When I land on an interesting blog site, I always look for the About link – and I click it. Rather than to read several blog posts to find out about the blogger, I hope to find some insight on their About page. If the blogger is friendly and appears approachable, I’m more likely to read some posts and follow.
Ruth Ann Nordin recently posted a link to an article entitled, Top 10 Self-Sabotaging Mistakes of Author-Bloggers. I was sure I would find ten more things I wasn’t doing right, but I was pleasantly surprised. Other than no twitter handle, because I don’t tweet, my biggest mistake was my About page. I had nothing on it other than one lousy sentence. I should have known better from my own blog-hopping habits.
In addition to the tips and information the article put forth, I did a little research on how to make the best of your About page. As with many blogging topics, the viewpoints can be subjective, and the pointers for a commercial business vary quite a bit from what I’m putting forth here. My comments are in parenthesis:
Per Google Analytics, your About page is one of your most highly-trafficked pages.
People can’t resist clicking the About page. They want to know who you are and what you are about.
It’s ok to have fun on your page.
Keep your first paragraph short. One to two lines – lines, not sentences.
Tell a good story. A good story hooks them every time.
Use a good photo of yourself. (I’m on the fence about this one. I don’t need to see what someone looks like to want to follow their blog or read their books. There are a couple of not-so-good photos of me floating around out there, but I’ll wait until I really need author headshots to post a good photo to my page. … A little positive thinking there!)
Post contact information. If you’re not including a way for people to contact you outside of the comments section, you may be missing opportunities. (In an effort to keep spam down, I’ve avoided putting my email address out there. I’ve probably kept questions and fan mail down, too.)
Your About page can bring more readers AND more sales. (I’ll take both, please.)
Write in your own voice. Don’t try to sound like a press release.
Be consistent with your voice. Being upbeat and witty on your blog will have been for naught when someone clicks on your About page and finds it crumbly-dry and boring.
Tell why you are blogging. Do you specialize in a particular subject, or do you cover a variety of topics? Who are you hoping to reach? Your blog will be defined here as one of primarily offering information, help, or a more personal blogging experience.
Show your books. Include a synopsis for each, and have a link for purchase. Viewpoints vary for this suggestion. Some say your books and links should be visible with every post, others say they should be on your About page, while even others suggest a separate page for your books. (My books are on my home page, and they are now on my About page. I don’t want them showing up in every post; my header makes it pretty clear I have books.) You should, of course, choose what feels right for your blog.
Don’t post your resume. Keep your bio short utilizing one focused paragraph. It is ok, however, to additionally talk about achievements and publications.
Backlink. If you have posts you’re particularly proud of because they’ve received tons of comments, or they are just plain wonderful, list them on your About page. (This is a good idea, especially for your Freshly Pressed posts.)
When someone leaves, they should have an idea as to who you are as a person.
I now have a squeaky new About page. I tried to follow some of the pointers – two lines to start, tell a story, why I’m blogging, about my family, contact email, and I shared enough about my books to, hopefully, entice a few new readers.
Let me know if there was anything helpful to you here. Will you be making changes to your About page? Or will you be making your first About page? Was I the only person at WordPress who didn’t utilize the About page?