*This article originally appeared on Sohuis.com.*
Writing your own about page is trying to show someone you’ve just met…
- how amazing you are (while not sounding full of yourself)
- what your business does (as succinctly as possible without being reductive)
- why they should trust you (enough to give you money)
- that even though you’re talking about yourself right now, you really do care about them
- and, lastly, something personal about yourself (that’s likeable and true and not too personal)
—oh, and through all of this, you must make sure what you’ve said didn’t go on too long nor cut off too early.
Phew, no wonder we freeze up when we get the keyboard. Writing about ourselves is completely, absolutely nerve-wracking.
A lot of people I know have hated the idea of writing an about page so much that they… just didn’t. Their about “page” is a sentence long. But that doesn’t demonstrate confidence in their business or themselves.
Other business owners may have an about page written, but they feel a trickle of embarrassment whenever they think about their about page, hear their bio read aloud on a podcast, or direct someone to their website.
In this article, I’m explaining how to write an about page for yourself that doesn’t leave you feeling frustrated—or cringey.
A solid third of what I do for my copywriting clients is write their about page, so you can trust me when I say: Yes, everyone is unique. But there are some things that just work when it comes to about pages.
So, if you follow these strategies, you’ll wind up with an about page that does everything it’s supposed to and doesn’t make anyone (yourself included) cringe.
Ask yourself why people are visiting your about page.
How do you write an about page that’s about you but doesn’t feel totally self-absorbed? Write it like you know why people have clicked to read it, and give them the answers they’re looking for.
The “why” depends on the flow of your website and the type of business you run. However, there are some common reasons why people click over to your about page that apply to most businesses:
They want to trust you.
They’ve read your home page, and now they want added proof that you’re a real company or person and that you’ve got a credible story to prove it.
They want to feel like they know you.
This is especially relevant for service-based businesses or for one-person businesses. People don’t want to pay for a one-on-one service unless they’ve got an idea of what you’re like as a person.
They want clarity/the overarching theme.
If you offer a lot, do a lot, sell a lot, or have a multi-faceted business, then people may be seeking the through line. What is it that you’re “really” all about?
They want to feel a connection.
If you’re in the business of personal services (graphic design, hair styling, ghostwriting), or you sell a personal product (art, curated subscription service), then people are seeking something beyond the main benefit they’re getting from your offering. They want to feel like you “get” them (and vice versa).
Reiterate what you do, what your company is about, or the reason people should choose you.
A lot of people immediately jump into the “Hello! I’m Krista,” or “This is our story,” portion of the page, introducing themselves right away.
However, it’s a good idea to quickly recap the Big Thing you do (ideally in a simple headline). This does a couple things for visitors:
Orients people who have clicked on the about page first.
Sometimes Google slaps your about page up there first when people search for you or your company. Make sure that visitors are getting the right idea if this happens.
Nails home the thing you want people to remember.
Tell people your biggest point multiple times throughout your site, including on the about page. People visit so many websites (including those of your competitors) that it can all get a bit jumbled. So, tell them, tell them, tell them—in different words, please, though.
Creates consistency through your site, which builds trust.
If the message on your about page is only an introduction to you or your company’s origin story, it can be a little jarring for people. A quick headline to remind them that, yes, this is the same website is all you need.
Don’t talk about your credentials or degrees, but do talk about your story.
The word “story” is thrown around so much that it was painful for me to write that sentence. But beyond the buzzword, people seriously need something to latch on to—most often, a story.
They’re not going to remember that you went to UCLA. They will remember that you started your business to pay your way through graduate school, though.
The only exception to this rule is if your degree or credential is super relevant or required in your field. For example, you’re a business consultant with an MBA, or you’re a massage therapist who’s licensed.
Here’s why telling your story works:
You’ll seem like a real person or your business will feel more down to earth.
A story has ups and downs, and people like seeing that you’ve experienced a few challenges (and overcome them!).
It gives people context for your business.
It’s kind of unnerving when you can’t place a business in space or time. Did this business just appear out of nowhere?
It’s a way to help people get to know you and trust you without explicitly stating things about yourself.
Your website is not your dating profile, and it is weird to say that you’re “outgoing, risk-taking, and from Oregon.” Your story can convey all this in a way that feels way more natural.
Leave them wanting more—and then give it to them.
Anything over 200 words about yourself (or your business’s origin story) is going to look like a lot of text in a single section on your web page. But is 200 words really enough for your story section to accomplish everything you want it to?
For some readers, yes. For others, not even close.
Readers who really want to vet the person or company before they make any purchase need more from you than a canned 200 words. And you don’t want to risk turning these people off, because often they’re the sort that will stick with something once they know they like it. Lifelong customer? Repeat client? Yes, please.
So, here’s what to do to not annoy everyone but also provide enough information that will satisfy even the most stalkerish of readers: Write a short version of your story for the main webpage. Then link to a separate, longer version either in a new window or as a hidden drop-down section.
Your about page doesn’t look cluttered with text (which is daunting for readers).
You won’t scare off the casual browser with an epic of a story.
Everyone gets the highlights.
The short version on your about page is a skeleton of your longer version, telling all the need-to-knows, the most compelling parts. No one leaves not knowing at least the basics of who you are.
Those who need more to feel comfortable can access it right there.
Instead of having to embark on their own research journey (scrolling through your Instagram or seeing what’s been said about your company by other people), the real story is right at their fingertips.
A truly great about page is priceless.
You can repurpose pieces of the content for bios, introductions, and other marketing materials. You can feel confident that the person you met at that networking event will get the exact right idea about your business from your website. You’ll reel in those leads and customers who needed something beyond your home page to feel good about giving you their money.
For me, nailing my about page was about getting to control the narrative. I’m the type of person that really cares what people think about me and my work. I work hard at my craft, and it’s important that everyone who looks me up knows that.