If you have a personal or parenting blog, you’ll be accustomed to writing about yourself. But do you have an ‘About’ page – and is it working as hard for you as it can?
Why do I need an ‘About’ page?
A new reader discovers your blog. How can they find out more about the person behind it, with a view to following you? They might read a few posts to get a sense of who you are and what you write about or, if they’re anything like me, they’ll look for an About page which will help them decide quickly.
Alternatively, a PR or advertiser is looking for bloggers to engage as part of a campaign. How will they decide if your blog is suitable and how will they get in touch with you?
Either way, think of your About page as the CV for you and your blog. It tells a potential reader everything they need to know in one easy chunk. That’s why every blog needs an About page.
Here are ten top tips to help you create the perfect About page.
What are the ‘must haves’?
There are a lot of elements you should consider, but only three that are mandatory.
1. Who you are: Even if you want to remain anonymous, you should at least describe who you are, e.g. “a father of three”, “a Michelin-starred chef”, “a mild-mannered reporter with a striking but unnoticed resemblance to a costumed superhero”. Help your reader get to know you.
2. What your blog is about: You can do this in words, pictures, rhyme, Egyptian hieroglyphs (okay, maybe not that) but it’s vital to let people know all about what your blog covers. If you don’t, it’s like asking someone to buy a product without telling them what it actually does.
3. A prominent link: Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Link to your About page prominently on your blog’s home page. If you have a menu, put it there and don’t hide it under a sub-menu. There’s no need to give it a fancy name either: as web users, we’re conditioned to looking for the word ‘About’. Stick to convention and make it easy for readers.
Depending on what you are trying to achieve with your blog, I would also recommend considering the following:
4. Contact details: This is particularly important if you are looking to work with brands, advertisers or other contributors.
At the very least, include an email address. If you want to be clever, you can add basic code for a link that automatically opens a new email addressed to you. Here’s an example:
<a href=”mailto:myemailaddress” target=”_blank”>Email me</a>
The target=”_blank” bit isn’t necessary, but it creates the email in a new tab, leaving your original page open.
If you’re on social media, add links to your accounts to encourage people to read and follow you there too.
5. A photo: Skip this if you want to stay anonymous (although you can always post a photo that doesn’t show your face) but a photo is great for helping to personalise your blog.
6. Greatest hits: Show off your best pieces by providing links to posts you’re particularly proud of. I would aim for 5-8 links to popular posts that demonstrate both the quality and diversity of your writing.
7. Executive summary: Once you’ve set up your About page, consider having a snappy summary on both your home and individual post pages – a combination of name, photo and/or a one-line description.
Why do this? Speed and convenience. When commenting on blogs I don’t visit often, I find it helpful if there’s a little memory-jogger that means I don’t have to click on an About page to remind myself who the blogger is. Personally I think it makes a blog that little bit quicker and easier to use, and it ensures I can easily address bloggers by name.
Rules of thumb
A couple of final general points to consider.
8. Short and sweet: No one clicks on a blog looking to read a 1,000-word About page, so be brief and be gone. You only need to say enough to tell people a little about yourself – it’s an About page, not an autobiography.
9. Tone of voice: Write your About page in the same style you would an ordinary blog post – so don’t suddenly be formal if your usual style is conversational. But if you’re looking to appeal to brands and advertisers, ensure you write in such a way that presents you in a professional light.
10. Put detail elsewhere: If you want to tell potential advertisers all about what services you can offer and how much you charge for them, put that detail on a separate page, link to it from your About page and give it a separate spot on your blog menu. Many bloggers have a separate ‘PR/Advertisers’ or ‘Work with me’ page – it’s good practice to follow suit.
For what it’s worth, this is my About page. I’m sure it could be better, but it does the job!