Do you dread writing your About Page (like you dread cleaning out the fridge)?
You’re not alone.
We all know we need one.
And yes, it’s probably one of THE most-visited pages on your entire site. (Have you checked your Google Analytics lately? Go do it. I’ll wait.)
It’s also one of the most difficult pieces of copy writing you’ll tackle as an entrepreneur.
And with good reason. When you know it’s so important, you see that blinking cursor on your screen and freeze.
You get that people are there because they want to know who they’re about to do business with.
They wonder…Are you trustworthy? Do you know what the hell you’re doing? Do I even like you?
So the pressure to get this right feels HUGE.
But finding the right mix of friendly, authentic and credible?
And understanding how to tell your story while simultaneously making your visitor feel like it’s all about them?
It’s no wonder you’re stumped.
I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that hard.
The Realities of Writing Your Online Bio
First and foremost, know that any writing any of us does never comes out perfect the first time.
You’ll most likely need to revise your About Page at least three or four times before you publish it. And then tweak it again three or four more times after you publish it — per year. So relax. Change happens.
Second, if you approach this project with a sense of play (and without the need to look cool — or uber professional), it’ll be a LOT easier to write something honest and fresh that showcases your talents and your personality.
Again, relax. It’s important. But it isn’t rocket surgery.
How to Create Your Best About Page
I’m not a fan of templates. Anything that requires you to fill in some blanks only takes away your ability to be creative and think for yourself.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t offer you some guidelines and structure, right?
First, gather all the details about you and your ideal clients. If you’d like some help with that, I’ve created a questionnaire I call the About Page Starter Recipe:
Now comes the fun part: Your First Draft!
More than a bio, what you really want your About Page to do is act as a stand in for YOU.
Consider this page a virtual you who stands at the door and welcomes new visitors. What do you do when someone you’ve never met comes to your home?
You greet them. You introduce yourself. You invite them in.
Use Great Photos
Show us your pearly whites. Show us your personality. Use a happy, relaxed and confident picture of you at the top of your page.
Remember, this page is your stand-in. And you can’t have a stand-in without a visual.
Acknowledge Your Reader
This is about helping your website visitor (or ideal client) understand that they’re in the right place.
So start there. Keep just one person in mind as you write.
Acknowledge that you understand what they’re going through and why they’ve landed on your doorstep.
And then humbly offer them some reasons why you might be just the person to help them over their hurdles.
Hint: you can brag about yourself a little, but lean more heavily on testimonials to do the heavy lifting of how truly awesome you are.
The best test (if you’re not sure how much bragging is too much), is to read your copy out loud to a friend. Does it sound like something you’d really say about yourself (with a straight face)? Or does it sound like something someone else would say about you?
If you’re a solo practitioner (or even if you’re not), I highly recommend you write this page in the first person. In your own voice. Using words you’d use if you were actually talking to someone.
When you do that, you make it that much easier for your reader to connect with you (which is the whole darned point!).
And last, this isn’t the place to show us how many big words you know. Or to use snooze-inducing jargon. Or over-the-top hyperbole (e.g. don’t go “amazeballs” on your reader). Use plain, clear language.
That means sharing your multi-faceted self — weaknesses, quirks and all.
Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t mean you should use this as a confessional page. But if you only present your best side, you’ll come off looking like a caricature — or worse: unapproachable.
So pick one or two silly or irreverent things about yourself and work them into your bio. Bonus points if they’re things that your ideal client has in common with you.
Tell us a Story
Why are YOU here? What brought you to this particular place, doing this particular thing?
Your back story (or origin story) is important and helps us get a better handle on why YOU. If you can show us why you’re the hero of your own story, it will help us see you as the mentor or professional we’ve been looking for.
And don’t leave out the emotions. Or the drama. That’s a key piece of every good story.
I often see folks who tell us where they were (horrible, horrible mess) and then tell us where they are now (lollypop land), but never show us how they got there. You can’t live happily ever after without the struggle in between.
Wrap it Up With a Call to Action
Every piece of copy or content you put out there — including your About Page — should end with an appropriate call to action.
Ask your visitors to contact you (link to your contact form), connect with you on social media (link to your profiles), and/or subscribe to your newsletter (include the opt-in form right there).
Don’t assume they’ll do these on their own. A little prompt from you can go a long way.
