How do I write an About Me page?

I’ve been working with a company this month doing blogger outreach for a project. Part of my job is to vet blogs and determine their audience, their traffic, and whether they’re a good fit for this particular project. Having spent several hours reviewing blogs in several markets, I’ve come to a conclusion: We all need to work on our About pages.

What is an About page?

Your About page is a page that explains who you are, what your blog is about, and how to contact you. If someone is new to your blog, they’ll most likely click on your About page to find out more information. Likewise, if you’re passing out business cards at an event or conference, when people return home and check out your blog, they’ll likely click on your About page first just to get a feel for who you are.

These days a blogger can’t ignore her About page. It’s your online resume of sorts; your virtual “How do you do?” Whether you’re using your blog as a way to attract PR and marketers, a resource for your new book, a way to attract publishers, or just as a hello to new visitors, you need to put some time and effort into this page.

Lani Rosales writes a blog aimed at realtors, AgentGenius.com, and has written an article with an example of a bad About page (generic and impersonal) and then offers a few examples of better About pages (really focusing on the “you” of the blog). Her examples cut across niches and are relevant to all blogs. She explains why About pages are so important:

“A frequent offense we witness with bloggers is an outdated, useless, lame or ugly “about” page. When people visit websites, a shortcut for their getting to know you is to click on your “about” button, so this is your opportunity to capture them. Your about page needs to be catchy and capture the essence of who you or your company is, it should contain some sort of contact information and it should be like a handshake at a party with a quick introduction as to who you are and what you do.”

What should a basic About page include?

Don’t groan and tell me you don’t know what to write about yourself. I’m not buying it. You just wrote an entire blog about yourself; now we just have to pare it down a bit.

  • A picture of yourself. Including a picture helps your readers connect with you on a more personal level.
  • An overview of what your blog is about. Share your elevator pitch (the short explanation of what your blog is about) and then expand the explanation. This is the perfect opportunity for you to explain why you’re different from the other bloggers who write in your niche. What makes you special?
  • Contact information. People are going to want to know how to contact you. Your e-mail address should be prominently displayed on your sidebar and in your About page. If you’re worried about bots harvesting your e-mail and using it for spamming purposes you can make it harder for those bots by using a modified version of it (e.g., melanieDOTnelsonATbloggingbaiscs101DOTcom; most people are web savvy enough by now that they understand the DOTs and AT should be replaced with a period and the @ symbol) or making a graphic with your e-mail address on it (like a button). Including contact information is particularly important if you’re hoping to be contacted by marketers wanting you to review their products. Don’t bury your e-mail address inside the page either, make it as prominent as you can.
  • Interesting information. When writing about yourself, it may be hard to determine what to share and what not to share. Since this decision will largely depend on you, your readers, and the goal of your About page, my advice to you is make it interesting. If it’s not interesting or funny, people won’t read it.
  • Your goals. This can be your goals for your blog, your short- or long-term goals for your life (if it’s related to what you blog about), or just the goal of the About page (to introduce yourself or encourage people to contact you or whatever).
  • Whether you’re interested in being contacted by PR or marketing people. These days many bloggers are very interested in working with PR or marketing people. There are still those who aren’t. Make it easy on yourself (and the marketer) and share what you are or are not interested in. If marketers can readily see that you are a good fit for their product, they’re more likely to contact you. On the flip side, if you’re not interested in working with marketers, let them know it.

What shouldn’t your About page include?

Although you want your readers to gain an understanding of who you are and what you’re writing about from your About page, you don’t want to lay it on too thick. Your About page should be concise. Don’t include

  • Your list of 100 things. This is a cop-out and is in no way to be considered a form of the About page. It’s too long and it’s usually not interesting to anyone but your closest friends (who already know those 100 things). If you can pare this down to about 25 things and make them incredibly interesting you may be able to get away with it.
  • Your life history from birth to now. As a reader, I’m only interested in what you’re doing now. Unless your childhood is directly relevant to your blog niche (a bird pecked my ear when I was 8, now I can’t hear and I write a blog for the hearing impaired), don’t include it.
  • Irrelevant information. Which is just another way to say keep it short and simple.

Ideas for customizing your About page

As I mentioned above, your About page can be used for many purposes. Therefore, you’ll want to consider what additional information you can include pertaining to that purpose. Here are few examples you can consider:

  • Purpose: I want to establish myself as an authority in my niche. Include links to online interviews or include video if you have it. Link to articles you’ve written at other sites. Include a few quotes from people who have used your information.
  • Purpose: I want to speak at conferences or be a consultant. Include information about your experience and why a company would want to hire you. Tell them again what sets you apart from others in your niche.
  • Purpose: I want to find a sponsor to help defray my costs to an event. While you’ll want to reach out to companies individually with customized requests, it can’t hurt to include this information where people can find it. Include exactly what you’re looking for and what you’ll provide for the company in return. The more information you can give, the better.
  • Purpose: I want to work with marketers to host giveaways or provide reviews. Include a link to your disclosure policy and explain what types of products you’re interested in receiving and why (you don’t want to be pitched for baby food if you don’t have kids or if your kids are teens). Give an overview of your traffic statistics (e.g., I reach mostly women who are interested in teaching themselves about technology). You don’t have to give everything away (i.e., specific numbers or demographics), generalities are OK as long as they convey enough information to pique the visitor’s interest.

