By Kathy Widenhouse, award-winning content writer and author who specializes in writing for nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
I’ve written this set of ten writing tips for your website About page for two reasons.
First, I needed the tips myself.
Total disclosure: I’ve been known to leave my About page alone for a couple years at a time. I figured I was not the only one who was lax. And there are likely plenty of you out there who don’t even have an About page. So when I got into a better habit of updating it regularly, I put these tips together. (Here's my About page, just for reference.)
The second reason I put together these writing tips for your website About page: your About page is tricky because it is not about you.
Whaaaat? Isn’t this the place on your website where visitors learn more about you and what you do?
Kind of. In reality, your About page is the place on your website where visitors learn more about what you do for them.
I hope you’ll learn from my boo-boos. These writing tips for your website About page can make it easier.
About is one of the most-visited pages on your site, whether you’re a blogger or a multi-million-dollar ministry. Readers want to know who you are. I’ve been to websites that don’t have an About page and I want to grind my teeth in frustration. Save your readers the exasperation. Just write one already.
Then there are folks who think they need to be different and put a button on their navigation with a cutesy title like “The Scoop” or “The Inside.” Honestly. I just want to know more about you and what I can expect from you. Call the button "About."
It’s tempting to launch into your bio at the top of your About page. Resist!
Instead, tell your visitor who you help and what you do to help them. Ask yourself this question: if your reader could only know one or two things about what she can get from you, what would those be? (Note: I didn’t say if your reader could know only one or two things about you.)
Here’s a helpful template to use:
I’m [your name] and I am a [your title/ vocation] who works with [your target market/ ideal client] helping them [how you serve].
Write like you talk. Here’s a helpful tip for conversational writing: pretend your reader is sitting across from you with a cup of coffee and she has just asked why you started your business. Now start writing as you answer her question. Write in first person. If you need to, talk out loud and then type what you say. You can edit yourself later.
This is your big WHY – why are you doing what you do? Tell the story of the problem or challenge you faced and what you did that led to you starting the ministry or blog or nonprofit or business. People love stories. Yours is unique. Connect the dots of your story to your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
How does this focus on your reader if you’re talking about yourself, you ask? Because it allows you to …
Tell your reader how your story has allowed you to help others and what kind of difference it’s made for them. You can use contextual links to your portfolio, case studies, testimonials, and a page of specific kinds of services you offer. Explain what it’s like to work with you. This helps your reader to know what to expect from you.
Invite your reader to get information she needs. Give a call to action (maybe even more than one) that shows how you want to help her: an opt-in for helpful freebie, links your most popular posts, directions to your social media sites. Don’t leave your reader’s next step to chance. Point her what can help her. Guide her to where she needs to go next.
Now you've earned your reader’s trust by meeting her needs and addressing her priorities, telling your story, and explaining how you can help her. If you wish, go ahead and share a bit more personal information.
If you’ve got lots of experience in your niche, this is the place to give your credentials. You can also list the technologies you use (your web host, your WordPress template, email list manager, for example.) These days, people want to know because they’re overwhelmed with options.
If you’re an organization, link to separate pages that provide your history and staff/board listings.
Your visitor wants to see you. If you’ve got a staff, you can post a photo of the group. Use a photo editing software if you need to crop or adjust your photo.
Why should you update your About page? Maybe you’ve added services you can offer clients. Or you’ve got a new freebie or a social media site. Or you simply get better at writing conversationally. Check your page a couple of times a year just to make sure it’s fresh and that it communicates what you can do for visitors.
Which of these writing tips for your website About page do you need to take first?
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