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.