Blog Log #12: Is Your About Page Living Up To Its Purpose?

Nubby Twiglet | Blog Log: About Page

Is your about page conveying the story that you want it to? And more importantly, is it resonating with your readers? Mine wasn’t.

Up until a year ago, I never realized the power an about page held. Mine was decent on the surface but internally, I knew it was lacking across the board. For many of us, talking about ourselves and playing up our strengths in tidy little paragraphs can seem downright weird. Instead of coming across as proud and well-earned, it can feel more like flat-out boasting. And for the most part, none of us want to be that person. Yet, I knew that after launching Branch in September, it was time to own who I was and get over the awkwardness of talking about myself. I carefully tightened up my bio once again, mostly outlining my professional accomplishments.

Then, something happened — eerily similar emails kept popping into my inbox from new readers. A large chunk of my blog’s traffic is from creatives who are in college or entering their first professional jobs and they were essentially asking me, “How’d you do it?” They wanted to know how I’d gotten to where I am now but when I read back through my newly slick bio, it was leaving a lot out. It may have focused heavily on my accomplishments and been high on aspiration but the details of how I got from point A to B had been cut.

When it comes to your about page, there’s nothing wrong with being polished and professional but looking back, I feel like I’d fallen victim to the the marketing and PR machine — I am constantly absorbing the stories of people I admire in magazines and the intros usually focus on the present and how wonderful their existence is right now. Very rarely do they pull back the curtain and share their ups and downs, their personal struggles and their biggest failures along the way. And if we’re being honest, this missing piece is what we want to hear most because it’s what makes them human and relatable.

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As I sat with my bio a little longer, I realized how many misconceptions I’d built up. In a way, I took it for granted that most of my readers had been with me for the long haul, since way back in 2007 when I launched this incarnation of my blog. Every few months, I’d been polishing up my about page to reflect the current me but not talking about any of the details of how I evolved and became who I am. I was stripping out the old and slipping in the new. I was missing the big picture: we don’t just become who we want to be overnight; a whole lot happens in between. Our past heavily influences our present and we shouldn’t discount that.

Think about your own About page: if a reader is dropping in now and just discovering you, they’ll see something very different than if they’ve been following you for a few years. We all have to start somewhere and I am guilty of clicking into a fabulous about page or portfolio and thinking, “I’ll never be good as them.” But then, sometimes I unearth glimpses of a creative’s past and realize that they’re just like me. They had to start somewhere.

About pages are incredibly powerful and if you don’t take the time to tell your own story, chances are that no one else will, either. It’s up to us as bloggers to own our stories and to get comfortable with sharing them. After all, our personal experiences are what differentiate us from everyone else. I’m still reworking my about page to be the best it can possibly be but in the meantime, it’s already an improvement from where it was. Baby steps.

How do you feel about your about page? Is it conveying what you want it to? Is it resonating with your readers?


Photos: Made U Look Photography.
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19 Responses to Blog Log #12: Is Your About Page Living Up To Its Purpose?

  1. Francine says:

    For me, my about page was easy because it basically defines the name of my blog, but I definitely agree with you on the importance of it. I’ve ended up on many blogs where I’d read a post or two and then want to hear the whole story and get some background so I’d click “about.” Many times I would end up disappointed. A sarcastic sentence or two just trying to be funny, or a couple of random, irrelevant facts that have nothing to do with the blog (“I love my hubby and I’m a chocoholic!”). I would just click away and normally not return because it’s like…who ARE you and why am I here?

  2. Allison says:

    This eloquently sums up my recent thoughts about “about pages.” I’m in the process of redesigning + rebranding my web presence as a freelancer and keep getting stuck on that about page! It’s so important to let yourself shine through but that get often gets lost in stiff copy – or sometimes worse – silly copy that takes away credibility.

    I also have been interested in about page photography. As someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy being in front of the camera, I’ve been collecting cool examples of others way to introduce yourself without a straight up head shot.

    Great post – have this bookmarked to reference!

  3. Explorista says:

    I agree with you, and I’m quite content with the structure of my About-page. My about-page starts with a scene (where I describe the moment I realized I needed to change my life and how my blog started), the main character (which is about me, who I am, what I like and what I do) and then my blog (where I share what my aim for my blog is and what I do on it). I had written quite a few drafts, but this is the one I feel comfortable with as I feel it shares my story and who I am in a quick and engaging way. :)

    Nothing worse than a bad about page IMO. It can pull me over the line if you blog hasn’t already, or completely turn me off..

