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Blogging 101, Day Eight: Make Your “About” Page Irresistible

Today’s assignment: create and publish your About page, and adapt it for a widget on your home page.

You’ve now completed the first week — congrats! It’s been an incredible experience to read your stories, and to see you getting your blogging legs and making real connections with one another.

This week, you’ll continue posting fresh content and personalizing your blog to perfection. Today, we’ll tackle an element that all blogs need: an About page. Some of you have already written one; others have one in progress or feel stuck, and some of you don’t have one at all. Let’s change that.

Today’s assignment: create and publish your About page, and adapt it for a widget on your home page.

Why do this?

  • Because an enticing About page gives your readers an idea of who you are and what your blog is about, information we all look for when figuring out whether we want to read more.
  • Because a short description of your blog right on the home page helps rushed, indecisive readers decide to stick around without requiring them to commit to reading a full post or separate “About” page.

Posts and pages work in harmony: posts are your freshest thoughts, and pages give readers a quick way to find timeless details about you. An About page is the single most important page you’ll have on your blog: it’s likely to become your most-visited content each day, right behind your newest post. 

What goes on an About page? That’s up to you. If you blog anonymously, you could divulge what pushed you to start a blog, and what topics you address in your posts. If you do blog as your real-world self, an About page is the perfect place to say a bit more about your background.

Most importantly, your About page tells your blog’s story. As one of our favorite writers put it, it’s a meal, not a shopping list:

A shopping list and a delicious meal have a lot in common, but they’re not the same thing. Imagine a hungry friend comes over for dinner. Instead of serving your signature spaghetti, you serve a bunch of ingredients. “Pasta!” you announce. “Cheese!” “Tomatoes!” Half an hour in, they start to cry.

That’s what most About pages feel like. “I come from blah blah” you say. “I like dogs” you say. But it doesn’t hold together — it’s just a shopping list. Your job is make those parts into something greater than their sum. Tell us a story, connect the dots.

If you haven’t written your About page yet, take a look at our About Page 101 tips. If you’ve already got something, check out our tips anyway — they’re good! — and then try your hand at  About Pages 201. Take your About page from “here’s a list of things about me” to “here’s a compelling story that will make you want to read more.”

(If you’re not sure where to begin, you already have great fodder for an About page — your first few posts, on why you’re blogging and the post idea that made you want to blog. Copy those right into a new page, and start there.)

Once you’re happy with your About page, distill it into one or two sentences and add them to a text widget at the top of your sidebar — shoot for the widget to have no more than 10 lines. Now, readers can learn more about you without a single click.

If you’re having trouble making it short and sweet, ask yourself: if a total stranger found my blog and only remembered one thing about it, what would I want that to be? You can also add a link to the full page at the end of your short description with some simple HTML.

For a closer look at text widgets and some “About” examples, check out this post. For the basics on creating a new page, use these instructions.

(For those who need an intro to widgets, widgets are small doohickeys — that’s a technical term — that you drag and drop to add different functions and content to your blog. For more detail on working with widgets, head here.)

Now that you’re getting to know one another a bit, you’ll really be able to give great feedback on each others’ pages, so be sure to use the comments here, or head to The Commons.

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  1. I just purchased the Gallery theme and I LOVE it, but would really like to incorporate my Feed the Beast info/widget on a sidebar. It seems to disappear in the bottom of my blog now. Any ideas? Am I stuck with what I have because of my one-column theme? Thanks for thoughts! sbhansenart.com

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    1. The widget areas on the Gallery theme aren’t sidebars. Instead, you have an area in the footer for your widgets, and another that will appear between your post and comments on a single post page. If this is a deal breaker, remember you can request a refund or credit for a premium theme purchase for the first 30 days :) By the way, your images are so vibrant, I love them!

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      1. Thank you so much for the input. I had a feeling this was the case, since I couldn’t find the 2-column option in customizing. I love the theme so much, though, I might have to sacrifice the side-bar widget. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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    1. hi louise! i love the design of your pages, they’re really cleanly designed and very pretty ^_^ i also love your poetry, can’t wait to read some more!

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      1. Thank you! I use Motif as my theme. I have been through all the (free) themes time and time again and I have yet to find one quite as crisp (only downside is it doesnt allow for a nice big banner at the top, thus continuing my search but I’ve yet to find a bannered theme that is quite as sleek). I’m a sucker for great organization. Perhaps one day when I am further into my blogging and am no longer a poor university student (or maybe sooner) I might invest in one of the premium ones. They look lovely :) Take care! Hope to be hearing from you !

