Ok, so maybe “killer” is stretching it a bit. I don't claim to be the end all, be all when it comes to writing an About page.
But, I have seen plenty of About pages that suck (as in I as a potential reader have hated them) and I have seen a lot of interaction (or not) through tracking what folks are doing on them across various sites I either own, have owned or have consulted with as a marketer.
WHY YOU NEED AN ABOUT PAGE
If you're a blogger with a blog then you need an About page. Why? For me, it boils down to two main reasons – legitimacy and “why the hell should I care what you have to say?”.
With the millions of fake, spam blogs on the Internet today, an About page is the quickest way for your (potential) reader to decipher whether you as a human being are actually real.
Additionally, my first question when I land on a blog that offers me information, education or – most importantly for affiliates – advice on products is “Why should I trust what you have to say?”. Your About page is the chance for you to answer that question – one your potential reader is already asking without contacting you to do so.
With my current design, over 13% of the all the clicks from the Sugarrae homepage go to my About page. It's the second most clicked link (second to my consulting link) on my homepage (which is the #1 overall visited single page of my site).
My About page also accounts for about 2% of my total overall site traffic… when you consider I have hundreds of posts – most of which generate great individual traffic – that's not an insignificant number.
Creating your About Page
I'm going to here on what I've found that works for me.
Whether you write your About page in the first person or third person is up to you – I've seen both styles work depending on the blog. The Sugarrae About page is written in the first person.
As I say about almost all advice I give – you need to test and tweak based on your own results. Different niches may have different nuances – but I've found the below to work fairly well across the board.
Honestly? In my opinion, your About page isn't about you per se… it's about answering questions potential readers are asking themselves about you in their head.
“What's in it for me if I read this site?”
What can you teach the potential reader? How do they benefit from following your blog? I don't care if you offer business advice, crafting tips or funny stories about surviving fatherhood – but this is your chance to tell the reader what they can expect from your content and why they should want to read it on the regular. And why your blog is different than the hundreds or thousands of others out there on the same topic.
“What makes YOU someone I should listen to on this topic?”
Why are you qualified to write on your chosen topic? What experience do you have with the topic? If your blog is about couponing, this is your chance to brag about some of the killer steals and deals you managed to achieve through doing it. As an SEO and affiliate, I obviously focus on sharing my experience and recognitions in both fields. Blogging about shoes because you're addicted to them? This is your chance to show them that you literally have 200 pairs of shoes.
“Where else online can I validate your claims about who you are and what you know?”
Ok, so you've told me what your blog can do for me and why you're qualified to help me on the topic. But how do I know you're not simply making it up? This is your chance to show them where you exist outside of your own bubble (your blog). Social profiles, links to posts you've done on other blogs, news or press mentions – anything that backs up that you're a real person with real knowledge to share on whatever the topic at hand is.
“I get who you are professionally, but who are you as a PERSON?”
Some people want more information than simply knowing who you are in a professional or topical light. They want a little peek at the actual person behind the “persona” so to speak. Where did you grow up? What are you hobbies outside of the blog topic? Anything about you personally that stands out or makes you who you are. You might be surprised at what simple personal details people “connect” with. That said? Unless your blog is about religion or politics, I'd stay away from those two topics. But that's just me.
“What do you look like?”
Put a picture on your About page. People want to know what you look like. Could you imagine reading a novel by John Grisham that didn't contain any descriptions of the characters within it for you to form a mental picture as you read? Unless you'd like to describe yourself in extreme written detail (I'm being a smart ass, don't do that), a picture allows people to have a face to put with your words. Additionally, pictures serve to make your page – and you as a blogger – more authentic.
“Is this someone I want to be like?”
This last question is NOT one you should directly address or even attempt to address. And I'm not saying people read your bio page deciding whether or not to suddenly go Single White Female on you. Or that they actually want to be “just like you” or love every single thing about you.
I'm saying that people typically follow a craft blog because they want to be able to make the kick ass crafts that you do and have them look like yours, LOL. People – in my experience – follow my blog because they either like me as a person or want to have the same success I've been able to achieve in my career. They follow a fashion blog because they want their looks to be as “put together” as those of the author. They follow a social media blog because they want to have the same huge followings the writer does.
There is an important distinction between someone finding your blog, reading a post and leaving vs. someone finding your blog and subscribing to your feed or signing up for your mailing list. People who do the latter do so – in my experience – because something about who you are is something they are looking to develop in or achieve for themselves.
Keeping it real
Don't be tempted to craft an About page to resonate with the largest crowd or to portray yourself in a light you think people would “want” to see you in. I have much more respect for the blogger that shows obvious transparency than the one who tries to show a veiled personality.
I've said before and will likely say again – I'd rather have 10,000 readers than 100,000 subscribers. You may not be everyone's “cup of tea” but for those you honestly resonate with, you will likely be one of their favorites.