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Your online bio, or About Me page, is typically the second most viewed page on your blog or website. It is the first place readers go when they are intrigued by your blog post or the content on your website’s home page.
A good About Me page can open doors.
Done right, your About Me page will rise above all others written in faceless corporate-speak. It will motivate people to want to know more about you and your freelancing business — and to take the next step.
But an About Me page can be tricky to write, especially if you are a freelancer who wears several hats.
Your page’s focus is determined by who your online audience is and what they hope to get from you. It might even bring unexpected surprises from people who found you from a Google search. You might be asked to write guest posts on other industry blogs. You might even get requests for interviews from journalists.
Keep these tips in mind as you set off to create the perfect About Me page for your freelancing site.
1. Know your audience.
Be crystal clear about your blog or website’s goals and the audience you are seeking to attract. Who do you want to connect with and for what purpose? A good start is to write a short description, not of your typical client, but your ideal one. Be as specific as you can. This won’t be live on your page, but will help as you read on.
2. Tell us your story.
Your clients will enjoy learning more about what motivated you to enter your field or industry. Be sure to tell them not just what you are doing, but why. The story might be about how you got into your field. It will have even more impact if you tell how you solved a problem for a client. Using an engaging story can strengthen your brand and pull your readers and potential clients in closer.
3. Ditch the résumé.
Think about it. When was the last time someone decided to hire you based on the college you attended?
Degrees and other work experience don’t matter as much as what you have proven you can do for clients.
In fact, if it feels more like you are applying for a job than seeking freelance work, you are in trouble. If you do mention degrees, make sure they are tied directly to the kind of work you are doing for your clients. And don’t lead with them.
On the length issue, About Me pages can vary widely. You might consider a quick read — a sort of two-minute version — for busy people and a link to an in-depth one (“the full story about me”) for the more curious.
If you have clearly defined who you are, what you do, and who your ideal client is (see tip #1), this should be easy to do. Be ruthless in your first draft and toss anything, no matter how proud you are of it, if it doesn’t match your potential client’s needs.
4. Give us a peek at the real you.
A good rule is to make it 80 percent business and 20 percent personal. Beyond that, show us some of the personality that makes you unique. If there is a personal experience that made you better at what you do today, tell us about that. It might even be a “7 Things You Don’t Know About Me” section, where you show us a little of your personal side.
Just give us some things that change you from an online persona to the real, live, breathing, wonderfully unique person that you are.
Keep tip number 2 in mind here — treat it like a story.
Like the appetizer at your favorite restaurant, your About Me page should leave your readers with a small taste and a desire for more.
Don’t tell them everything and the kitchen sink; you still want them to pick up the phone (or send that email) to continue the conversation.
5. Make it easy for potential clients to connect with you.
This is really your call to action. If this is your goal — to get questions and requests — you will want to make it as simple as possible. There are several ways to do this:
- Put a hyperlinked “email me” message right in the text of your About Me page.
- Link to a “find out more about me” page (but be sure on that page to also direct readers to the contact form/email me page).
- Add a formal contact form with check-off boxes that pinpoint and direct readers’ interests, especially if you freelance in several different areas.
Ideally, your About Me page will use more than one of these strategies.
6. Make it ‘sticky.’
Using some “sticky” words merely means that your readers get a picture in their minds. Research has shown that what we can visualize, we remember. How do you do that? By using image-rich words that appeal to the senses. If you are writing your first book, it’s likely that this fact will whoosh right out of my brain. If you give me the name of the book and a brief sentence that describes it in concrete terms, I’ll probably remember that.
When you tell a story about how you got to where you are today, paint a scene with your words and your readers won’t forget.
7. Make it SEO-friendly.
I would be remiss if I left SEO out of this list. The SEO principles that work well in your other web content apply equally on your About Me page.
As usual, the hard part is balancing the technical SEO part with engaging, human-focused content that doesn’t read like keyword soup.
That said, strategically placed keywords can bring more organic traffic to your site. In looking at keywords, it helps to figure out the terms people are searching with when they are looking for a freelancer in your specific field. Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a free tool that lets you search for keyword ideas, get stats and see how your keywords might perform.
Consider crafting a benefit-rich headline instead of a title that says “About Me.” For instance, on his about page, John Haydon — one of the best social media marketers for nonprofits that I know — has a main headline that talks about “Smart nonprofit marketers and fundraisers,” followed by a subhead that simply says, “About John Haydon.”
There are a lot of elements that go into a head-turning About Me page, but these seven tips should start your thinking. Do you have other examples of great about pages? Share them with us in the comments!