Have a question I didn’t answer here? Or maybe you’ve seen an awesome About Page out on the interwebs you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
And — If you’d like some private feedback and coaching on your About Page (and perhaps the rest of your site), check out my Content Coaching and Story Coaching programs. Feedback and an objective pair of eyes can be a wonderful thing.
on April 26, 2015 at 6:17 am
I’ve tried to do some of that on my about page, but I don’t know if I got it right
Link Linda? I’d love to take a peek.
on April 27, 2015 at 8:51 am
Here it is 🙂 http://lindaursin.net/about/
Nicely done, Linda! The only advice I have is to consider telling a bit of your “how I got here” story. You’ve covered what you do and who you help. Now give us a peek at your backstory. What made you into the creativity coach you are?
on April 27, 2015 at 9:03 am
Thanks 🙂 I used to have that up there too, but got told the page was too long and complicated. I’ll put it in there again. It all stems from chronic pain and fatigue, via paganism and a boring job 🙂
The trick is to give us a summary — keep it to just one paragraph and you should be fine.
on April 27, 2015 at 9:23 am
That’s really hard, but I’ll try 🙂
This is a very timely post for me. Thanks Tea. You covered it all. Creating an About Me page was like pulling teeth, but once I decided what I could say, I decided to make it into a video. http://sharingliferecipes.com/about-julia/
Love your new site, Julia. Congrats on the soft opening! You’ve definitely got a compelling life path and I’m glad to see you’ve connected the dots about what it all means (for you AND for your potential clients). Because “life” is such a big topic, it’ll be crucial that you hone in on a main idea and find the intersection between that idea and a particular group of people. I think you’ve done that (in your head?) but you could put that stake in the ground publicly on your About Page, too. (What KIND of clients? What KIND of changes?) And remember that your About Page is you opening the door to your office and welcoming in one person at a time. Speak to them directly. Say hello in your own special Julia way. You’re one of the most hospitable humans I know. Own it! 🙂
Thanks. Thats excellent direction. Will work on it. I can first put it in the text to see how it sits. later change the video.
A timely post for me too, Téa. Thanks to your coaching, I’ve been able to tell my story in a more intimate and flowing manner. If you have any other pointers, you know I’d love your feedback.
Love the current version, Yota. Couple of super minor things: The “T” at the beginning of this sentence is missing its bold formatting: There’s a pile of self-help books by your bed. And the word “overbearing” is something we’d use for a person. Maybe you mean “overwhelming”? Also – can you give us titles for your images? Esp of you and the twins? Circa what year?
Hi, great article and very useful. I write a blog and I’d love to take you up on your feedback. My About Me page is http://bizmd.blogspot.com/p/about-author.html
Hi Chris – the first thing I’d recommend is that you switch over to first person voice. Write this as if you’re actually talking to your reader. What do you need to say to help them feel welcome and know that they’re in the right place? (Hint: talk about specific examples of how you help people like them.) Next, crop your photo so that it’s just your head/shoulders. We want to SEE you. Right now, the image as it is makes you feel very far away. Come closer!
Thanks for the tips Tea. My whole site is a work-in-progress, but I’d absolutely love some feedback about how this About page lands….www.debbiesipowicz.com/about (p.s. still having trouble with that direct link – so you might need to go to http://www.debbiesipowicz.com and click on ‘about me’.
Happy to help, Debbie. The first thing I notice is your background (the wallpaper in the back) is fighting with the text. Can you keep that wallpaper but put a “page” of white between it and the text? That will help with readability. Next, consider swapping out the illustrations with actual photos from your life. This will help connect your reader to you on the level of “real.” If that feels too difficult, see if you can find illustrations that were drawn by the same artist. As they stand now, they’re disconnected from you and from each other because of style. Finally, consider starting with “I see all these talented, creative, soulful heart-centered women starting businesses – using that same old boring male-dominated business model…” and putting your backstory after that. The first step on the About Page is to help your reader confirm they’ve landed in the right place. That you’re on the same page as them. Then you talk about how you got there.
Well, Tea, you know this is a timely post for me. I’m updating my About page now. It is a work in progress as my brand develops and shifts like it is right now. This is a page that definitely needs to be updated, at a minimum, yearly. A good time to review is when we’re reviewing our ideal client criteria, and who has been showing up for us, and if our products/services have changed. Update more often if things are rapidly changing in our business.
