For a week now WordPress has been leaving me a little reminder at the top of my dashboard to write my “About” page. I don’t want to write this page, because it’s apparently one of the most important pages for a blog. It’s what most readers use to figure out whether or not a blog is worth reading or exploring further. It’s the bait, and right now I have no idea what kind to use. Or even what I’m fishing. Do blog readers count as metaphorical trout or metaphorical humpback whales?
I did write the page, and it’s really short and is definitely a work in progress. At least it’s there. (This is what happens when you ask God for more paying work. He gives it to you and then you have no time to write About pages.)
It is my plan to fix the page up and polish it. (When it gets really nice I’ll link to it in a post so you can see it.) For now, though, I’ll summarize the basics as I’ve learned them.
- This page is my bait. It is the most read page on the whole blog, and when the blog gets too long for people to read the whole thing to figure you out (which does not take very long because people get bored easily) this page will provide a handy summary which will tell people if they’ll want to read the rest of the blog.
- Make it about the readers, not myself. The page is a marketing tool, so while it should contain information about me so they’re informed, it also needs to explain why they personally should care about this strange person on the internet.
- Include the practical stuff somewhere. It doesn’t have to be the first thing on the page (and it probably shouldn’t be if I want it to be interesting and eye-catching), but I need to have things like contact info, subscribe buttons, and a statement somewhere about how often I’ll blog and what it’ll be about.
- Use it to demonstrate my writing style and the tone of the whole blog. It’s my biggest advertisement, so I want it to be highly polished but also demonstrating the kind of content available in my blog.
- Include examples. Since it’s a writing blog that also covers my fiction work occasionally, having a few samples of that writing available for any hapless agents who meander my way is a good idea. It’s also important to include my accomplishments. This page is not the place to be modest, but honest. If you did something relevant, include it! It’s not unlike a resume.
- Put some personal details in. The top of the page is for luring people in with tone and content and cleverness and fun stuff. The bottom is for the boring/practical stuff that connects people to the blog. The middle part should include something about me. It is, after all “about me” (even if I’m supposed to come up with something way more witty than that as a title). Since this is my personal site, it needs to include some things about myself so my readers can get to know me, and thus encourage them to contact me so I can get to know them.
- It’s different for a blog than a service. Not all of the sites I looked at where entirely relevant to my query, because some of them were focused more on websites that advertised a service or were for a company. A blog is a slightly different animal, and has slightly different rules, but there was still helpful information.
- Don’t forget about the hook! If I have to spend days writing the first part of the page, then so be it, because apparently it’s worth it. It could very well be the first thing that people read on my blog, so it’s as important that it’s the very best hook it can be. And I know we all know what a hook is, because it’s the first thing anyone teaches you when you write an essay or a story or an ad or anything.
That’s what I learned. The points are in no particular order, and I haven’t exactly applied them yet, but I will. These aren’t rules, but rather suggestions for polishing one of the most read pages on a blog. Use them how you will.
Here’s the articles I looked at when I was puzzling through my “About Me” page. (Or you can google “blog about page” and go with the top four results. That works too.)