Why It’s A Mistake To Ignore Your About Me Page

It’s day one of the A-Z Challenge in which we’re going to take an alphabetical journey through the art of book blogging. 

Every journey has to begin somewhere. Our’s is going to start with: 

A is for”About Me”

Here’s a trick question for you.

Can you guess which page of your blog generates some of the highest number of visitors yet the least amount of attention from you? 

Sorry but there are no prizes for correctly answering. It’s your “About Me” page.

Take a look at your blog statistics. The home page will likely be right at the top in terms of number of visits. No surprises there. But the “About Me” page is likely to be running close. If not number two it’s probably in the top five.

It makes sense doesn’t it?

Start Of A Relationship

A visitor stumbles on your site. They take a quick tour around the home page. They like what they see but they want to know what else they’ll find on the blog. So they click on “About”. 

Now what we all hope will happen is that they like what they discover so much that they begin to follow you and regularly comment on your posts. That “About Me” page has sparked the beginning of a relationship.

Think of it as a speed dating scenario.

Raelyn Tan

That page is clearly important. First impressions do count. Yet when was the last time you did an upgrade of that page?

I must have done 20+ versions of my “About” page since I created it eight years ago.

Each iteration has been an attempt to achieve two things:

  • Explain clearly what visitors will find on my site.
  • Give them a sense of the person behind the words.

My first few versions were very generic. Then I swung too much in the opposite direction and ended up with a long page with lots of detail. It was difficult to achieve just the right balance.

One of many versions of Booker Talk About page.

There is a tonne of information online about what makes an effective “About Me” page. You can even get a template to help you get all the components right. The problem is that much of this advice is geared towards commercial blogs, people who are selling a service or a product. They talk for example about including testimonials from customers about the quality of your service and your expertise.

I’ve pared down the advice to what I think will be relevant to book bloggers.

Seven Essential Elements

  1. Your photograph. Visitors like to know that they’ll be interacting with a real person. Make sure it’s a good quality image and of a reasonable size.
  2. Formatted in a way that the text is easy to skim (particularly important if they’re reading on a mobile device). So make good use of white space, sub headings and bullet points.
  3. Conveys a sense of your personality. It’s about sounding human. Some bloggers talk extensively about who they are; their interests, what makes them happy; their family. You don’t have to do this. You can convey personality by the tone and style of your writing.
  4. A Value Proposition. What’s the benefit to them of reading your blog? To put it another way What’s In It For Them?
  5. Explains a little about what they’ll find on your site.
  6. Clear mechanism for them to reach you. Include links to your social media profiles and a contact form.
  7. Call to action. You’re trying to convert them into people who are regular readers. So encourage them to take the next step – show how they can follow you, sign up for updates or subscribe to a email updates.

I’ve just done another update to my page, following these guidelines. Her’es a snippet of the new look where I’ve added a value proposition at the top of the page and a much better photograph. You can see the full version here.

New version of About Me page

This is definitely going in the right direction but still has room for improvement. I haven’t yet added my social media links or figured out how to include the calls to action like a a subscription form.

One Last Thing

Some of those seven steps are easy to put in place. Others like the value proposition are likely to be a continuous process of tweaks and adjustments.

If you haven’t looked at your own “About Me” page for a while, now could be the time to give it some love and attention.

Which of those seven elements are you missing? Which will you put in place first? Do leave a comment to tell me whether you agree those are the elements that make a good About page.

About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on April 1, 2020, in Blogging and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 69 Comments.

  1. I really like the prior version of your About Page you share in the inset, where you were personal & chatty. I tend to be chatty so it might just be me. 😉 I feel it has a better sense of who you are. I like the part about you wanting to talk to people on trains. I can relate to that! You current About page is briefer & therefore possibly better for a skimmer. But it doesn’t (in my very humble opinion) show as much personality. I would never have guessed you were so talkative online. I’d have guessed you as reserved until I read the bit you share from a prior draft.