Thanks for chiming in, Bonita. And YES to updating when your ideal client or services change. Super important. You’ve got this.
Hi Tea, whenever your blogs arrive in my inbox, it feels like a little sparky mini-party! And as with all the best parties, everyone ends up hanging around in the kitchen where all the good stuff happens. So I just loved your most recent blog about handing out love biscuits – one of which was the prompt to come here. I’d love it if you could take a peek at my about page http://switchedonmedia.co.za/about-me. Thank you for your nourishing inspiration!
Nina – you’ve got a really solid About Page here. Nice photo, lots of details that give us a picture of who you are and what you can do for folks. To take this to a higher plane, I’d recommend you focus on tightening things up a bit. Start off by welcoming your reader by describing them: “I know you’re thinking XYZ and wondering ABC…” get as specific as you can in terms of your description and what they’re concerned about. Then move into how you help them. And finally, give some of that backstory — how you got to do what you’re doing now and maybe even some non-business related tidbits about you (so readers get a more 3-dimensional view of you as a human). You’ve got a solid call to action at the end. Nice job.
Thanks Tea! Really helpful advice. I especially like the idea of describing what my reader may be going through. Will incorporate that.
Great piece and a very generous offer to check out our about pages. I’d love your feedback.http://hoffmangraphics.com/about/
Sheila – nice job on your About Page. You’ve definitely covered the bases. Now consider these few tweaks to make it even better: a testimonial or two about how awesome you are to work with and how you’ve saved your client time/money/headaches. Saying a tiny bit more about what type of client you work best with. You do a bit of that at the beginning with your question (Are you tired of jumping…) but you could say more about the concerns you know your right people are struggling with. And finally, think about your branding — what themes and metaphors would you use to describe how you work with people? Right now, the text is very straightforward and conversational, but doesn’t really give us a look at your personality or what your brand stands for. Think about your soap box — what goes on in the design industry that you work to fix? Speak more passionately to that.
Thanks Tea. That gives me something concrete to work on. I do have a testimonial page. Would linking to that be enough? I also have them in the Contact sidebar.
If your About Page were longer, I’d say just link to the page. But you really don’t want to rely on the reader to make the choice to go there. Pick your best 1 or 2 and insert them directly into the body of the page (about 1/3 and 2/3 of the way thru). Set them off with nice design. This also gives your reader an idea of the kind of design you could do for them!
Got it…thanks again.
Thanks for your guidelines! I’ll be releasing the mobile-friendly version of this site soon, so a great opportunity to redo my ABOUT page. Currently, here it is: http://bethbarany.com/beth.html. Thank you for your generous offer for a looksee!
Beth! Happy to help. You’ve got a LOT of solid information to work with. Here’s a couple of things to consider: 1) Re-write the intro in first person. Pretend you’re opening your door to someone new. Say hello. Introduce yourself. Let them know you were expecting them and that you know why they’ve showed up. Be creative! (You’re a writer, so you’ve got this.); 2) Move the formal stuff down further (still in first person). 3) Consider linking to your LinkedIn profile instead of including your full resume on this page. Replace with a testimonial or two. Most of us don’t need to see your full CV in order to trust you. We need to hear from YOU and possibly some of your past clients. Let your last thing on that page be the call to action (to schedule a call with you).
Thank you so much, Tea! So so helpful!
Great advice, Tea. It will provide good guidelines when I’m ready to rewrite mine.
And I know you’ve got some good photos now…so…can’t wait to see it!!
Bookmarked this one! I’ve re-written my About Page so many times, I don’t even like to visit it anymore. Sad to admit, but true. For starters, I need to have some photos taken (that thing I avoid like bacteria, the plague, and refrigerator cleaning). When I get around to it, I want them to be casual, candid, informal shots. I’m not the business-suit, stiletto-wearing, every-hair-in-place glamor shot kind of gal.
For me, the trickiest part of writing your About Page is that although it’s obviously about “you”, it’s ultimately about serving “them”. I want people to read about me and think,”This is someone I’d invite over to my house for coffee and someone whose personality and values match mine. And I bet she’s a lot of fun to work with!” 😉
It’s time for me to get new photos taken, too. And the ONE photographer I’ve ever been happy with doesn’t live in Portland. I feel your pain on the photo thing, Melanie. My best advice is to look high and low in your area at all the photographers’ websites/portfolios. Find the ones where you can see that the subject feels good and confident. That’s a talent that not every photographer has. I’m sure that when you get your image added to your beautiful words, people will definitely want to have you over for coffee. Slam dunk.
