If writing can sometimes be painful, writing about yourself is excruciating.
I watch each year as talented students with impressive resumes struggle through drafting cover letters when applying for jobs. I advise them that highlighting their professional skills is not bragging and that “selling” what their unique skills and experiences can do for the organization is the purpose of the cover letter.
Then I inevitably have to write some kind of promotional letter about myself and I, like my students, struggle with every word.
We’ve talked about choosing a blog name, creating a free WordPress blog and developing a theme through adding widgets. Now it’s time to learn how to “sell” the blog’s content and yourself as the author. This is done on the About page, which should be written and posted before you launch your blog.
What is an About page?
The About page is a an individual page on your blog that tells the reader a little bit about you and explains the inspiration behind your blog and its content.
The About page should focus on readers and tell the story of the blog through its benefits to/for them.
The About page is the second page most people visit when visiting the blog for the first time. They typically view it after landing on the blog’s homepage.
How do you write an About page?
One of my favorite bloggers, Michael Hyatt, wrote 10 Suggestions for Creating a Better About Page as a chapter in his book, Platform. As a side note, if you haven’t read Platform, I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to build his/her online presence. Here is my Platform review.
Here are Hyatt’s 10 suggestions, along with some advice from bloggers I know and from myself.
1. Write in the first person
This is done because blogs are personal, and you’re writing about yourself and your site.
2. Write in a conversational style
People should get a sense of your “voice,” according to Hyatt.
Blogger Marc Ensign offered this advice about voice and tone:
— Marc Ensign (@MarcEnsign) September 11, 2013
3. Start with the reader’s priorities
Start with the reader’s interests, then move on to your personal interests and add your bio (specifically, what qualifies you to write on this topic) at the end.
4. Tell them about yourself
This is one of the first things the reader wants to know. Give them one or two sentences, at least at the beginning, according to Hyatt.
I also would recommend that you add a photo, allowing your readers to connect with you as the blog’s author. The photo should be professional, clear, tasteful, and give insight into the tone of the blog.
5. Tell them about your blog
Hyatt suggests you tell them about your blog’s content theme and what types of things you write about. Hyatt wrote:
I think it’s best to limit yourself to a handful of categories. The more focused your content, the more readers you will attract.”
Patrick Phillips, who blogs at Patrick’s Place, offered this noteworthy advice:
Also re: About page, if your title isn’t immediately clear, EXPLAIN IT there. #bloggab
— Patrick Phillips (@patricksplace) September 11, 2013
6. Set their expectations
Tell them how often you post and when they can expect new content. Don’t make promises here that you won’t keep.
7. Invite them to subscribe
Ask them to subscribe to your blog via email so they receive a message each time you post. Hyatt wrote:
You don’t want to depend on your readers remembering to return to your blog.”
8. Point them to your top posts
Provide a list of your most popular posts and point them to your archive. Obviously, if you haven’t been blogging, you can skip this part for now and include it in your next update.
9. Provide a full biography
Some readers will be interested in your full bio. You can provide that now that you’ve “sold” the blog and its contents. Some people include this as a link to another page or a resume site, others just include it here. Either way is fine. Here’s my post on how to write a professional bio if you aren’t sure how.
10. Tell them how to contact you
Make it easy to contact you via email and social media by putting that contact information at the end of your About page. Be sure to respond to contacts from your readers.
To keep your About page current, Hyatt recommends you update it every three months or so. Here is Michael Hyatt’s About page.
Writing an About page may not be easy, but it is an important and necessary page for any blog. My final advice to you is just sit down and write, using the above tips as a formula. You can edit and improve from there.