    I don’t share a photo of myself (in the off & on eras in which I blog) because I see no reason to do so online. When reading novels, we are perfectly able to imagine that the words spoken by characters came from faces, & I expect with a little imagination visitors to blogs can do the same.

    As for the “what’s in it for them” segment of the About Page, I would humbly suggest that what’s in it for many may merely be the opportunity to know the person blogging, hear their ideas, & bandy about a bit of tomfoolery in the comment box. If I was walking about on the sidewalk thinking things I cared to express, I would never approach people on the street with a selling point about myself to get them to listen. I’d merely be myself, & those interested would likely befriend me. ‘Twould feel far more natural.

    (Hopefully you don’t mind my candor. I’m sure your suggested bullet points would be awesome for many, but you did finish your blog asking if folks agree, & for my part, I don’t agree with them all. But I am one of many.) 🙂

    It probably comes down to why you blog. My blog (when I bother to write it) is a reading journal. That means it’s basically for me. I just don’t mind collecting a few friends as I go about it. I figure either people will be interested or wander off. ‘Tis true to life itself. x

    • Should have proofed: I mean “talkative offline.” Pardon any typos. My editor is currently indulging in a vacation. 😛

    • I don’t mind your candour at all Jillian – as you say I did ask! What you’ve given me is valuable insight and I am extremely grateful that you have taken as much time to capture your thoughts for me. I’m going to have a go and bringing back some of the personality you feel is missing from my About page. It does very much depend on why we blog and as you say, that varies. Mine is not a personal journal at the moment – it’s something I’m thinking about changing to but I’m not there yet 🙂

      • I’m glad I could help! & thank you for being so gracious. I’m a big proponent of the reading journal blog genre & am glad to know you are considering it. I feel there is a big audience for that style of writing, & the medium would certainly fit a person merry enough to chat books with strangers on public transit. Cheers! x

        • Which is your blog Jillian? I can’t see your profile in the comment so not sure which of the Jillians that follow me you are (sorry to be the bearer of such bad news that there is more than one Jillian in the world!). I need to get more familiar with the style of a journal

        • Hi Karen –

          Ha! It is rare to find other Jillians!

          I am the Jillian who thought up & founded The Classics Club back in 2012. I blogged for several years on classic literature & the like, but trailed off in mid-2018 & ultimately closed my blog.

          I was just contemplating making the thing live again so you can see an example, but I’ve decided against it as I prefer to maintain privacy for a while as I think over whether I want to try again.

          What I can do is try to explain what I mean by “reading journal” & offer a few suggestions for you to check out.

          (I feel this topic is confusing because, as book bloggers, we lack a lexicon! I’ve noticed much of what book bloggers write is generically referred to as a “review” when in reality a review is quite distinct from a reading journal entry or an essay, & the three are rarely acknowledged as different, with different yet equally rich agendas. I cite this as a hole in the community which makes for occasional confusion when one expects a review & gets a reading journal, or assumes the author wants a debate when she is merely journaling.)

          I am not an expert on this. I use the term “reading journal” merely because that’s what I tend to call a specific genre of book blog, having no other standard lexicon. Whether there is an actual standard of book blog genres I don’t actually know. I see terms like “review” confused with “essay” all the time.

          So first of all, I think what you do here is in many ways already what I’d class as a reading journal. The topic is you & your response to books. You have projects and goals and personal plans & a record of having been. That’s a reading journal. According to me. *bows* Your post “Sample Sunday” on abandoned classics is a perfect example of something I’d class as “reading journal” material, as are your remarks on your “reading plans.” That said, I’d say your reviews are genuinely reviews as opposed to what is often confused for a review (such as an essay or a journal entry.) You pair your own experience of the book with objective analysis in order to assess the book’s value. (From what I’ve seen, I mean. I have not read your whole blog. I have looked at a few pieces. And categorizing all this stuff is admittedly exhausting, ha ha.)

