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How Horrible Is Your About Page? (Or, 5 things I really wish you’d stop doing)

by Marian Schembari on April 9, 2010

A friend recently started a blog and spent THREE DAYS working on her About page. While that may sound excessive, it’s one of the most important parts of your blog. Sometimes people read your About page before they even read your posts. It says everything about you: who you are, what you do when you’re not blogging, why we should listen to you, why we continue to  read your blog… It needs to be smart, to-the-point, funny (if possible), engaging and – above all things – up-to-date.

I’ve seen a lot of extraordinarily shitty pages lately and it’s driving me crazy pants. So without further ado, a little ranty rant on…

The 5 things that make me want to stab myself in the eye when I read your About page:

1. I don’t care about your life story. Not even a little bit.

Seriously, cut that crap out. Unless you’re a celebrity with a fan page, no one cares where you were born or your 20-year career history. We don’t care about those “Fun Facts” (where you went to high school, every obscure publication you’ve written for, how old you were when your parents got divorced).

2. Don’t make me search around for what I want to know.

Do you provide a service? Is your blog uber-personal? Business-oriented? A hobby? If all you’re doing is listing irrelevant stuff (see above) and I can’t figure out what kind of authority you provide – if any – then your About page is a complete waste of space.

3. You have a smallish blog that obviously has no staff yet you write in third person… pssstWe know it’s you.

I don’t think I really need to explain this. Unless you’re working for a major blog with lots of readers, third person bios only work when making the distinction between bloggers. If you’re an author, TV personality, or some other public figure, then a third person bio is okay. Just a blogger writing from your own expertise on cars/birds/planes? Not okay.

4. There’s nothing visually stimulating.

If you have a personal blog, insert a picture. We don’t care what you look like, honestly (except if you’re hot, then everyone wants to do you), but it’s nice to know the person behind the posts. If you have an interesting life story that absolutely must be included (see below), insert subheadings, bold the important stuff and, for God’s sake, insert something pretty here and there so our eyes take a little break.

And the kicker…

5. You don’t have an About page.

WTF? Really, people? Really?

When some of this stuff is okay:

Your life story (if it’s short) can be helpful. For example, in terms of many food blogs, especially dietary. Have a food allergy that made you sick for years? Then it’s okay to talk about your childhood. Have an inspirational blog that started off as your own inspirational story? Appropriate. Does that inspirational story run 17 paragraphs and mention every little detail of said inspiration? Not appropriate.

Irrelevant facts can be used – sparely – if they’re beyond hilarious and it’s obvious you know no one cares about your glass animal collection.

Tired of my bitching? Want to know what makes a really excellent About page?

1. Who are you? Who, who, who, who?

For reals. A banker by day, craft blogger by night? Artist extraordinaire? College student looking for a post-grad career in book jacket design?

2. Make me give some obscene four-letter-word what you have to say.

Is this a personal blog for your friends whilst you travel abroad? Does your unhealthy love for books mean you should share that love via book reviews? Does your 500-year career as a banker mean you give radtastic finance advice? Think of your audience, not about yourself.

3. Extra points if I pee my pants.

Even if your blog is super serious and/or doesn’t lend itself to humor, there isn’t anyone in the whole existence of the universe that doesn’t like to chuckle.

4. Make it easy to find.

Where the hell is your About page? If I have to scroll down for 50 years it’s inconspicuous. Good places: up top in your navigation menu. On the left or right sidebars, but not far enough down that requires scrolling.

5. Links!

We all love links! Links to your best posts, links to a more detailed bio should people want it, links to your Twitter/Flickr/Facebook account(s), linkslinkslinkslinks. LINKS.

(Like what I did there? It’s called linking)

NOTE: It’s been a long day and, as my mom likes to say, “Baby, you need to drink less coffee.”

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  • Eric Montgomery

    RT @marianschembari: How Horrible Is Your About Page? (Or, 5 things I really wish you'd stop doing) #genius

  • Andrea(LilKidThings)

    Love this post! And so far all the posts I have read in the past hour. Thanks!

  • Rob O’Daniel

    Dunno exactly how great it is, but we’ve tried to make our About page kinda informative and useful, within the context of being a hobbyist (non-monetized) blog. I’d like to add links to content and I’m sure there are some WordPress plugins that could simplify that, but I’me still researching…

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  • Shannon Huppin

    RT @MarianSchembari: How Horrible Is Your About Page? (Or, 5 things I really wish you'd stop doing)

  • Anandspeak

    Thank you. I just revisited my blog’s ‘About Me’ page and practically re-wrote it.

  • Karl Rohde

    How horrible is your ABOUT Page? 5 things to stop doing!

  • Georgina Luhur

    How Horrible Is Your About Page? (Or, 5 things I really wish you’d stop doing) — via @MarianSchembari

  • Aashni

    RT @jeorgina: How Horrible Is Your About Page? (Or, 5 things I really wish you’d stop doing) — via @MarianSchembari

  • Martha Williams

    A gem. RT @MarianSchembari: How Horrible Is Your About Page? (Or, 5 things I really wish you'd stop doing)

  • Kelly Scotti

    Im busted…RT @MarianSchembari: How Horrible Is Your About Page? (Or, 5 things I really wish you'd stop doing)

  • Trevor McNally

    Hey Marian, just stumbled across your blog looking for info to get my own blog up and going. I’d like to say you’re content is refreshing, clever, and sarcastic at just the right times.

    Worth taking the time to leave this comment, though I can only type with one hand ;)

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