an audience. If you want to sell yourself, why not actually sell yourself? Engage your viewers by making a video and acting as though you are talking to them in person. While an elevator pitch might seem passé face to face, it can be very effective online. People are used to seeing static pictures on About pages. Make yours dynamic.
Example: Jason Myers Photography
9. PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
I see a lot of websites out there that have About pages about the owner's past, not their present or future. Your readers might want to know where you graduated college and how you started your company, but it's a lot more inspiring to hear about what you are currently doing and what you look forward to in the future. How are you growing your business? What is your next big step?
10. GIVE A LITTLE LOVE
Come up with something that you can offer your audience that is a little goodwill offering. A how-to guide to pick wall colors guide if you're an interior decorator? Cute printable recipe cards if you have a food blog? If you choose to do a freebie, link it all over your website, but definitely add it to your About page as a personal gift to your reader.
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