          Most of the blogs you find participating in The Classics Club would be what I refer to as reading journals. These are layfolks tackling the classics with sleeves rolled up & spectacles at the ready. They don’t write as experts but as explorers. THAT is what I refer to as a reading journal.

          I once defined it as this: “a collection of one’s personal responses to books scribbled on pages most indulgently by fireside or under a magnolia tree in autumn. Focus is on sharing one’s journey through books. Emotion and bias most welcome. Objectivity is probable in some entries, but the serious, objective note is not so anticipated. The style in a reading journal tends to follow the blogger’s path, rather than adhere itself to strict analysis. {This is such an open-ended definition! But pardon me, my point is that it has yet to be defined.}”

          Based upon my experience, there are a few different genres of book blog out there: There are “review” sites (written to assess the quality of literature & often written in a journalistic style); there are “debate” sites (intended to encourage vibrant discussion about books & beat one another’s heads together merrily in pursuit of enlightenment); there are “commonplace journals,” wherein a quiet blogger shares passages from recent reads in order to create a journal of inspirational words; there are sites for analytical “essays,” wherein the blogger articulates a critical analysis of a book in order to contribute something succinct about the book’s themes & its structure & success or weakness according to that blogger’s analysis (titles in this case are usually drawn from the blogger’s own reading library as opposed to a pile of ARCs); there are journals dedicated to the record of the blogger’s reading life & her often unanalytical journey through her specific pile of books; there are book blogs focused entirely upon discussions, tags, memes, editorials, speeches, odes to one’s favorites, lists of the books one wants to read — & all of this can find its way into the genre I refer to as “reading journal.”

          What makes a reading journal distinct in my opinion is that often the MAIN purpose is to record the blogger’s specific relationship with literature — her opinions, her distinct insights, her experiences with this or that book, a record of her favorites as the years go by. A reading journal may have an overall theme (such as the blogger’s journey through the classics) or merely be a scrapbook of the blogger’s eclectic remarks on books as the years pass. Some, though this isn’t necessary, also include bits of their personal world wherein books are included — a sort of living scrapbook. Some speak thoroughly on literature; some do what you can see at nerdisly (dot) com, listing out a few lines from that month’s reading, & a few memorable passages.

          I find reading journals primarily in the classics world, in the world of literary fiction & translated fiction, & in the world of bloggers interested in merely keeping a toe in on the bookish conversation & finding a few kindred spirits. The purpose isn’t usually to champion a particular book or cause; but merely to record a journey. Though sometimes “how to” essays and blogger tips are offered, the primary topic is the blogger’s personal journey as opposed to a series of essays intended to instruct or benefit visitors. The blog is full of personality & the personality is what you come to see, the honest wayward journey, the silences signifying an active life, the blogger’s character arc & process. Not all such blogs are thoroughly written. Not all are predictable. Not all are scheduled.

          The style is often anecdotal.

          That’s what I would offer as an explanation of a “reading journal.” It’s like a reading quilt distinct to you, where you discuss books your own way. ‘Tis okay on a journal to merely have not liked a book & have no reason why. ‘Tis perfectly acceptable to assess a work analytically. ‘Tis sometimes the case that the blogger does both.

          I have no idea if I’ve described that well. BOOK BLOGGING IS A MAD MESS OF LOVELY EXCITED PEOPLE & without a lexicon it’s hard to quite pin anyone down to anything (which is as it should be.)

          In order to illustrate the many different styles I’d personally class as “reading journal,” I’ll suggest a few sites. I do not share hyperlinks below as too many of those would likely make this comment susceptible for deletion by the autobots. You should be able to find these blogs at your leisure with a simple search & see a few examples based upon my wanderings.

