Let’s talk about how to write your website about page, because I’m fresh off of my in-person mastermind retreat experience in Waco last week with 24 other amazing women with businesses—women who are clearly boss-status and killin’ it.
Yet, whenever we played the “how can you help me” question game, the point was made clear when it was my turn: about pages and bios, bios and about pages. That’s what they wanted help with.
For some reason, figuring out how to write our website’s about page or our bios tends to be our least favorite thing to draft, from my very scientific research of hearing the question all👏the👏time. I guess it feels a smidge icky touting accolades and credentials, leaving us feeling somewhere between a used car salesman or fake pageant queen.
But if our whole lives we’re conditioned to shy away from bragging, of course we feel slimy talking ourselves up—it only makes sense, right? “It feels strange to suddenly write a whole page on why your customers should think you’re so great,” Amy Porterfield said once on her podcast. True!
The way I think about it, your homepage may be the front porch and living room (“Come on in! Coffee? Champagne? Welcome to the party!”), but we all know everyone wants a peek at the kitchen, right? The kitchen is the heartbeat and the lifeblood of a home, just like your about page: it’s warm, authentic and shows visitors what you’re all about.
Now, the about page is no junk drawer or utility room, so don’t go giving away TMI or your whole story: proclaim just enough to give your reader reason to feel as if he or she has met you and that you could be friends … and that you’re worth the hire—which I’m explaining today.
In this post, I’ll talk through:
Data mongering aside—I’m talking about the Instagram tracking you’re measuring, the dollahs you’re putting into Facebook ads and counting click-through rates, the A/B split testing you’re doing on a new headline, and ALL the other marketing measuring you do in your creative small business—at the end of the day, it’s pretty simple.
People buy from people.
People buy from people they know, like, and trust.
Which they decide on your about page.
So why do we hate writing about pages?
I get asked often my top book recommendations for copywriters and creatives, and Influence by Robert Cialdini is in the top 3 round-up. An entire chapter is dedicated JUST to how likeability takes a toll on our minds.
(See related: heard the most interesting NPR “My Hidden Brain” episode the other day … did you know there’s an effect called “implicit egotism” that observes the likelihood of people to marry someone with the same birthdate as them, or appreciate works by people with similar names? I was rolling my eyes … ’til I realized Wes is an 11/16 birthday and I have a 6/16 birthday!)
In fact, according to this Nielson Norman study, having an about page where your clients get warmed up to you COULD help:
With that said, follow these steps you’ll be on your way to a better about page.
The most important thing that will always set you apart from others in your same line of work is your story: What’s at the heart-and-soul of your business? Why do you do what you do and who do you do it for?
Start there … and realize how this is the opposite of ego-puffery?
Think “why” … not “I.”
Your first sentence should be an attention-grabber that gives the reader a warm pat on the back and says, “Hey. You — I hear ya! I want to meet you where you are, because my passion is to serve people just like you.”
Quit bragging about your success (that comes later), and keep it client-centric.
Take this cue from Meet Edgar:
“We created Edgar so professionals could manage their social media with more consistency and in less time.”
A little wordy for my style, but nice on the “why” with Nisolo
You’ve likely heard the secret to about pages—they’re not really about you at all.
In true copywriting, the reader/client/customer is always the subject. Continue to speak to the reader, and write a next line that offers reassurance, telling him or her that they’re in the right place.
Here are some examples some of my Copywriting for Creatives students have DIY’d:
Notice how none of those include mumbo-jumbo jargon like “I’m passionate about helping women get healthy” or “we exist to serve couples with an experience that’s second-to-none.”
Nope. They’re just comforting, likeable, and real.
You’ve gotta give the people a reason to listen, and now that you have, you’ve earned the right to introduce yourself.
Here, give your name, and follow up with credentials: after all, you’re a business professional, and it’s important to list noteworthy accolades that show you’ve earned your stripes. Maybe you nabbed an impressive title, worked with some cool clients, or have worked in your field as long as The Bachelor’s been in syndication: have a little fun with it! (Oh, and spice it up with words that help the reader understand what that accolade actually means in your industry … remember they probably don’t know the ins and outs of your field like you do).
If it feels icky, ask a spouse or former client to re-read what you’ve written—chances are, they won’t think it sounds as braggy as you do.
No matter what, like any page on your website, chip, cut, and polish until it’s clear.
This means there’s no “word count.”
Get the point across, then stop. Use as many words is it merits to get there …
… and then edit ruthlessly. Chances are, you’re divulging your company history, your life story, or background that isn’t something your readers really care about. So, cut to the chase. Include tidbits your ideal client would actually want to know … and leave out the rest.
What are your favorite things in life? People buy from people, so take a moment to list out your loves: maybe it’s in a sidebar, a collage, or quick list.
Maybe it’s your life (or business, that’s fine, too!) mission statement.
Maybe it’s a list of what you’re not.
Maybe it’s illustrated in a flatlay image.
Back to lingering in someone’s kitchen as a guest: we all love to spy on fridge save-the-dates and invitations, cookbook spines, and family photos on the countertops—show off your humanity a bit, and for goodness sakes, make sure there are images of your face.
The best role models and people we want to be friends with always show a bit of their imperfect side, right?
In essence, show your brushstrokes. Reduce your “unicorn factor” and mention a mistake, laughable moment, or situation that shows you’re human, and you’re truly able to come alongside people. Note: you * may * do this in the above section, by showing a funny quirk or vice you have.
I think this is a huge missed opportunity on creative small business websites, but what can a client expect from teaming up with you? Can you illustrate that with words and imagery?
Give dreamy visual words that tell what it’s like to sit by your expertise and glean insight: what do you actually do for your clients?
Here’s an example from one of our clients:
Copywriting for Creatives student Melissa Arlena killed this with a link to 4 carefully-selected blogs (see how great the image of her working is?? She links to a post about how she shoots weddings for her couples while pregnant—after two babies, she probably got asked a lot!)
Finally, give them the next step! I always appreciate a hostess who curbs any opportunity for me to stand around awkwardly in the kitchen, instead offering me to grab a glass of wine, or head to the patio, or just pull up a chair and keep her company while she cooks …
So, how can you direct your reader to the next step, perhaps the blog or your services/work-with-me page? Give a specific call (use a verb!) and a visual like a button that can’t be missed.
Here are 10 quick ideas:
For more on call-to-action buttons, read up on this blog post I wrote.
Feel a bit better? As a copywriter for creatives, I love that a good about page builds trust and rapport, and continues to build the foundation of authentic business you’ve put into motion.
So what do you think: did you move through the 7 tips? If so, post your about page below—I’d love to take a peek and cheer you on!
Freshly sharpened pencil bouquet ready, I'm here to make sure you stand out as a copywriter and calligraphy. I help women like you steward your story well, so you can work from a place of rest—not hustle.