If you’re like I was, you’ve been assuming falsely that all readers care about is your blog. After all, readers are one of the reasons we write, we want to tell a story, make a connection or share some value-added knowledge — but do your website’s analytics tell a different story? Sure, readers like content, but what I consistently found lurking in the top 10 for every statistical breakdown I glanced at — daily, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly — was my About page.
When I started to revamp my website two months ago, I kept this in mind. I studied the About pages of writers and entrepreneurs that I admired and respected. I wanted to see what they did to represent themselves. The more I researched, the more I saw a common thread. They used their About pages as a sales page. They sold themselves.
I was a member of BNI for five years (2007-2012) and one of the central tenets of the networking organization is that people don’t buy your products, they buy you. People buy from those that they know, like and trust. If you want your About page to become a conversion point to catapult you to your dreams, you have to eliminate three lies you tell yourself and stir in eight tips for crafting a page that best represents you.
[tweetthis]People buy from those that they know, like and trust.[/tweetthis]
3 Lies to Stop Believing
- I don’t know how to write about myself. You do and you can. This is a common objection among writers. The fix? Consider this: If you were contacted out of the blue by your dream publisher or had a dream opportunity presented to you and the agent or editor said, “We’ve heard great things about you. Where can I learn the most about you right now?” could you send them to your About page? You should be able to. Write with this scenario in mind or create your ideal scenario and write to it. I love how Lisa B. Marshall handles hers. On her website, she has her biographical information, then offers downloadable options. If you were visiting your website for the first time, what would you want to know? This page is your real sales page. Close the deal.
- Writing about myself is boastful. I find this to be more of a cultural flaw ingrained in us as Americans. We have this sense that we have to be humble all of the time. There is a time for humility and a time to market yourself. This is the latter. We want to publish that book. We want to have people follow our blog. We want to be paid to write. Only through telling others what we have done, what we are capable of doing, and what out goals are can we achieve this. Talk about your awards, your Amazon reviews, the publications you’ve written in, the memberships you hold, and the media coverage you’ve had. Your About page is the biggest credibility indicator you have. Use it.
- Readers don’t care about me. Check your analytics. You may be as surprised as I was when I saw that my About page was consistently ranking in my top 10 pages. Your readers want know you, they want to connect with you, and they want to be inspired by you. When I look at Jeff Goins‘ page, John Lee Dumas’ page, or Michael Hyatt’s page, I’m instantly inspired by their stories, I resonate with their entrepreneurial spirit, and I glean strength knowing that they started off in a place similar to me. As a result, I’m now buying products from them, I’m following them on social media, and with some people, like Kate Erickson, I have tweeted and emailed to ask advice — and she responds. Readers want to know you. Let them.
8 Tips for a Better About Page
Here are things I have found to be consistent across many websites of successful writers and entrepreneurs.
- They have a photo. Be visible. If you don’t like any of your photos, schedule to have a professional portrait taken. If you can’t afford to do so right now, have a friend take a nice picture of you. Don’t let vanity create a disconnection between you and your readers, or you and a possible opportunity. A photo increases your likability.
- They get personal. Let readers know about your life. Share your personal preferences, your hobbies, your favorite things, your struggles (if applicable). Being transparent makes it easier to know you and trust you.
- They want to connect. The relational savvy know that readers want to connect with them on their social channels. So they make their links visible and invite following. You should, too. I use Twitter for connecting and content sharing, Instagram to show my passion for writing and life, and Pinterest to share my interests professional and personal interests. Use social media to give readers a complete view of you. It helps them to feel like they know you.
- They share their passion. Tell readers why you write, what you write, what drives you, and why you’re here to help and how you’ll help.
- They call you to action. If you want readers to subscribe, or if you want to offer them a promotion, do it on this page. The best aren’t afraid to call their readers to action, and in many cases, the reader wants more. This is a great place to make an offer for a free tipsiest, guide, or a sample chapter. You have to A-S-K to G-E-T, so don’t be afraid to encourage action.
- They guide you. Direct readers to where you want them to go next by linking to places of interest on your site. You can link to a resume, link to your services, link to you most popular posts, link to free downloads, link to your Amazon books page, and link other places on your site that will benefit your readers.
- They embed a video: Welcome the reader with a video. Use this to share more of your personality with the reader.
- They embed a podcast/audio file: If you’re not the type to show a video, or are just too shy, offer an audio file. While these don’t get the traction of video, it’s still a nice option to use. Podcasts are wildly popular now. Use your website to cross-promote and add subscribers.
I hope that you can begin to see why this is the most important page on they website after your home page. Be sure to keep it updated and handle it with care. What are some interesting elements you’ve seen on an About page?
Photo: Mathias Rosenthal