          As follows: Allie at A Literary Odyssey (the woman whose blog inspired mine, for its style & approachability — she has long since stopped blogging. note how especially in her early writings, she journals not only of her final thoughts of a book, but of her expectations of a book before beginning — the focus here is her journey, her process, her developing experience); Max at Vogliodio (wonderful anecdotal remarks on the classics, note that he is more analytical); Laurie at A Relevant Obscurity (her final ideas on books, based very much on her emotions and expectations); Ruth at A Great Book Study (a journey through literature in which she records her personal awakening); o at The Ancients and the Moderns (recording an incredible journey through literature often in bits & snatches, often in long euphoric stretches, often in analytical essays based entirely upon her own reflections); Joseph at The Once Lost Wanderer (recording a journey through the greats based on his own tastes); Jennifer at Holds Upon Happiness (poetic, gentle, reflective); Pete at ClassicsReader (dot) com (a new journey through the greats); Brian at Brian’s Babbling Books (whom I believe I’ve mentioned to you before — he tends more toward essay and analysis yet the bliog is very much a reflection of a reader in process); Karen at Books and Chocolate (title selections are often based upon her passion for forgotten women’s literature); Fanda at Fanda ClassicLit; Cleo at Classical Carousel; Helen at She Reads Novels (she periodically posts commonplace entries).

          I hope this helps — & good luck with your writing & reading here! 🙂

          . . .

          “[L]et us take down one of those old notebooks which we have all, at one time or another, had a passion for beginning. Most of the pages are blank, it is true; but at the beginning we shall find a certain number very beautifully covered with a strikingly legible hand-writing. Here we have written down the names of great writers in their order of merit; here we have copied out fine passages from the classics; here are lists of books to be read; and here, most interesting of all, lists of books that have actually been read, as the reader testifies with some youthful vanity by a dash of red ink.”- Virginia Woolf 😉

        • You’ve given me so much to think about Jillian. I’ve never really given much thought to this question before. Of course I recognised there were different styles of blogs – some very much weighted towards “reviews”, others to memes and reading updates. But I never thought whether they could be classified in any way.

          Noodling over this in the last couple of days I can see that indeed yes mine could be classed as a journal because I’m not out to educate anyone (I’d need to educate myself first). Or to be analytical (too much like an academic exercise) It’s really about sharing my experience of particular novels. One key element for me that would make a blog a journal would be that any book “reviews” they write tend to have that personal response. They are written from the first person whereas a lot of reviews you see in newspapers (the high brow ones mainly) seem more third personal and analytical.

          I’m going to take a look at the blogs you reference here, some of which are new to me.

        • I had to come back again to say — please remember I am no expert on this topic. All that above is me naming what has no name, in order to explain for myself the difference between book blogs that I have observed. I use the term “reading journal” because I know what it means and sort of coined it for my followers back in 2017 while I was explaining the difference between the agenda of my own blog and that of, say, a reviewer of arcs. So it’s a term recognized among my merry little circle that slips in as if it’s known by all when I comment on blogs — when I reckon it isn’t.

          To conclude, I have absolutely no idea what I am talking about. 🙂

          I’m sure that book blogs blur together into various categories as listed above by me, & it would be impossible to file them all neatly into a single category. I cannot defend the above or further explain it. I merely leave it to your estimable expertise to chew over. 😛

        • Oh no, I don’t buy that line about you having no idea what you’re talking about :). You’ve given this far more consideration than I have and the path your thoughts have taken you, make so much sense. The categories do blur indeed – just like book genres.

        • Karen, I hope you don’t mind one last comment on this topic. I was thinking this over this morning, trying to come up with a succinct way to explain the difference I see in book blogs.

          They say you can tell you are “introverted” if you view the world as something that fits itself around you, whereas you are “extraverted” if you view yourself as something fitting into the world. I read that somewhere, meaning you might be shy and retiring, but if you still see yourself as fitting into the world, you are extraverted, & if you are outgoing and unafraid to speak, yet see the world as fitting around yourself, you are introverted. That simple explanation stuck with me.

          Well, this is perhaps a simple way to explain what I mean about book blogs: when you are writing for yourself, recording your notes in order to build a personal record, & sharing because you think it might inspire kindred spirits to say hello, or inspire a few souls to read, or to try a work you enjoyed, I would class that as a “reading journal.” When you write for the benefit of the audience, crafting posts intended to instruct or champion a topic, you are writing in a different book blog genre — potentially reviews, essays, & the like.

