For some reason, figuring out our website’s about page template 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 our own 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.
Today, I’m walking you through my tried-and-true, proven about page template and copywriting formula. I’ve taught it to hundreds of students. We’ve implemented it as an agency on dozens of websites and I’m justttt now finally giving a name to my little formula: A. R. T. I. S. T.
This is my A.R.T.I.S.T. formula to a persuasive, powerful about page.
Why Figuring Out How to Write Your About Page Matters
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: NPR “My Hidden Brain” episode … 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:
- Calm down snippy remarks from students, customers, and clients.
- Help you win brand loyalists even when you’re fresh outta the gate with your creative business.
- Nurture familiarity warm-and-fuzzies when you’ve been around a while with your business.
With that said, follow these steps you’ll be on your way to a better about page.
No. 1 | A: your attention-grabbing headline
When I’m on a client project, I spend a lot of time (like ~wayyyyyy~ more than you’d think) writing the headline. I’m playing with it, I’m trying different versions and variations. You should do this very same thing.
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 headline 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.
Raise your right hand and repeat after me: “I will not start my about page with any of the following: About me, OR Meet *insert your name here* ”. Got it?! I know you can do WAY better.
This single page, specifically this headline could be one of the most important pieces of copy on your entire website.
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
No. 2 | R: reassure
Here, we want to reassure your reader or your potential client that they are in the right spot. Continue to speak to the reader with this next line, probably a sub-headline type style when it comes to design. You want to keep telling him or her that they’re in the right place. Your “why” may come in just a little bit here.
You’re demonstrating here that you understand their problems, you get their challenges, you get their needs, and you can help them get that result that they ~really~ want… but they just can’t quite figure out how to get yet.
This could be as simple as saying something like: “You’re in the right place.”
Let me show you a few examples from my students inside Copywriting For Creatives ™ :
Example #1: Here is a peak into Katie’s lovely website, she is such an exquisite newborn photographer. Seriously, go look at her work. It’s soooo good.
She’s done a good job separating the copy and pacing it out—she doesn’t have massive paragraphs to read through, and she also did a great job with her headline and subhead. She doesn’t start her about page with, “Hey, I’m Katie,” or anything like that.
If you were to read through, you’ll see how she says the line that I mentioned you’re in the right place: “That’s where I come in.” Then she introduces herself and goes on through the rest of the formula.
Example #2: Here’s one more photographer website, Kate, I love that she’s got a lot of great copy and agitation up at the top of her page. And then again, we see that reassurance: “You’re in just the right spot, mom.”
She’s really anchored this and is talking to her right person. Look again, she’s not saying, “Hi, I’m Kate,” but she’s diving into copy that actually speaks to her ideal clients.
Example #3: This is Tia, she’s a student of mine and a personal development coach. She has done a killer job and DIY’ed all of this. She used a template and she learned how to write her own copy.
Tia has a GREAT headline here, but then the party starts. She agitates it a little and then she comes in and she reassures her client.
This is how she says it: “That’s where I come in with a fan to help you whisk those things away. Think hair blowing in the wind like Beyonce.” I mean so, so clever and full of personality.
Then she goes on and she reassures her client more and puts them in a position where they can feel comfortable. Even the design on this website makes the reader comfortable with really beautiful images—these are actually from SC stock shop, check it out here.
Tia, girl, totally killing the game. This is an absolutely beautiful about page. 😍😍
No. 3 | T: track record
You’ve gotta give the people a reason to listen, no offense, but, why should I even listen to you? What’s your street cred? Why do I want to work with you? You’ve got to give people a reason to listen, which you did with both the A and the R. Now, it’s time to come in and 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 on the airwaves: 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).
*Side pet peeve: I get kind of irritated when I get on people’s websites and I can’t find their actual full name anywhere or even just their first name. So please include that. And then follow up with your credentials. After all, you are a business professional.*
If you’re freaking out a little bit and don’t feel quite worthy of being called an expert, let me just throw this at you—it’s helped me in the past. Imagine you are a college freshman, you’re new on campus. Who do you want a tour from? Probably not the Dean or some professor of one of the schools. You want the tour from the sophomore, somebody who’s just a little bit ahead of you.
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.
Pro Tip: Make it skimmable by putting subheads throughout your copy, especially if it’s a little longer. People absolutely still read longer copy online, but they do have a hard time and will not read if they can’t understand where they need to stop and start during the document. Make that really clear with those subheadlines that explain to them what they’re going to get in that section or if they should just keep moving along.
No. 4 | I: illustrate
What’s it like to buy from you and to step into your world? Here it’s important to leave room for your client or your customer to step into this world that you’re showing them.
What are your favorite things in life? Where’s their place in the story? What sets you apart? I’m looking at you trying to figure out if I can fit into the story and what it would be like for me to enter into this. So go ahead and make it obvious to me how I would fit in. What’s the process? Give me a glimmer of it.
People buy from people, so take a moment to list out your loves: maybe it’s in a sidebar, a collage, or quick list. Recommendations, endorsements and testimonials. Hello, goldmine. These are imperative when it comes to building trust with your prospects.
Use images of faces or brand ambassadors here. Give them a dreamy visual both with images and words that tells them what it’s like to sit at your feet and let you be the expert and helping them get what they want.
What do you actually do for your clients and can you paint me a picture of what it would be like to work with you? I think this is a huge missed opportunity that I see all the time when I’m scoping out and looking at different people’s websites, especially with the creatives that I work with.
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!)
Need a little bit of help or aren’t sure what questions to ask to get the right testimonials? Check out last week’s video on my YouTube channel all about testimonials.
No 5. | S: show your brushstrokes
The reason I choose the word “brushstrokes” is because the best leaders are people that I want to work with or look up to have a little bit of an imperfect side. 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.
Demonstrate your authority here and give them another reason to want to work with you.
Think about the last gathering you went to in someone’s house. I’m going to guess, there’s a 90% chance you probably at some point meandered into either the family living room or the kitchen area, just that open hearth of the home where everybody hangs out.
That’s your about page on your website.
Here’s some ideas to get you started:
What are your values?
What is your mission statement?
(My Copywriting for Creatives students, you have these, go ahead and think about including it.)
Maybe it’s a list of things you like and don’t like.
Your bucket list.
Maybe you have all your favorite things illustrated in a flatly image.
I get ~super~ nerdy on my about page and show a little bit of the Proust Questionnaire if you’re familiar with that…. orrrrr maybe I’m just a big nerd. 🤓
My client and friend Jenna Kutcher has a wonderful quiz-style section on her about page to show this. This is *so* important for creative small business owners because I’m trying to get a sense here if I like you. Get creative!
No. 6 | T: to do
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…yes, please!
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.
You’re likely publishing on so many platforms, so show them a few of those and end with a really strong call to action…or two or three!
Here are 10 quick ideas:
- Get a free resource
- Find inspiration on the blog
- Listen to the podcast
- Follow me on social media
- Check out services
- Hit the shop
- Get on my calendar
- Send us a note
- See success stories
- Get a free trial
For more on call-to-action buttons, read up on this blog post I wrote.
Alright, now, let’s pull it together.
You’re going to have the attention getting headline and the reassurance after, followed by your track record and credibility section. Then give an illustration and paint a picture of what it’s like for me to work with you. Then show me some of your brushstrokes and a bit of your personality. Wrap it all up with a to do, telling me what to do next.
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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. Follow these steps you’ll be on your way to a better about page.