Sunday, February 06, 2011

about About pages

... which is an "about blogging" or meta-blogging post. Aside from the non-so-minor detail that the following article refers to blogs operated; whereas, none of mine ~ minimal Ad-Sense ads excepted ~ sell anything, not for $. I hawk my wares in the market place of ideas and information.

Most if not all advocate, stand on soap boxes and otherwise exhort ~ along with reviewing, critiquing, disseminating information ~ all in the public weal. They don't even surreptitiously hawk products or services for commission or other personal gain.

So why read let alone republish this piece? In the the interest of better blogging, I subscribe to a number of "about blogging" blogs. Most are about marketing and monetization. They are also about effective, blogging. Keeping readers interested, engaging an audience.

That's where the about page comes in. I've been thinking about adding one for ages. Or rather, adding them (plural) Despite overlaps and copy cannibalizing, no one version suits all. My 2011 blogging resolution.

So now onto Lea Woodward's Problogger guest post,

Did you know that the second place many new readers go after hitting the home page of your blog is your About page? Go and check your stats and you’ll probably see that if it’s not up there at #2, it’s probably still pretty high up on the list of “most viewed” links. Chris Brogan noticed this, so it must be true!

This isn’t really a surprise—most people are curious to find out more about who writes the blog they’ve just landed on. While they’re looking for this information, they’re probably thinking three things:

  • Who is this guy or girl telling me all about how to make money blogging?
  • Should I stick around and read more?
  • Is it worth me bookmarking or subscribing to this site and coming back again?

If you don’t lose readers at the home page (which you can avoid by compelling headlines and killer content to browse around), the second most common place to lose them is at your About page.

Here’s how to avoid that—and how to ensure your About page makes your blog, rather than breaks it.

Introduce yourself

Tell us what your name is, and include a photo. This sounds simple but I can’t tell you how many About pages I’ve read where the blogger frequently mentions “I” and “me”, or “we” and “us”, where the username is “admin” and there’s no mention of a name (or names) anywhere on the site—not even the About page.

The exception of course is if you’re blogging anonymously, but even so, it’s nice to give yourself (or your alter ego) a pen name. People like names and they like to put a face to a name, even if it’s cartoon one.

Remember the mantra: WIIFM?

Somewhere up near the top of your About page, it’s a good idea to tell readers what’s in it for them if they stick around on your site and even subscribe. They’ll be scanning your page thinking, “What’s in it for me? Should I stick around?” If you can answer that succinctly early on, you’ll save them time and attract the kind of audience you’re actually looking for.

About them

If your blog covers a wide range of topics and it’s not super-targeted, it can be useful to actually state who your blog is for. You can even be as obvious as to include a “Who this blog is for” section listing a few items describing your ideal readers. It’s a fast, simple way to help readers figure out whether they want to stick around or not.

Be personal, but not too personal

It depends upon the topic of your blog, but it’s usually a good idea to share your credentials or expertise in the topic you’re blogging about. If you don’t have any, and you’re writing more of a “share your journey” blog, then say this. It helps people figure out where you are on the path in relation to them, and whether they’ll get something from sticking around.

The depth and level of personal information you share will depend upon the type of blog you’re writing—whether it’s a topic-focused blog or more of a personality-based blog.

Determine the goal of your About page

As you’ve probably gathered by now, your About page isn’t just a place to tell people more about you: it can be so much more. You need to determine the goal(s) of your About page, and then make sure that your page achieves those goals. For example, your About page can:

  • be an ideal place to highlight your best content, allowing you to share links to deeper content within your site
  • encourage people to sign up to your newsletter—which works especially well for “behind the scenes” newsletters and those which are used to share more personal information from the blogger
  • give readers other ways to connect with you, by sharing links to your social media profiles and encouraging readers to connect with you there, too
  • provide readers with social proof and testimonials, helping to establish your credibility and authority from the start.

Always end with a call to action

Your About page is a great place to encourage those who’ve stuck with you until the end of the page, to keep going … but you do need to give them some direction. This goes hand in hand with the point above: once you’ve determined what you’d like your About page to do for your site and your readers, make sure you end strongly by giving readers pointers about the next steps to take, should they be interested.

The above advice can be summarized in the following three points. Your About page should, at the very least, achieve the following:

  • Introduce the person and personality behind the blog.
  • Help new readers easily identify whether your blog is for them.
  • Direct them to do something specific once they’ve read it (whatever it is you’d ideally like them to do next).

Take advantage of this golden opportunity to make another great impression on new readers and create an About page that helps your blog stand out from the others.

What does your About page say about you?

A sensible list. Just strike out "all about how to make money blogging" and revise passage, which means coming up with something concise and coherent about what Blog X is telling you and why you should stick around, even bookmark or subscribe. A personal mission statement, or in terms of reader theory, identifying audience (ideal or imagined readers) and address them. Overall, the list is good. Heeding it should help me sharpen focus and blog better by writing for a more clearly envisioned but not too niche audience. The About page is also a cover letter to readers (with the blog itself being an application, albeit to read rather than hire or buy )

Posted via email from Meanderings

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