          As I tend to do the prior, that’s the one I tried to identify, coining it a “reading journal.” I did so to suggest that the agenda on such a blog is very different from a blog written for the benefit of readers. When the blog is intended to invite debate, or provide deep analysis, or offer articles intended to instruct the community on topics particular to the blogger’s expertise, it is appropriate to comment with corrections & objections because the article is intended to be a finalized report, of you will, open for debate. For example, if I wrote a deep analysis of The Great Gatsby through the lens of psychoanalysis & presented it as a finite piece on my blog, it would be appropriate for readers of the article to point out flaws in the argument.

          When one is merely journaling their experience & sharing, it is (in my opinion) inappropriate to coldly analyze the entry presented, because it is by its very nature more organic, more incomplete, a record of a thought in progress. It captures the blogger’s real wandering thoughts.

          The problem with the lack of a lexicon or any real sense that what we do as bloggers is different — that there are distinctly different genres — this makes the comment box quite confusing. Comments coldly assessing a post on a debate blog make sense & are likely anticipated, yet these same comments on a reading journal may come off as dismissive and unforgiving, where many book bloggers are just learning to write on books, & are merely sharing the process. Often times the visitor rakes over personal ideas in progress & finds them wanting, saying so in the language of debate and logic. Since the genre of the blog is all emotional, soul, & intuition — & personal experience with a book — the critique by such a visitor ends up feeling like a critique of the blogger’s heart & mind, for she is the topic of her journal far more than her books.

          The result is that many new readers feel too embarrassed or intimidated to write honestly, & end up being pushed out or changing their style to match the more popular blog — the one written for an audience & intended to be finalized reporting on this or that.

          When I began The Classics Club, it was the address this very phenomenon — though I didn’t know it at the time. I wanted to encourage the community to write about older works, the intimidating works, the untouchable tomes as yet mainly tackled by authoritative writers who filtered the works through fierce analysis. Fifty titles multiplied exponentially per blogger? That’s a lot of completely approachable posts about the books that, in school or elsewhere, often seem more cold than life-changing. To see a blogger visit these books and make sense of them even without degrees & finalized analysis — it could be extremely inspiring and lead those who are intimidated by such works to give a few a try. That’s how I responded to Allie’s blog (A Literary Odyssey) in 2010, & it inspired me to try journaling my reads, & to explore books I’d have avoided if not for her.

          The agendas on book blogs are quite varied. My definition of a reading journal is one that (mainly) focuses on the blogger’s personal thoughts on books — her journey, what she learns, the times she finds it hard to read, etc. But really anything could be included on such a blog, & I have seen many that are less about heart than analysis. The difference on each of the blogs I see which I’d class as “reading journal” is that the posts are written during a journey in progress, & offer a reflection of ideas in progress. The purpose isn’t to serve the audience in any way, but to create an honest record for oneself. One shares to have conversations with like minds & kindred spirits, & perhaps to inspire the world to try certain authors, genres, translated works, etc — that he or she might never have noticed if they weren’t highlighted by the blogger & filtered through their distinct perspective.

          I have no idea if that explains what I mean better or not? I am a right-brainer & therefore tend to see the big picture first, & all its strings. I find it difficult sometimes to whittle my big ideas down to succinct definitions. It takes me a good while of writing it all out to find my thesis.

