The ‘About’ page. How useful is it really?

How important is it to you to know a little something about who is writing the blog you are reading? Am in the only one who reads the ‘about’ page automatically when I stumble across a new blog? In fact, it was a problem with his about page that got me talking to Josh in the first place. I am constantly tweaking my own, trying to second guess what potential readers might want to know, and what will make me sound interesting/intriguing enough to make them subscribe (or at least bookmark me for future browsing when they’re bored).

I found a site the other day – the author’s comment on another blog I read caught my eye, so I went clicky-clicky and liked what I saw, but… I find myself wanting at least something on an about page. From just reading posts, I have worked out he is a he, and I *think* he is UK based. That’s it. It’s added an extra dimension to reading his posts now. I can slowly piece together little bits till I know more. Reading someone’s blog can be a very intimate experience and… I think getting to know this author is going to be fun (in a non-stalker type way, I assure you). Still, if the first post I read hadn’t been the one it was, but the one before, I doubt I would have stayed around. Luck of the draw.

I’m not saying that the presence of an ‘about’ page would make me more likely to stay when content doesn’t grab me, but I can think of several instances when I’ve given a blog the benefit of the doubt because it looks like the person could have something interesting to say, even if they’ve not said it yet.

I can think of one site that recently linked to me in a very complimentary fashion. The site styled itself as a ‘blog’ with multiple authors, yet there was no about page – either setting the goals of the blog, or telling me about the individual authors. Added to that, all the writers strove for a impersonal style. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with that per se, it makes it a deal harder to pick apart who’s saying what, and to form valid opinions of their ideas.

In this age of splogs, an ‘about’ page can be a valuable clue. Not that it is a sure-fire test – there’s nothing to stop a sploger putting some fake blurb – but it is one extra piece of the puzzle. If a site fails to have an about page, I find myself asking what they are trying to hide.

It doesn’t have to be much, but I like there to be something. Something telling me about the person writing. Something telling me about why they write. Something telling me about their credentials… Something. Something that makes them not a faceless corporation or nameless scribe. Part of the beauty of blogs for me, and why I read them, is that they are personal.

Given the prevalence of blogs and websites out there, it’s hard enough to grab potential readers attention. I find that putting personality into posts is the best way to grab my attention. If I wanted straight news I’d go to a newspaper. I come to blogs for the news filtered through individual perceptions.

As a writer your voice is unique. Let it shine. And let me see something about you. I’m not saying give me your whole life story – but a little something to make you stand out from the crowd would be nice.

So, dear readers, do you read ‘about’ pages? What do you expect or want from them? Does their absence make you think twice about a blog if you weren’t sure in the first place? Do you prefer blogs where the personality of the writer shines through, or more impersonal unbiased blogs/sites? I’m genuinely curious here.

17 thoughts on “The ‘About’ page. How useful is it really?

  1. Yep, I read about pages. After reading your post, though, I think my ‘about’ page may be a little lacking in the bits and pieces you’re really wanting.

    I’ll be rewriting it soon with your thoughts on the matter in mind.

  2. I’m not saying what I want in an about page is what you should have in an about page. Hell, I’m not even happy with my own about page!

    Thinking about it a bit more, so long as I’ve got a name for you, a vague geographic location (yes, this is important, because it can affect everything from your cultural upbringing, to the news you can receive, to the very words you can publish), and a hint at how you spend your days (are you a problogger, a student, a professional…?), that might be enough. Anything more is icing on the cake.

    Oh, and a brief splurge about what you think your content is most likely to consist of is always nice.

    The hardest part for me in knowing what not to say. I’ve never been one to use one word when ten will sound better.

  3. Are you implying that you’re rather verbose?

    Surely not! 😉

    In regards to what you like to see in an About page – I still need to add a few things to make you content. (Location / current status in life, i.e. student, professional, etc.)

  4. Not that I’m trying to stop you here (if only everyone would do things my way… *dreams*). I am wondering though if what I want is really what is right/proper.

  5. True. I do think that profession / past experience in a certain field is important to note, though.

    I wouldn’t want to put much time into reading a blog about networking, if the person’s background was in, say, basket weaving. 🙂

  6. i am not good in making about me page or so called colophon but I do click on the about page first whenever I arrive on someone’s weblog. If I like the content then I’d be very curious about the author [where s/he lives, etc]. But one other thing that’s according to me, important for a site is: the email form, or just email address because sometime I need to contact the webmaster but don’t find any email [especially if the webmaster is a maker of WP plug-in and I need to ask him/her about the plug-in s/he has made, it’s quite annoying when I don’t find her/his email 🙁 ]

  7. I think I’m a bit lazy when it comes to reading about pages. I usually only skim through them and look for details like, where someone is from, their name, age, interests, etc..

    My About page is the 6th most viewed page on my site.. I dont know if that says anything… but I know a lot of people at least load it up because I get about 4 or 5 people filling out my contact form every day and that is only linked from my about page.

  8. I am definately one to go read an about page. It’s usually the second thing I do when I find a new blog after reading the initial post that brought me there. I am often slaving over my about page to make sure it says everything it should or everything it could. It’s just so hard to tell, especially when your life is as boring as mine =)

    *heads off to read about page*

  9. Welcome Anand, Kristin, Pablo, and welcome back anonymuis

    My thanks for your input.

    So we’re all agreed then – “what’s ya name and where’d ya come from” is the minimum necessary requirement for an about page? *

    *To all readers who are familiar with UK TV, that last sentence should be read in a Cilla Black tone from “Blind Date”.

  10. I always read the about pages first. Liked your Cas…. very detailed indeed. 😀

    Mine needs a lot of work. I only started my new blog, I have had several before… and I just haven’t had time to write much on my about page. Any hints or tips…. At present it basically has the bare minimum.

    Blind date…. now that is going back. lol
    Also…. who is this blogger from the UK? I would like to check it out, not that many popular UK blogs, the UK is just dull in comparision to the bustling life of an America lol

  11. Thank you Crazy 🙂
    As for detailed, I feel it might be TOO detailed, but I can never decide what to leave out. But then, that’s my style. Splurge everything on the page and let the reader pick out the good bits. Can’t make things too easy now.

    As for UK blogs – I guess it’s that British reserve. Or, we’re just to busy having great and exciting lives to have the time to blog about them.

    I do find a good listing if you are genuinely looking though.

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  13. I love About Pages. Regardless of how I stumble upon a site, usually a link eh, I always go to the About Page first, before I even read what it is I am there to read. I find it helps add some flavor to the posts. Without an About Page I’m left to make assumptions on my own and not being the brightest bulb I’ll usually make poor ones. An About Page helps orient me to “you” and you have a very nice one by the way. Mine, alas, is currently pooh but I’m working on it and given the way I do so it should be up and finished in eight-nine years.

  14. I like the about page. It’s where I get the best summing up anyone has ever done of me that makes me grin each time I read it!


  15. *breathes a sigh of relief*
    I’m glad you like it 😀 I always try to make people’s bios as fun-but-true as possible.

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