Your About Page isn't really about you, it's about your audience.
People are going to check you out before they decide to invest time or money into your business. They want to know what you can do for them right now. If you have an online business, whether you're supporting it through a blog or not, your need a solid About Page that's easy to find and targeted to your ideal client.
What About Bios?
This advice doesn't apply if you're not trying to sell products or services. If you have a website set up as a resume, you don't need an About Page, you need a Bio. If you're a performer for example, anyone visiting your site who is thinking about hiring you does want to know a little about you. They're going to make their decisions based on your talent and audition. Yes, you should keep those people in mind when you're writing your Bio - you don't want to include anything inappropriate - but you don't need to include everything that should be in a strong About Page.
How can you help your audience NOW?
If someone is interested in working with you, they will most likely read your About Page before making that decision. They want to get a feeling for who you are - your background, your experience, and if they can trust you. We all do this. We read about something and put in a lot of research before spending our money because we want to be sure that it's worth it.
When someone is going to give you their money (and possibly their time), they want to get rid of all the doubts and voices that are saying they can do it on their own or that you aren't trustworthy.
Your About Page is the place where you let people get to know you, but more importantly, let them get to know how you can help.
First, you need to make sure your About Page is directed to your target audience, your ideal client. You don't want to spend your time writing something that doesn't answer their questions or address their worries. Sure, people outside your target audience are going to read your About Page, but you need to tailor it to help you bring in the people you want to work with. It can turn away as many people as it attracts as long as it's attracting the right people.
Remember, your About Page isn't about you.
You want to start with "them." Address your audiences' concerns and answer their questions. The best way to do this is to listen to what they're asking. You can find this in your emails, on social media, pretty much anywhere your ideal client hangs out. Any time someone says that they'd love to work with you, but...is a great place to find the concerns you need to address.
I'd love to work with you, but I can't afford it right now.
I like your work, but I'm going to try doing it on my own.
Here's an easy way to set up your About Page in a way that address your audience and gives them a good idea of who you are and how you can help.
- Choose the biggest concern you hear and explain why it isn't true. Use positive language: "Trying to do it all on your own?" instead of "You've failed on your own."
- Tell them how you can help them with this problem RIGHT NOW. People don't want a solution that's going to take months of work. That's why so many people buy things from infomercials - they want the instant results. You want your audience to know that you understand their issue and know how to fix it: "Whether you’re working in a creative field or running your own business, you need to find what makes you unique and touches your audience."
- Introduce yourself. You want this to be brief, but still say a lot. Remember, you're still focusing on your audience, so you can include something fun, but you don't want a three paragraph bio of your life story. "I’m Samantha (also Sam, but never Sammy), a Pittsburgh native with North Carolina roots making my way south via Richmond, Virginia. I have a passion for helping creatives stand out online through a brand that reflects what makes them unique. I love God, ice cream, and tv shows that were canceled too soon."
- Now introduce your business. This should be brief as well. Tell them about any experience or education you have and why you started your business. Showing your expertise makes people comfortable with hiring you because they know you've done this work before. "A Clemson grad with an Architecture major, I started Lemon and the Sea because I longed to help other creatives struggling to stand out from the crowd."
- Go back to another concern. You should have at least two or three things you hear a lot that stops people from working with you, and you want to address the biggest ones as soon as they read this page. If someone has big concerns about working with you, they're not going to set up a call or email you - they'll just find someone else. You can't answer every question and concern here, but you should find the most common and dismantle them. "Tired of sending multiple emails to get a response from your web designer?"
- Every time you bring up a common concern, make sure you answer it. You don't want to leave them questioning how you're different from other designers - you want to tell them. When you bring up a concern, also include how you work differently so that your clients don't have that experience. "I only work with a few clients at a time, so you will get as much support and hand holding as you need through your branding and design process. I’m obsessive about answering emails, so you’ll get a response within 48 hours (usually sooner) to any questions or comments you have."
- End with your purpose. It's almost like the end of a letter - one you're writing directly to your target audience. Also, make sure you include your business name here so people are always reminded of who you are. "Yours for a creative process and website that rocks, Samantha of Lemon and the Sea."
Tips and Tricks
- You want your about page to be direct and to the point. No one wants to read three pages worth of information about your life when they're trying to decide if you're the right designer or coach for them.
- Let your personality shine through. This is true in all of your writing, but it's especially important here because this is where people are coming to get to know you. Don't be afraid to be yourself - yes, you're selling yourself and what you do - but you don't have to be salesy about it.
- Use this as a place to explain what you do that no one else can. You want to let your unique approach and special extras stand out here. If you focus on one-on-one time, let readers know that. If you specialize in working with certain people, put that on this page.
- When writing about yourself, share only what you're comfortable with. Your story greatly influences your business, but you don't have to put everything out there if you aren't okay with that. Your story should be about a what you learned and how you can help others because of it.
About Pages can be one of the toughest parts of your website to right because you have to talk about yourself. Just remember, that it's not really about you - it's about your audience. Another big thing, make sure your message shine through here just as it should in everything you do.