The 'experts' will tell you that your about page is one of the most important spots on your blog.
They are right. In fact, on the CatsEyeWriter blog, my about page is consistently the second or third most viewed page.
Because the first thing a new visitor wants to do when they are intrigued about a post I've written is find out just who this CatsEyeWriter person is.
They are curious.
What the 'experts' are wrong about
For every expert opinion on how to write the 'perfect' about page, you'll find an equal and opposite one.
"Keep a professional focus," says the expert of stuffiness. "You need to separate business from personal."
"It's all about credibility. Your degrees and post-graduate work count the most," says the guru of self-importance.
"Be 'authentic' and talk about some mistakes you've made," says Mr. Warm and Fuzzy.
All of these people are wrong.
Because there are no about page rules—except for one.
Now some of you have heard me say that a good about page must have certain pieces.
That's true. But you must also find the right mix of personal and business—the recipe that makes the most sense for you.
The right ratio of business and personal is determined by the kind of business you are in, who your customers are and how you have built your brand.
So each about page is unique.
You do not want a reader to visit your blog and wonder what you do. That would be a bad thing.
But don't write a dry bio that leaves your visitor cold and feeling like there is no living, breathing person behind your business. Because that would be bad, too.
So what's the one rule?
Don't make it all about you.
About pages can be tricky because at first glance they are about you. But ultimately, you must connect your skills, abilities and interests to your client's needs. Keep that hat on as you write and you should do just fine.
5 tips for writing an about page that connects with your reader
Your reader wants to know know who you are, who you help and what matters most to you in this world. Here are five distinctly different about pages I wrote—four for my clients and one for myself.
1. Say what—but don't forget the why.
Your readers want to feel your passion for what you do, but they also are interested in why you chose your life's work. For one of my clients, the turning point was the day he realized that he was seeing too many adults in his counseling office who had been sexually abused as children.
He decided to figure out how to stop the abuse before lives were ruined. And so he launched a cool program to teach parents and teachers how to talk to kids about staying safe.
2. Tell us a good story.
Stories are just a part of us. They help us understand your personal journey—if that is important to who you are and how you are uniquely qualified to help us. We remember a good story long after the telling is over.
For one of my clients, a business coach, her story of going from 'broke, busted and disgusted' to becoming an award-winning coach and nationally renowned speaker was important to show that she gets being stuck, understands barriers to growth and knows how to get people on the road to living a life filled with passion.
3. Don't lead with boring credentials—even if they are important.
Most about pages don't start with a list of the person's degrees—and for a good reason. Names of colleges and pieces of paper do not excite us. When is the last time you hired someone based on what college they went to? One of my clients is a career development specialist.
His students and coaching clients expect him to have the proper credentials and he shares them—at the end of his about page. We decided to lead with the story of the 'accidental' job that caused him to take a huge leap— from forestry to career education—and why. Because it shows how important he thinks it is to find the life work you were meant to be doing, which is what he helps his clients do.
4. Tie in some relevant accomplishments.
You can't talk about every activity you enjoy and everything you've accomplished in your about page. So focus on the things that increase our trust in you as someone who knows what you are talking about and who can also solve our problems.
I wrote an about page for a client's social media marketing blog. He also happens to be founder and president of Social Media Club Seattle, which gives him huge amounts of added credibility in his blog niche. So try to pick the things that are relevant to your business, your services, your blog.
5. Write in your own unique voice.
Show us some of the personality that makes you unique. I close my about page with 7 things you'd probably rather not know about me but I'm going to tell you anyway. At first glance, they may seem to be unrelated, but they do two things: They reflect my ever-present sense of humor and show my love of language, words and writing.
I'm a writer and blogging coach, so the facts that I've written three unpublished middle grade novels, I can say "Four knives will be sufficient' in Swahili and I wanted to be an interpreter at the United Nations when I was in third grade connect with who I am today.
Use these five tips to spice up your about page. And if you think you need some help with that, I'm here.