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Are You Making These 7 Mistakes with Your About Page?

8 March 2012

From CopyBlogger:

[L]ots of website owners have an easier time proposing marriage than they do writing a solid About Page.

If that’s you, you’re probably overcomplicating things. A good About Page is simple, straightforward, and it communicates just a few key things.

But just because they’re simple doesn’t mean people don’t screw them up.

There are certain mistakes that I see again and again, on sites that deserve better.

. . . .

Mistake 1. You don’t have an About Page

You might have some interesting content, a nice custom-designed header, a sweet-looking premium WordPress theme.

What you don’t have is an About page.

It might be completely missing because you think “About Pages are a cliché.”

Or because you’re freaked out about creating an About Page, so you’re just hoping no one will notice it’s missing.

Or you might have called it something clever like “Experience” or “The Scoop” or “But Wait, There’s More!”

When it comes to the interface on your website or blog, never forget the words of usability expert Steve Krug: Don’t Make Me Think.

I don’t want to look at your “Resonate” page and wonder if that’s where I find out who you are, what you do, and why I should read your site.

Every site needs an About Page. Don’t be clever. Call it About.

Mistake 2. I can’t find your name

Let’s say I want to link to you, or tweet something cool on your blog.

I would really like to know who you are. That means I need your name.

Not a spammy name like “The Real Estate King.” (Please don’t comment under those either. You can’t believe how bad this makes you look.)

Your name. As in, “What I say when I am introducing you?”

Unless you are Madonna, you need a last name, too.

(Incidentally, if your name is Dave Smith or Cathy Johnson, try including your middle name to make yourself more memorable and to give you a decent chance to rank for your own name in search engines. It works for David Meerman Scott and Carole Sevilla Brown, and it can work for you. If your middle name is common too, find a family name to put in there.)

Please note that this does not have to be your real name. Some people would rather keep some distance from readers, for security reasons or just to have a little privacy. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Link to the other 5 mistakes at CopyBlogger

Passive Guy can’t tell you the number of times he has excerpted and linked to an author or editor blog and wanted to include the name of the author or editor, but hasn’t been able to find it at all or can locate only “Ruth” or “Steve” on the blog.

Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Social Media

11 Comments to “Are You Making These 7 Mistakes with Your About Page?”

  1. When I first put my toe in the internet pool I was afraid to use my real name or put any information about myself out there. Part of me was afraid of the great goblins of identity theft and part of me was afraid of judgement. That someone would see my comments/writing/blog and tell me I was wrong or bad or just be mean. But once I got my writing out of the closet and thought of it as a business, I realized I needed to put as much info as possible wherever I could.

  2. I check ‘About me’ pages for voyeuristic reasons mostly. Names or Pictures aren’t important. It is the blurb that is important. Make that interesting for the reader. I don’t care for boring pictures or names. A picture or a name don’t make me feel like I know the blogger better. Their blurb does.

    • For me, a good picture can add a small something, but a bad picture can subtract a large something.

      Pictures affect how I read what someone writes. A simple, professional picture may make think “Ok, this is a real person,” but other pictures make me read comments differently.

      There are four big problematic themes that I’ve seen. [I won’t name examples, natch.]

      The first is typically done by men and shall be referred to as webcam-in-the-man-cave. Self-explanatory.

      The second is typically done by women and shall be referred to as the trying-to-be-seductive. Self-explanatory.

      The third is typically done by men and shall be referred to as the which-end-has-the-problem. Guys tend to not be that good at faking a broad smile. In headshots where they have an obviously fake smile, I tend to think that it looks like a high school boy on his first date. They’re going to be sick, one way or the other. Or they look like they’re offering candy in front of a rusted van.

      The fourth is typically done by women and shall be referred to as the oh-do-I-have-a-visitor-come-a-calling. This shot is the well-dressed woman in a solarium, leaning back on a divan, and looking off at something in the distance. A similar shot is taken outside, often by a tree. Like the photographer just interrupted an aristocratic lady’s afternoon constitutional.

      I see the first two being less-than-professional. The first three cause me to be a little less trusting of what they say. The last one adds a note of haughtiness or superiority to the blog posts.

      But maybe I’m just too easily swayed by visual cues.

  3. Would that include a certain IP lawyer who has an about page that doesn’t have his name, and only recently added a useful link to his professional site? 🙂


  4. Here’s one the article didn’t mention, but I would add after an afternoon spent tracking down 60+ personal website emails for a real-job project: PUT YOUR CONTACT EMAIL ON YOUR ABOUT PAGE IF YOU LIST IT ON YOUR WEBSITE.

    It would not have occurred to me before today to do this (and so I just corrected on my own blog…haven’t gotten do on the official AKA rarely updated website, d’oh!). See, I figured anyone who wanted to email me would be perusing the whole site. NOT SO. If someone is in a hurry and trying to track down your contact, you need to have either a clearly delineated contact page or put your contact at the very bottom of your About page. If it’s in a sidebar somewhere, fine, leave it, but the obvious place when someone is hitting page after page after page is About (barring a separate Contact page).

  5. For some reason, when people sit down to write an About Page, everything they know about creating interesting content suddenly flies out the window.

    ^^^ I have experience with that statement. At some point I decided to take overhaul my ‘About’ page but came up with nothing imaginative and ended up deleting half of it. This has left me with a small map, an arrow, three words, FB and twitter links and a list *sung in a Julie Andrews voice* of my favourite things. I had intended to go back later and fix it somehow. I’m not sure how though o.O

    • Agreed. I can’t remember the last time I wrote an author bio or “about” page and filled it with anything other than, “[I am] a [artist & writer – with the roles reversed depending on the website] living in the South-Eastern United States. I also hate writing bios.”

      And just as I reach for submit I remember when the last time I did write something other than that. Here.

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