There are a few different ways to write an About page. Different approaches apply for large corporations and personal brands. Because of this, the following tips are most useful for those who own personal brands, or small businesses that they've personalised heavily. If you're a marketing manager for a large company, the following advice might not soon your brand voice.
Do you hate writing about yourself? It’s a common thing to struggle with. I personally wrestle with my psyche every time I’m forced to write a bio, and I trade words professionally. For years I’d agonise over every adjective and punctuation mark when crafting a description of myself. Nothing would feel authentic, and I’d occasionally feel fraudulent for making bold claims, even if they were true.
Telling people about ourselves is a vexed activity. Perhaps it’s because we don’t want to appear arrogant, or because we have a hard time looking at ourselves objectively. Sometimes we develop the strength and perspective to communicate clearly. Sometimes we falter, stumbling over our words, or stare at blank pages until we shut our computer screens in defeat.
Aside from your home page, your About Me page is the most important page of your website. I believe that your website is your own never-sleeping sales team, working endlessly for you so you can take time off. If your website is a team, think of your About Me page as your employee of the month. Your most prized hire, your About Me page gives you the chance to really tell people who you are, what you stand for, and what makes you so different.
Of course, this can be communicated across your entire website in both visual and written formats. But your About Me page is your very own spot on your website to really create a genuine connection with your ideal audience. It’s where you tell your story, reveal your personality, and talk about your personal and professional development. It’s your chance to talk in first person at length, and the only spot on your website where you can mention your love of chocolate and peanut butter.
Your About Me page is crucial to having a cohesive website. It’s often the first thing clients come to me for help with, because they need clarity on their values and who they are as a professional.
There’s a bounty of ways to create a captivating About Me page, but here are just 5 of the easiest to start with. Implement them, and you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of horn tooting with lucidity and ease.
1. It's not all about you
No, your About Me page is actually not all about you. Seems strange, no? Thing is, when a visitor comes to your website, they don’t really care about you. Harsh, yet 100% true. They care about what’s in it for them. How can they relate to you? Are you a good fit for them, their beliefs and how they work?
It’s counterproductive to talk in length about all of your achievements, interests and goals…unless you can provide a context for your reader.
This means that if you’re wanting to describe your battle with self-esteem and your mastery of negative thought patterns, then you’d want to also let the reader know that that’s an area you help people with.
Likewise, if you feel the need to describe your running list of qualifications, then you need to use this information as a trust marker. You wouldn’t just write, “I’ve studied X, Y and Z.” Instead, you would write, “You can trust that I’m qualified to give you advice because I’ve studied X, Y and Z.”
For example, Jaiya is an award-winning sexologist. As a health professional, her role requires a high degree of authority in order to create trust. To address this, the first line of her About page gives a nod to her accolades, and then she delves right in to how she's of service to her clients.
In the subsequent paragraphs, she taps into common pain points, like "passionate about helping men and women overcome sexual issues", and, "her mission is to helps others unleash erotic ecstasy". By prefacing these statements with her achievements as an award-winning sexologist, she's able to position herself as qualified to fulfil her client's needs ("overcome sexual issues"). All of her abilities are only mentioned when they're linked to a reader's wants and desires. It's an incredibly smart and effective writing technique.
Bonus points for creating approachability with her mention of motherhood in the main heading.
2. Don't start with 'hello' or 'hi'
There are a plethora of ways to start your About Me page, but a colloquial salutation is not the way to do it. Starting off with a big, bold opening statement which summarises your approach to what you do is a great way to kick off your About Me page. Consider touching on an emotion or feeling that you can provide the remedy for.
For example, I start off my About Me page with:
“Creative copywriting that connects, clarifies and converts."
In that opening, I’ve managed to connect with readers who suffer with communicating, and provided a solution.
Another alternative to consider is replacing your About Me page with a Start Here page. Brand It Girl's Start Here page frames a user's journey, beginning with a rhetorical question that's designed to spark interest, and motivate the reader to scroll further. More than that, she expertly frames the reader as the hero of this story, not herself.
Take a look:
It's only after highlighting her core services that Sam's bio appears. And when it does, it's short, nuanced with bold text, and calm states her areas of expertise. It's a great example of how you can empower your readers to take action, while positioning yourself as the one to help guide them on their journey.
3. Put your thesaurus down
There’s a tendency online to resort to hyperbole in order to make yourself stand out. Everyone’s job titles are the same, so people describe themselves as ‘life alchemists’, ‘truth seekers’ and ‘universal sages’. They promise to be your guardian angel, your sun and your moon, the very best person you will ever meet because they’re into yoga and crystals. I am in to yoga and crystals as well, but you’ll notice I don’t mention my interests until halfway down on my About Me page.
Your reader has very little time to indulge in your poetic tendencies. Tell them what you do straight away. Are you a graphic designer? Tell them you’re a graphic designer. Do you teach yoga? Tell them you’re an accredited yoga teacher. You have very precious space to address your reader’s pain points, and as point #1 says, your About Me page isn’t really about you. Your reader wants to know what’s in it for them, and they need to know what you actually do if they’re going to work with you.
Writer Alexandra Franzen knows that good writing is nuanced with simplicity and concision. Granted, she has a list of accolades which speak volumes about her expertise, which new businesses may not have. Yet, the rule still applies: don't forsake clarity for creativity.
4. Do be clear on who your audience is
As an entrepreneur or small business, there’s a tendency to want to help everyone. Unfortunately, you cannot. Nor is trying to appeal to everyone a very enjoyable experience because you’ll have to suppress aspects of yourself that are 100% purely you – and they might be your best, most juiciest parts. I’m not for everyone (super corporate businesses, large organisations and profit-driven businesses are not my ideal client), so I’m clear about that.
Don’t hide who you are so that you can be everyone’s go-to guy/girl. When you hide away these important parts, you water down your message and your unique selling point. Be clear about your ideal client, and you’ll find the garbage will stay well away.
Design with Style, headed by ROOOAR Magazine's Anna Dower, placing emphasis on her ideal audience in the very first paragraph, well before she event begins to explain her role and qualifications.
5. Do tell your reader what to do next
Your reader has finished reading your About Me page. Do you want them to just finish and go about their day and forget you? No. So you shouldn’t ‘just finish’ either.
Always include a call-to-action directing your reader to do something specific.
Rachel McDonald has an excellent ‘About Me’ page. At the end of her page, she’s provided an email opt-in, and also provides links to connect with her on social media.
Learn from the best
If you’re not confident in your writing abilities, or you’re new to crafting your own online presence, it’s helpful to learn from the pros.
Here are a few well written About Me pages that put the reader first, while communicating the author's value.