As I mentioned in my Playboy post at Darren’s blog, the most successful writers on the web do one thing really well.
They make every attempt to connect with their readers.
Why is this important? Why is this worth spending hours on?
Because when you connect with readers they’re more likely to return to your blog. And these connections begin on your About Me page, the #2 most important webpage on your blog.
I’d like to show you how to create About Mes that people talk about, that are downright unforgettable. I’ll even show you some really random ones that people love.
And, I’ll end with a WordPress trick even the pros aren’t using. Think you’ll use it?
1) A good picture must come first
Readers visit your About Me Page to see your face — they’d like to see who’s behind the words.
This picture may help someone remember your blog forever, so why would you bury it halfway down the page? I often talk about giving readers exactly what they want and this is no exception.
However, not any picture will do. Don’t be lazy and put up an old or blurry pic. This is one place where an extra 5 minutes goes a long way.
The Best Picture of You
A picture of yourself on your laptop works great. That’s because seeing you on your computer lets the reader picture what your end of the blogging process might look like. It’s a way of sort of saying hi intrinsically to your reader. Follow me?
Or have someone photograph you doing what you love, or what your blog features.
Gardening? Perfect. Fitness? Easy as ever. Analyzing Marxian principles of social justice? A bit harder, yet still doable!
What type of picture?
Make that photo positive! Get yourself in some sunlight, smiling, and clearly exerting yourself. Give it a caption if you can be clever or funny. You want your readers to see this photo often too, and I’ll explain later on how to put it in your sidebar.
Take away points:
⇒picture up top
⇒show readers what you love doing (not just a mug shot)
2) How to lay out your experience
Bloggers get into trouble burying their experience in a dense word-stuffed paragraph. Instead of writing a whole novel, just use bullet points!
Personally, I recommend timeline format. For example, “after 1 month of blogging I was here, then after 6 months of blogging I was this far along…” Doing this really guides readers through your path and opens their eyes to your blogging life. By the third bullet point they’ll probably want to become your friend.
Glen from ViperChill and I do this timeline thing rather well 🙂
Yes, you are bragging. But no, you don’t want the reader to think that right away. Be a bit self-depricating. Putting yourself down a bit shows readers you’re okay with criticism and not all aloof and condescending.
Example of self-deprication:
- After six months of blogging I was chosen to be featured in the Huffington Post (more direct)
- After six months of blogging I got lucky, my work appeared in Huffington Post along with bloggers much smarter than me (more relatable and friendly)
The real point is that it’s okay to brag. Once you get your foot in the door, really hammer the nail in and convince readers you’re good at what you do. Reference brands you’ve worked with. Talk about trips you’ve been on. I usually mention “that point at which you knew you could blog for a living.” You want to get some links in there too. Proof of your success via links people will actually click.
⇒bullet points are a must
⇒be a bit self-depricating
⇒worked with legit brands? mention that!
⇒be creative and indulgent with how you brag
3) Tell people why you began
The next section should explain your brilliant decision to start your blog. Why are you doing what you do? Who are you helping? Most importantly, how are you different?
Another place to do this is on your welcome page.
Because you are unique
You may think, “hmm, I’m not that different in the grand scheme of things,” but that’s baloney. Your blog will always be unique and you should really tell people here.
Focus on benefits and not features. That means really show readers how they benefit from being on your blog. On my blog I talk about how readers will get direct blogging answers. I actually am frustrated with the fluff I see on the web when I need an answer, and solving that problem was a major reason I started blogging.
Don’t write TOO much
Like the previous sections, don’t write too much. Just a few sentences is usually enough. I know you have a lot on your mind and want to say it all. Just don’t. You’ll miss out on delivering any of your messages if you say too much so just pick a few of them.
⇒Tell readers why you started up (mission statement)
⇒You are unique, forever and ever more
⇒Be brief, seriously, this is tough, but it’ll help a TON
4) Suggest where readers should go next
Once people are done devouring the previous sections you obviously want them to stick around. So suggest a good place for them to start their journey with your blog. Make sure it’s one of your best, most informational, most original pieces.
Show off your social media
With social media links, be clear with readers on how to contact you. You probably don’t have a strong Facebook presence if you’re just starting out, so direct readers to Twitter or another platform.
If you want to be uber personal, like me, put your email on there. I encourage my readers to ask me blogging questions directly over email if they can’t get an answer on my blog. It’s a great way to connect over the web and sending an email is the easiest thing ever.
⇒Give people a “first read” suggestion
⇒Link to social media
5) Opt ins and social proof
The Opt In Form
An opt in form on your About Me page can pull in subscribers if you’re writing is really compelling. I personally save my opt-in form for my “Community” page, but some take a more aggressive approach. I know a lot of bloggers believe if a reader is on their About Me Page, that person may want to subscribe.
You can even insert more than one form in the page! Derek Halpern does this effectively.
Social Proof through Quotes
Social proof can be used to convince those questioning readers that you really do know your stuff. If you’re not already being talked about on other blogs, go get some friends to give you a quote or two. Encourage them to be creative and say something different.
Then style that quote so it really stands out.
Bonus: How to trick WordPress (read this carefully)
Okay, ready for a trick even most pros don’t know? A lot of bloggers ask me how to link their about me pages from the little section in their byline that read something like “posted by Greg” or “written by: Greg.” WordPress codex has no answer for this! Perhaps, because most WordPress users haven’t found the plugin needed to accomplish this.
Here’s 10 steps to accomplish this. I know it’ll sound confusing at first but I’ll try my best to explain.
If I’ve totally failed at explaining this, please post a comment and let me know so 😉
1) Go to Users tab
2) Create a new username. This simultaneously creates the new page: http: //www.yoursite.com/author/username
3) Choose how you’d like to display this name publicly as. First name works well.
4) Now, download Custom Permalinks WordPress plugin. DB email club members got a quick heads up on this plugin already.
5) Go to your current About Me page.
6) Make your About Me page’s permalink = http: //www.yoursite.com/author/username
7) Go into any blog post. Under “Author” you’ll see your list of possible publicly displayed names
8) Assign the post to your preferred name. All posts should ideally go to the same name. Do this for every post.
9) Now check out a post. In my byline it readers “By: Greg”. To edit the “By:” part go to Single.php in “Editor.”
10) Click Greg (or rather your name) and the page should redirect to your About Me!
Voila! Again if this was confusing at all, just post a question here in the comments. As I always tell folks, I respond to every comment at the blog.
Now instead of linking to the author archives page, your byline (beneath blog post titles) will link to your About Me page.
This is a great way of saying an additional “hey!” to readers and clarifying for them who wrote the post. Sending users to an author archives page accomplishes next to nothing in terms of creating reader loyalty. All it does is show how many (or few) posts you’ve written.
Have you had success with you About Me? The Dear Blogger community is a creative, daring bunch. I’d bet you guys have a lot of different approaches to About Me pages, some perhaps more effective than what I described above. Post a comment and let us know about them!