What Makes a Good Website About Page? (Hint: The Same Details That Make a Great Book Preface or Introduction)

man and woman discussing website content outside coffee shop

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

If you’re creating a website for your business like the hipster fellow in the above photo, you may be wondering, “What should I include in my About page?” How personal should it get? How business-y should it sound?

Here’s how I answered this web content question on the social site Quora a few years ago. My answer still holds true. The last paragraph also applies for writing nonfiction book Prefaces and Intros.

Depending on your industry, a clearly written, friendly About page can be where media people will go to find out who you are—what you’re about—and what ideas you represent. What I’ve told my clients in the past is that while Home pages are often dominated by “the latest news” or a splashy interface displaying a new product or campaign, About pages are where new site visitors go after they’ve seen your sales pitch, when they want to get a sense of who’s selling to them.

Seth Godin published some rules for writing About pages on his blog. One of them was “Be human. Write like you talk and put your name on it. Tell a story, a true one, one that resonates.”

I agree. Compelling personal stories are eye-catching. They also function as the most immediate of all possible testimonials: your story about why you started your business, wrote your book, or founded your non-profit.

For many business endeavors, the story goes something like this: “I saw a need. Nobody was filling this need. So I jumped in and created something I’m proud of. I know it will help you, because it helped me. Please get in touch and let me know how you like my product. I welcome your feedback.”

How does this relate to nonfiction books?

Nonfiction books of the self-help or how-to variety are information products–emphasis on the word “products.” As such, their introductory material often covers the same ground as a website About page: you need readers to know quickly who’s selling them this information. What makes you, the author, the right person to teach me something over the course of a few days or weeks?

Here’s a handy analogy:

Website splash page = book back cover copy. The energetic words and occasional overselling (let’s be honest!) catch your eye when you’re browsing online or in the bookstore.

About page = book introduction and/or preface. Inside the book is the place you go to learn more about the author–their personal story, their background, and why they felt compelled to write this book.

Do you need help writing or editing an About page, professional bio, book preface, or statement about your business? I can help. Let’s talk!

Things I’m Writing About, Editing, and Reading This Week: May 18, 2015 Edition

 

Things I’m Writing About, Editing, and Reading This Week

Writing about. . . Cursed fibers, crochet, revenge, and a haunting for my feature film script 

Editing. . . Management techniques and health safety protocols for a client’s instructional design product

. . . and website copy for a humor book I helped to edit last year

Reading. . . Olive Kitteridge (link) because I loved the HBO series, and . . . Mad Men articlesThat series finale — huh?

On the horizon: back to writing about sink holes for a short story, and. . . Your project. There’s a hole in my schedule after June 1. Need something written, rewritten, or edited? Give me a shout!

– Kristen

Which Metrics Matter?

Note: This post was originally published on 563media.com.

Everyone’s always talking about metrics, analytics, and measuring results. While being able to measure your success in any endeavor is critical (especially when budgets are involved), it’s easy to get hung up on the wrong numbers. For example, if your business is a service business requiring an initial phone conversation, is it really that important that you set up a goals funnel tracking how many people click on your latest blog post (and where they go next)?

Read moreWhich Metrics Matter?