  4. Lilly says:

    I totally still need to re-write my about page. It’s the one thing I haven’t gotten too since the Portland Blogcademy. I don’t know why it’s so daunting, but it has been on my mind lately,so thanks for the reminder!

  5. Lauren says:

    I know my About Me is awful, I need to re-write it but the blog is only in it’s infant stages and I’m not sure if I’ve found my voice yet. I feel as though by the end of this year I will feel more confident in my writing and be able to pump out something semi-decent!

    Also, I found a great tip for writing an about me; getting dolled up! Nothing makes me feel more confident and willing to talk about myself than when I’m feeling good about my hair/makeup and clothes :)

    • Shauna says:

      Lauren: First off, I’m so glad we finally got to meet last week! Writing a full-blown bio can feel so daunting (I don’t know why talking about ourselves is so hard!) but having something up there is better than nothing. It’s a constant evolution and never truly finished. It’ll be interesting to see how yours progresses!

  6. Alana Wimmer says:

    Love this post, Shauna. Updating my About page is still on my to-do list after Blogcademy, and this is exactly the path I want to go down – to tell a story rather than just list accomplishments. Thanks :)

    • Shauna says:

      Alana Wimmer: It’s so easy to procrastinate on polishing up our about pages — I did for about two straight years until we kicked off The Blogcademy and I needed an updated version for the workbook! Writing down our own story seems like it should be easy but I’ve struggled to get mine right for a long time. It’s only now that mine is starting to feel like me.

  7. giulia says:

    i am writing my college essays right now. and in some way, they are like an about page for what the admission office is about to see (gpa, scores, activities and all that fun stuff).

    i am dying. i cannot talk about myself. i want to tell them everything i’ve done but i don’t want to sound pretentious. i have a thousand people commenting it and giving me “advice”. it kills me! it’s crazy how bad of a writer i am when i am trying to write something because i have to.

    after tons of drafts, i went to look at my blog for inspiration. my about page comes from a random day of inspiration and, curiously enough, most of my essay now comes directly from that!

    • Shauna says:

      giulia: Writing about ourselves is one of the hardest exercises! Finding inspiration from your about page for your professional essays sounds like it worked out perfectly because you were probably relaxed and being true to who you were in that moment — that can be hard to achieve when the pressure’s on.

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  10. I wish I had things to brag about! Unless you count galavanting all over the world avoiding responsibility in between crippling bouts of depression which meant no blogging or DOING life, then I’m not sure I have much of a professional story. I’ve recently moved my site over to a more magazine theme website and less about me, so I’m ok with keeping the info about me brief now whereas before I maybe said too much (I’ve had an extremely varied and unconventional life). I agree tho, the About page is a constant work in progress!

  11. Ren says:

    Yes and no. It’s telling people the basics of what I’ve done over the last several years, but doesn’t go much in the way of explaining who that person is. I guess I feel like my blog already does the brunt of the work in that sense, so I just give a skeletal overview in my about page. However, I will admit that your post has me thinking of revising it.

  12. Veronica says:

    At the moment, I’m rebuilding, re-designing and later to re-launch/invent my blog. And one of the things I’ve never been happy about is my about page. I find it so incredibly hard to write about myself, it makes me cringe. But I’m trying to get over it now, to be less of a wuzz and dare to share and be unapologetically me – and my about page is a great place to start to write something that manifest that new beginning but also what I want to be in the future.

  13. Hello Shauna, this is a really interesting post…I’ve recently been told I need to make my about page a bit more pithy. I’ve no idea what that really means so I’m going to take it that it means what you’ve said above!

    I’m a mum blogger, so it is personal, much like NubbyTwiglet. I was just interested to know why you chose to write your about page in the third person? Does this work across the board or do you think it works for you because although this is a personal site, you are also showcasing your achievements as a branding (amongst many other things!) expert. I’m just a mum and I’m surely no expert at that! But I do want to appeal to media, potential advertising, sponsored posts, etc.

    many thanks! hxx

    • Shauna says:

      Hannah Parker: The first half is more conversational and the equivalent of a quick hello whereas the second half of my about page is in third person so that it can be copied and pasted for press features. Each paragraph is set up to stand on its own depending on the length needed for a feature.

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