As I take my sweet time producing the Guidebook I am creating, Zen and the Art of Writing Your Website, it occurs to me that I have a lot of content I can share in the meantime. [Note from Faith: I’m not writing this anymore, I’ve partnered with Teresa from asimplerweb.com to create something even better, Make a Tiny Website]
If you were on my email list last December, you received a brief overview of the essential steps for crafting an About page that works wonders.
I don’t want you to use carbon copies of other peoples’ formulas, because you do need to distinguish your messaging and develop an authentic voice. Then again, I don’t want you to fret too much or for too long on this, especially if you’re in ready-to-launch mode.
Fretting and stalling = not so Zen.
What I do want is for you to create tight (or “just right”) copy with the essentials needed to interest, inform and inspire your readers. That combination results in something a little different for each of us depending on our topic, audience, products and more. So that’s why…
We’re Keeping it Zen
Let’s focus, and be mindful of our intentions.
Spend a day on your About page, following these basic guidelines. I bet it will turn out well.
You can keep track of how well it converts readers into subscribers or clients, and tweak it as needed over the course of time. That would contribute to The Art Part. So would aesthetics and structure. That’s why we like peeking at other samples. We can experiment. But we also need a benchmark.
For The Zen Part, get to writing and pull together a nice page of copy About you & your business. You will find these steps and tons more in the Guidebook I’m working on, due out this spring.
10 Steps to Start or Improve Your About Page …Today
1. A Classic: make your About page more about your readers/prospects than about you.
This is a page where people pursue a closer relationship with you online, early on. It is more than educational, it needs to establish a basis for trust as well as enthusiasm. Your readers might want to take it to the next level. They are looking for a reflection of themselves and their needs.
2. With that in mind, draft a reader-focused headline.
This is optional, but awesome if you do… if you don’t have one, try a quote or a question…and if you still can’t think of anything just right, go ahead and use “About Us” or similar, as a placeholder. Plenty of the big guys do that, too.
- Zenhabits.net begins the About page with a relevant quote.
- Marie Forleo’s About section covers her, the biz, and FAQs starting with an audience-focused question.
- Adelaide’s Cakes connects with a personal statement: Grandmom Adelaide is our inspiration!
3. Consider starting your About page with a story about the situation the audience finds themselves in.
It might be about you, but it needs to mean something to them. Try to demonstrate that you understand their mindset, hopes, and needs, right off the bat.
- Darren Rowse of problogger.net does this really well.
- On Social Triggers, we’re given a list of questions that serves this same purpose.
- We used that same kind of structure for the About page on my client’s site, Eat Move Be.
4. Connect what you know about your audience with what they want to know about you.
Related to number 3 above, but going a step further. Don’t stop at saying “We get you.” Show them how and why you can relate.
- Instead of an About page, Forty.co offers their Approach, revealing what it would be like to work with them.
5. Know the promise you make to your audience as you answer “What matters about me?”
The copy on your About page should satisfy your readers’ curiosity, and also respect their interest. Remember, they did click to learn more. Give them something beyond where you can be reached or how you like such and such so you decided to start a blog on it.
6. Answer “What matters about me?” with benefits copy that says “Here’s why you care.”
An example: something that matters about me to you, my audience, is that I’m an experienced copywriter with extensive background in marketing strategy… zzzz.
Why you care: I’ve seen a lot of action and have a lot of tricks up my sleeve, so I produce creative work that is spot-on for your needs, quickly.
7. Use your Voice and offer Validation.
Someone is getting to know you, making a decision about you. Be real. And be consistent with your other messaging. Let them know they can count on you. This part is super important, especially if you’re just starting out. So let’s focus even further in steps 8 & 9.
8. Voice: you’ve already established it in your messaging
…be true to it on your About page.
And if you haven’t found your voice yet, your About page is a great place to nail that down. A simple exercise to help define your voice is to personify your business and how it expresses itself. Pen to Zen speaks authentically, with the wise voice of understanding and experience.
I don’t have an official About page here on pentozen.com, but you can “hear” my voice on my Begin page (where more details about me is also located).
9. Validation: imagine a new neighbor checking out your page
…are you trustworthy, a pro, loved?
They call it social proof: if you have it, show it. Some would say flaunt it. I prefer humble enthusiasm so you don’t sound all “ain’t I sumthin?!” But it depends on what matters to your audience:
- Stats like on tumblr or
- Appearances like Marie Forleo shares or
- “You may know me from” examples, like on the epic /about page at my favorite hangout, fizzle.co [<referral link if you’re intereted] or
- “As seen on” buttons, images of awards, or links to you portfolio also work well here.
10. Ask them to sign-up or include another important call to action… but go easy. 2 is plenty.
About One Day’s Work…
A fun day spent on crafting an thoughtful About (or similar) page should do it. So do it!
If you’re Tony Robbins I guess you really don’t need one (I looked for an example–none found).
But for the rest of us, this page can be a direct path for converting site visitors into new fans and for finding your ideal customers.
PS: Sign up here to get the 50% discount when Make a Tiny Website is published. You’ll be able to elevate your small business with a nice little site, without a lot of hassle or expense!