Examples

If you’re like me, seeing some examples of the end product can be helpful. I like to see what other people are doing. Mark Nutt wrote Best Practices For Effective Design Of “About me”-Pages and in it he provides screen captures of some truly interesting About pages. They’re sure to give you some excellent ideas.

A version of this article was posted at BlogHer.com.

26 Responses

  1. Jody Halsted August 3, 2009 / 9:37 pm

    Excellent info, as usual! I will pass it on- also as usual!

  2. Tanya Watson August 4, 2009 / 5:10 am

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been looking for a guide like this so I can finally make a decent “About Me” page. You gave some great idea starters.

  3. Rachel August 4, 2009 / 1:36 pm

    This is fantastic. Time to rewrite my page. =) I’ll be linking.

  4. Sharon August 5, 2009 / 7:41 am

    Terrific Advice! I’m going to be working on my “About” Page this week!! Thanks for the solid information.

  5. Melanie Nelson August 14, 2009 / 10:16 am

    RAnn–Thanks for the links! I’m glad you found the information worthy enough to pass on. I appreciate it!
    Melanie

  6. Blaine Bullman August 31, 2009 / 12:43 pm

    An absolute pleasure to read, great points and tips, what else can you ask for. This is great and timely advice as im just writing my about me page right now.Thanks again.

    Blaine

  7. Marc Bigbie October 29, 2009 / 6:30 am

    Great article, my only disagreement is on showing your email address, even if using “dot” and “AT.” People are writing smarter spiders that can read all of that nonsense so you will still get spam by writing this out the same as if you had written it properly, and it just looks unprofessional to write out melanieDOTnelsonATbloggingbaiscs101DOTcom.

    Every major blogging platform has some type of contact form that can be added to quickly give someone a way to email you AND be able to hide your email address from the spammers. You’ll never see a professional website writing out an email address, they will always have an easy to use contact form.

    I would also say to review your About page periodically and update it as needed to keep it up to date with the most current info. Things change and we tend to forget that we wrote our About page 2 years ago.

  8. Jenn@FFP November 13, 2010 / 11:26 am

    First off, great tips. I need to re-examine my about me page but some of the tips you mention seem to fit more into a PR/Disclosure type page. I’ve got an About My (or My Story) page and a PR/Disclosure page (yes the disclosure part is REALLY boring legalese but I don’t want the FCC on my tail). Wouldn’t is make sense to keep the two types of information separate?

    • Melanie Nelson November 16, 2010 / 5:46 pm

      Jenn, you make a good point. I think the answer to your question simply depends on how you want to present information and what makes sense for your blog. When I wrote this post, I had just worked on a campaign where I needed to find good blogs in specific areas to take part in a marketing campaign. I was looking for very specific information and not finding it. I think it makes sense to keep a disclosure page with boring language separate from your snappy About page, but not everyone has a legalese disclosure page.

      Another tip for the About page: use bullets and shorter paragraph with sub-heads. If your info is scannable, people can find what they need faster.

  9. misssrobin November 13, 2010 / 12:38 pm

    Thanks for the helpful tips. This is one area of my blog where I haven’t spent the necessary time to make it what I want it to be. This has given me the gentle push I need to get to it.

  10. Michelle Saunderson November 13, 2010 / 4:22 pm

    This is a great post. Now I have to go back and make a better About Me Page.

  11. Aimee @ Chickenville November 14, 2010 / 11:18 am

    I rewrote mine with these tips and would love for anyone to check it out and tell me what you think.

  12. Tania November 16, 2010 / 4:07 pm

    Hi, New to Blog frog and you are the first discussion i clicked on.. Very impressed!!! I will redo my about page and then link it up.. Great advise :0)

    • Melanie Nelson November 16, 2010 / 4:12 pm

      Tania,

      Thanks for stopping by! I wondered why this older post was getting so many comments suddenly! I see now that it’s on Blog Frog. :) Glad to have you visit!

  13. Miss Rhei December 4, 2010 / 3:43 am

    I’m on revamping my blog but too short on inspiration, ha-ha… Thanks to you for the tips in writing an about me page…. I got you not from blog frog (though I have an account) but from a blog who wrote and linked this page. Ain’t that great!? You were able to help a lot thru this. When I’m done with my about me page, I’m gonna write an entry and direct a link to this instruction. That’s for giving a whole new inspiration in blogging.

  14. MARLEY SIMONE January 17, 2011 / 12:20 pm

    This is valuable information. A friend of mine just passed along the content for her ‘About’ page and this article is helping my feedback to her. At first, I thought it was too long and it definitely needs to be more concise. Another important point that I took from this post is, ‘make it interesting’ and/or ‘funny.’

  15. Anon July 3, 2011 / 3:46 am

    it a great article it really help me a lot to enhance my about page

  16. Tiffany October 3, 2012 / 7:54 am

    I’m just starting out and am so happy to read all of these great tips. Thanks for providing them!

  17. eyewink December 10, 2012 / 10:27 pm

    Hey thanks. You page was the at the top of the search and it answered my question straight of the bat. You saved me from making an ugly mistake… Who the heck wants my life story anyway?!
    Thanks again. Nice post and straight to the point!

  18. Alethea January 21, 2013 / 8:20 pm

    I applied the information and examples used in this post to my blog. Thank you for such great information.

    Blessings~
    Alethea

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