          Having looked over your blog, I’d say you are sort of a hybrid of both worlds: you are clearly sharing your own journey & have your own reading goals & books you like to champion. To me, that’s the very definition of book journaling. Yet you also stylize many posts for an audience rather than writing for yourself. So your blog seems to be both instructional and personal. I don’t often come across a blog that does both, which proves I may have no idea what I’m talking about. 🙂

          As I say, these are merely my own terms created out of my own observations, to be taken or tossed. Categorizing folks’ personal writing is probably a hopeless endeavor: I did it merely to explain to my readers a few years ago the difference between the agenda at my blog & say a blog intended to invite lively debate. The prior assumes readers will quietly encourage & offer personal input; the latter assumes the readers will argue in a merry journey to truth. My point was that my remarks at my blog (a reading journal) were merely an honest record of my reading journey as I progressed & were therefore, by definition, not up for debate. Yet without some kind of categorization for what we do as bloggers, this was difficult to communicate to happy souls who believed that everything written & posted was intended to be torn apart & analyzed. Book blogging is madness. We have no clear lexicon. 🙂

          I say at the start of this conversation that I feel there is a big audience for reading journals. This is because I feel that many people are inspired & interested in the gentle reflections of a reader in progress. It’s interesting to see which books she will choose & what she makes of them. For the longest time, literature was considered LOFTY. Only to be discussed by critics. I say this from experience. The Classics Club was NOT a popular idea when it began. It was very popular among those intimidated by the classics, who wanted to give them a try. Not so much among the literary critics who had colonized the classics and felt that “reading journals” and the observations of laypeople on these lofty works had no place in online discussion. Reading journals are a revolution.

          Because of the more personal nature of a reading journal, visitors to the blog don’t feel intimidated or talked “at” so much as invited to quietly read, & works like Shakespeare’s plays, for the longest time only introduced in school or critically analyzed online, become approachable. To not know yet what you think, or where you’re going, or where you’ll end up — that’s a reading journal, & because of its unfinished nature, it invites people to see that reading is not all lofty thinking & finalized, definitive statements about THEME and AUTHOR INTENTIONS. It is an organic, imperfect, life-changing experience, & this just might inspire a person skeptical of reading to pick up a book.

          For my part, I never write to do all that. I write merely to create my own personal & highly imperfect record, & I assume the organic nature of people and blogging will make of my mad mess what it will. I am often wrong when I try to interpret a work of literature. I never mind having that record because it is a journey of intellectual development. We are all people groping about, trying to experience the world, history, our own souls — & determine what on earth it is that we think. That journey — that quest? That is the topic of a reading journal. It’s unrefined, half-finished nature tends to attract those readers who have been told all their lives that to be intelligent is to know the answer. Oh no, not that. To be intelligent is to search.

          (Oh dear. I am always so verbose. I didn’t mean to write an essay.)

        • I assume by your total silence that I either overwhelmed you with information above, or my remarks were not applicable to your humble request to see my site. Ha ha! As I say above, “I tend to be chatty.” I WAS SERIOUS. 😛 Probably ought to get my own blog.

          Sorry Karen! Feel free to delete all of my remarks above if you consider them to have derailed your post here. I thought they might have helped answer your “need to get more familiar with the style of a journal” since I wasn’t showing you my site as requested.

          By the way, I ended up working on my own About Page (in case I ever do go live) & implemented some of your suggestions within this post, though possibly not the way you intended. Thanks for the tips! 🙂

          (I actually tucked the final essay above onto my about page to explain my blog’s genre. So it was worth my time, if not yours.) 😆

          *scurries away*

        • Neither in fact Jillian – just me being behind on responding to comments.

        • Oh that’s a relief! I was afraid I’d intruded! I am plagued with the sort of verbal enthusiasm which has notoriously left listeners scurrying all over the WordPress battlefield in terror. 😆 One must know her audience.

        • I couldn’t figure out how to nest my responses to your other two remarks above, so I will conclude here:

          It’s really about sharing my experience of particular novels. One key element for me that would make a blog a journal would be that any book “reviews” they write tend to have that personal response. They are written from the first person whereas a lot of reviews you see in newspapers (the high brow ones mainly) seem more third personal and analytical.

          YES. I agree entirely.

          I just responded to your email. Cheers, Karen. 🙂

  2. Hi Karen, great post! I’m looking forward to all the other wisdom you will share as you work your way to Z. I’m going to get to work on updating my About page but I have an excuse for not making it a huge priority – it does not get many views at all! Instead of being in the top 5, in the current year it is about 71st! What do you suppose that means?

