The Quirky Nature of About Pages

Of all the many different things somebody can write, an about page is probably one of the strangest. If you’re writing it for someone else then it becomes an exercise in analysis. Who is this person/website/brand? What do they do? How do they do it? It is a relatively easy thing to put together.

When you’re putting one together for yourself it becomes an entirely different beast. You don’t really know where to start, so you instinctively go for the biographics. I’m a [insert age] [insert occupation] from [insert location]. Okay, not a bad start you think to yourself, and honestly you’re not wrong. But that is when it hits you, and suddenly you find yourself dragged deep down into the depths of self-examination.

I say I’m a/an [insert occupation] but am I really good enough to call myself that? The answer is usually yes, but there is no way your brain is going to let you admit that to you without at least a minor pang off self-doubt. That’s why it helps to write your about pages with a friend who can help you out. A more objective look is going to help you a lot through this process.

The next part is where it gets tricky for some people. What is it that you actually do? Do you make something? Do you provide a service? Are you a notable figure in a particular field? Your answer to the applicable questions could be hard or it could be easy. In my case it’s dead easy, I’m a writer so naturally I write stuff. But what do you do if your answer is something like I’m an expert in [name some obscure nonsense] and I [action related to said obscure nonsense]? Well, then you might want to try and dumb it down a little. This is the internet after all.

Going through the motions of writing an about page can be simple or it can be a roller coaster ride of emotion. If you’re like me and you’re trying to balance your talents and abilities with some modicum of professional modesty, then you’re in for a wild ride. But that’s what makes about pages so great. They represent the successful struggle between self-belief and identity that all professionals need to go through.

Now that you have read all that. Here are a few points that you might actually find useful.

  1. Be clear about who you are and what you do but be succinct. This isn’t an autobiography.
  2. Think about how you want other people to see you and guide visitors to your site in that direction.
  3. If you’re doing this for business purposes then you want to make sure you’re very clear about the service or product you’re offering.
  4. Run it by people actually know you and what you, get their feedback. It’s invaluable.

This post first appeared on my website joelpetley.com.

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