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.

book blogging

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. 55 Comments.

  1. 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.

  2. 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:)

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

  4. 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 🙂

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 🙂

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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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