Thank goodness I’m not the only one, Tea! Having photos taken has taken a seat on my lowest priority list for a long time.
I have an idea I want to run with, though (Oh God, people! Melanie is drumming up ideas again.) LOL
I thought it might be cool to research a student of photography who’s looking forward to starting his/her own business after graduation. You know, give a budding entrepreneur a shot at taking shots of me. 😉
Keeping my fingers and toes crossed you find a wonderful photographer in Portland.
I love this Tea! It is truly time for a re-write #1010!! ? This time will be the best yet because of your advice! What do you think about having an intro video on the page?
Intro videos can work wonders OR they can be an albatross. Make sure your intro video is 1 min or less and that your energy is high. If you’re too slow (aka boring), people will click away and we don’t want that. 🙂
Great reminder to look at the about page. It’s been a few years and had to gasp a little when I read mine;) I updated a little, would love a look. http://www.brandfromwithin.com/about
You’ve got a solid foundation here, Eva. Nice job. I love your photo and the tone of your writing. It feels like the real you. Couple of things: 1) Don’t forget to introduce yourself up at the top. (Say your name, tell people who you are.); 2) Use “you” and “your” more than “we” and “us.” It’s more powerful; 3) At the end under “credentials,” the shift into 3rd person feels a bit weird. You can offset that a bit by saying something fun like, “Here’s the official bio I share with PR folks.” Or just link to your LinkedIn profile. And finally, 4) double check the link to your free ecourse — I didn’t see anything there to click on.
Thanks Tea! Glad my writing is coming along – thanks to you! Was worried I might be sounding too gloomy in the beginning.
You’ve absolutely nailed it again Tea. Tackled the hardest page we ever have to write, given us rock solid strategies to do it well, (this line has made me think instantly I shall rewrite mine: ‘Consider this page a virtual you who stands at the door and welcomes new visitors); and you’ve got more engagement in the responses of people to a post than I have seen in light years. Wonderful post and exactly what blogging should be all about.
Thanks for chiming in, Sandy! I always love your feedback.
It’s a great idea; and the about page is typically one place where I’ve often struggled. My latest incarnation is a revamp of my online dating profile as a joke.
You’re right about it being one of the most visited pages on my website, though. I’ve often thought I need to go and re-do it and now I have the blueprint to do just that! 😀
I remember thinking the same thing during Prosperity’s Kitchen where you described the two silly details as the “quirks” of the recipe. I’ve always thought that was brilliant and had yet to apply it. On the flip-side, I also read a lot of these about pages that seem so fake, flakey, ghost-written or otherwise crappy that it makes me want to pull my teeth out. It seems like most people have a hard time writing a good bio.
This is wonderful advice, Tea! I’ll inevitably be rewriting my About page for the 15th time soon…it is definitely a process.
Oooh this is a great topic. I always struggle with About Page and I know the statistics. Here’s my question, should it be more about “The Numbers Whisperer” or about Me? Here are examples of the two types, feedback welcome! http://thenumberswhisperer.com/about-nicole-and-numbers-whisperer-team/ and http://thenumberswhisperer.com/2011/secrets-of-the-numbers-whisperer-tm/
The quick answer is: It should be more about your visitor. You, my dear, have lots of About pages going on. My first two suggestions would be to write your About Nicole and/or What exactly IS a numbers whisperer in 1st person. Talk a bit more about your why your visitor is there (their fears, etc.) and how you’re specifically situated to help them. That’s what helps them know they’re in the right place. From there, you can talk about yourself and why you do what you do.
Thanks for the feedback Tea. I needed a good kick to finally update my menu and other bits of my website. This was it. You rock 🙂
Tea. I have been looking all over for this blog post and your About page recipe! I am teaching a retired preschool teacher how to sell her children’s books online and we have to rewrite her web copy. My jam is helping people with training content, but I’m more strategist and copywriter and less writing coach. I am so relieved to have found your recipe and to be off the hook for creating an About page exercise from scratch.
Yay! So glad this is helpful. As a fellow writer, I’m sure you know getting the first draft out is usually the hardest part. That was exactly why I put this together. Enjoy.