    • Hi Jason. It could mean that the people viewing your content already know you are following you so they have no need to read the About page. If you began to comment on many sites you’ve never interacted with before yiu might find the page views increase because the blogger will be curious to discover who you are.

  3. I don’t know how many people are really coming to my “About Me” page or my blog period, with everything else going on in their lives. So I’m not really worried about it. I have other things I need to focus on right now. That said, I do see the value in what you’re saying. It’s just that I have to prioritize what’s important to me right now — and for this next month especially. Like others, I don’t want my photo out there, but I do use my real name now. I’m inconsistent and I know it, but such is life sometimes :).

    • Fair enough Bryan. Everyone’s priorities are different right now

      • Karen, I apologize for being rude. Probably a conversation better had in my head and discarded. I’m glad you’re finding the blogging challenge helpful for you.

        • Well that speaks a lot to your integrity Bryan. Not many people apologise in social media channels. As kind a thought as it was, honestly I didn’t interpret your comment as being rude at all. You were being honest. This world crisis is making many of us a little tetchy, just a normal physiological reaction to stress. We all understand:)

  4. You nailed the real problem – it doesn’t have a clear objective.

  5. A timely reminder that I still need to improve mine. More than that, reading the comments I see you’ve gone the extra mile and offered suggestions for everyone who commented. That is very generous of you.

    • I’ve had so much generosity from other people over the years I thought it was a good opportunity to repay it a little. Of course I couldn’t resist taking a look at your page …
      Calling it Who Am I is a nice touch, much more personal than just About.
      Your opening sentence is excellent. Short and exactly on point. I would just suggest you stick with the current situation – moving up the section on the fact you are the author of 4 books, and moving down the back story of how you got there.

      Then I think you need a section that describes what people will find on the site, The key question is whether you want this to be about you as a writer or you as a historian/politician or is it meant to be a magazine reflecting your different interests in literature commentary, Irish history, politics. Only you know the answer to that one 🙂

  6. Great post, and I’m painfully aware that I never give that page any attention! BUT I don’t do photographs, so that one will have to go by the by,,,

    • It took me a while to find the page on your site. Any reason why it’s not in the top menu? It’s funny to find so many bloggers who don’t want their photo used. We can’t be that shy if we have a blog can we??

      • It was on the top menu, but that’s a bit long now because of the club pages and it’s gone behind the image. I need to do a little blog sprucing….

      • I think there are a few things here. One is the assumptions people make re photos … just think (Tinder is it?) where people swipe left or right purely on how you look. The other is the whole facial recognition thing and how that might be used. I’m not a real conspiracist within my own society but internationally I feel a little more circumspect. I don’t do people at all on Instagram and my daughter knows it’s a no-no for me too.

  7. Good advice. Every now and then I pop into my About page, and tweak it. Which reminds me …

  8. Great start, Karen, although that said mine’s pretty much unchanged since I started blooging. I don’t think I can be persuaded to post a photo but you’ve made me think I should have some sort of value proposition heading.

    • Just had a look at your page. It’s in reasonable shape though the value proposition could indeed be more prominent. It reminded me that at one time I had included in my page names pf favourite authors. I’ll have to add that back since its helpful I think.

  9. This has reminded me to review mine. I won’t put up a photo that’s real, instead I let the Penguin do my PR work so I can remain a bit more anonymous. I have never been concerned about how many followeres I get. I review it more as my journal but have made some wonderful friendships. I will have another look at it.

  10. You are right about the About Me page (though I changed its name to Who Am I.) It gets regular hits. I’ve updated it a little a couple of times. But, I don’t have my photo there. I’m not keen having my photo splattered around the Internet, though I have pics of me in a couple of places.

    I hate going to blogs and finding nothing on that page.

    • Nice idea to use Who Am I – it gives a personal touch. Two suggestions for you – make the photo of the gums bigger and more prominent. On my screen it comes over as postage stamp size. Second suggestion – break up your paragraphs more. The text backs are quite dense and would be more difficult to read on a mobile phone screen. Feel free to completely disregard these ideas. It’s your blog, not mine so do with it what you want…..:)

      • Hi Karen. I’m interested in your comments. Do you mean make the gums pic in the Who Am I bigger? Or the gums banner on my overall blog?

        I’m not quite sure what you mean about “the text backs”. What are “text backs”? In Who Am I? the first para in long, so maybe I could break that up? But I need to understand more what you are saying. To be honest, I read very little on phones. I hate the tiny screens, so I read in my laptop or iPad.

        What you are saying makes me think of very old newspaper style (like pre 1950s) where it seems to me that sometimes each sentence was a paragraph!

        • It’s the photo alongside the text in that page, not the one in the banner. Sorry about the confusion I caused about braking up text backs – should have read “text blocks”. I’m typing this on my iPad and even though I have small fingers often press the wrong keys.

          Short paragraphs is the recommended style for web/blog sites based on the knowledge that people tend to skim this content. Some bloggers take it to ridiculous lengths and have a sentence as a paragraph. That irritates me when I see that being over used.

        • Ah, thanks Karen. I know what you mean about typing on the iPad. Text blocks makes much more sense.

          I have just broken up the first para into two. I am aware of keeping paras shorter every post I write. It’s one of the things I look at when I edit my posts but it’s a challenge. I hate the one sentence paragraph. I guess the issue is that paragraphs work differently depending on the platform – laptop/desktop, iPad or mobile phone. I’m not really prepared to succumb to the mobile phone world yet! However, I will continue to try to keep my paragraphs – and my convoluted sentences (haha) – shorter! I appreciate your comment.

          As for the pic, I don’t really think I care much about that. It’s just to break up the text. If it looks little on the phone, then so be it. (You can see how much I love phones can’t you!!)

        • Just saw the change you made. That works fine. I was looking at your site via an iPad (bigger screen than a book page) rather than a phone which was why I mentioned the size of the photo.

          Can I persuade you not to ignore mobile phone readers? They make up an increasingly large part of the population and is how a significant number of readers access info.

        • Thanks Karen!

          You can try, and I know what you are saying, but if I “pander” to them I lose the elegance of paragraphs for the others! Says she fightingly! If I were all about monetising or stats I’d take more note, but as I’m not I’ll just try to make some concessions to them!!!

        • Thank you for giving me a giggle for the day. I can just imagine us lined up ready to go head to head armed with nothing more than a hefty hardback book 🙂

  11. Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins

    Oooh, yes, love your checklist! I just updated my “About Me” sections last week, I try and do it once a year or so – just a bit of a spruce up, make sure everything is still relevant and accurate. Looking forward to seeing what comes from the rest of the alphabet! 😉

    • Love the photo of you as a child reading. It makes the blog feel distinctive. You’ve also done a great job on the section “KUWTP might be for you”. The personality comes through but you are also telling people what to expect

  12. Very good advice, Karen. I’ve been meaning to update my about page since I had to redo my entire blog last November. I’m in COVID-19 overall slump right now, but I’m bookmarking your advice for later. Thanks for this.

  13. Good advice Karen. My About page is unchanged since the day I started, a quote from my dissertation and a couple of lines about me. So I’ve taken the next step and added a photograph (and not the selfie in a bush hat that I used ironically as my icon and have been stuck with ever since). And btw I hope P is for Page.

    • I’m going to have to disappoint you – at the moment P is reserved for something else. But if there is something in particular about pages you want to learn about let me know.

      • That’s fine. I don’t have any technical issues. But it seems to me there is an enormous amount of information stored in Pages that we rarely access – at least partly because we all subscribe to each other and are flat out keeping up with new posts.

        I wonder if we should recognise that there are certain pages we should all contribute to: Lisa’s Indig.Lit Week and Christina Stead, and my Miles Franklin are examples and I’m sure there are others.

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