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  2. I put this aside for a week, so I’m really glad this came as a reminder to not wait any longer. Just completed my about page, and managed to keep it short (and sweet I hope). Now to the summary widget on the Home page – it might take me another week, or another reminder. ;-)

    http://readytoknit.com/about/

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    1. I’m impressed with your ambition. I have enough trouble writing in one language, and you’re About page is in two!

      I enjoy being creative too, and — since I come from a family of knitters and quilters — I know the basics of knitting, and I agree with you — it is very relaxing! Unfortunately, I get bored easily and never finish my projects, so I have several half-finished scarves lying around and a bag full of cotton yarn intended for dish cloths.

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  3. Even though I have been doing this for 3 1/2 years there are always useful tips.

    I have my About page as the static page that people land on when visiting my blog and I use it as an intro to my blog and my services (I use it to run my small business) and also as an orientation page. It seems to work quite well :)

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  4. Hey guys! Yesterday I asked some of yall to show me your headers and blog, and I’m glad I found some really great ones to follow and have nice conversations with!

    Here’s my about page, I believed I posted it before in Day 1’s assignment, so for those who haven’t got a chance to know me, here’s your chance (wow this sounds like an infomercial): http://lhuwenkai.com/about

    As usual, please leave a comment, either on my site or on the page you’re on right now, so I can check out your blogs and say hi!

    Also, I’m really bad at writing about pages. Unlike my posts and articles, it just doesn’t come naturally to me. So, any feedback will be greatly appreciated :)

    Take care! Hope to see you soon over at my place.

    http://LhuWenKai.com

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    1. I think you’ve made its much more shorter than earlier (from what I remember)? I like the way you write. You come across as so extremely likeable and reader feels instantly more involved in your journey.

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      1. Hello Ellen. I took a look around your blog today. I have one critique: the pink text box should be smaller. As I clicked on your “about me” tab, I was unable to read the subtitles and choose a link. They are cut off quite a bit. I’m on an iPad so perhaps it’s different on a PC. Are you during a responsive theme? If not, that could explain my viewing experience

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      2. Thanks Lana… I will have to see it on an ipad… I am not sure at all how to fix it, although I do use a responsive theme that is supposed to be friendly to ipad and smartphone users as well as laptops.
        Thanks for your time – I will see what I can do to fix it.!

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    1. Cute! I might suggest toning down the yellow background of the widgets to really let your pretty header image be the star, but that’s just a matter of taste. Looking good :)

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  5. I just added the follow by email widget yesterday so didn’t know about the standard message, even though it sounds like we had the opportunity to see it before. Thanks so much for pointing it out again. I definitely wanted to personalize it!

    I appreciate learning all of these different ways of personalizing. Now when I look at other peoples’ blogs I “see” so much more. Great source of new ideas!

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    1. Isn’t it fun when you visit someone’s blog and see a clever customization? It took me a little while to be able to identify them, but now, it’s like, “I see what you did there!”

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    1. You have such a cute layout! I think that your about me stuff looks good. It is short, but it gives an idea of who you are and what your blog will be about. I wouldn’t make them any shorter.

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    2. Cute blog. I love your heart background!

      I think you did a great job with your About page — not too long and not too short, and I know that (if I decide to follow you) I better love to crochet (which I don’t) ‘cuz you’re gonna blog about it lots, lol.

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  6. I neeeeed to do this. I am having such a difficult time with this one though, because in many ways I want to blog anonymously, but then I also understand the power of an About page, because hey, I always go to blogger’s about pages! bleh. I need to work on this…

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    1. Your about page is empty, but you could probably take some of what you’ve written (or maybe all) from “Dear Reader” as your about page. I think that says it all.

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  7. * thank you for the insites thou shares with me& I will get my blog up & going as soon as my calling calls me they said may be a week or two but I still enjoy reading the items & gaining the knowledge of how to write better, have a great inspiration!*

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  8. I’ve modified my About Me page. Its pretty short but more reflective of my blog and its theme. I’ve tried to add humor to it as well so readers know that they are not in for just a sob story :). I’ve also finally managed to add the About Me widget and a picture in the background (same as my header). Suggestions for improvement please?

    http://humpingheart.wordpress.com/

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    1. It is really short but straight to the point and i like the farting joke because farting in front of someone you like can be so nerve wrecking :(. nice job check out mine and tell me what you think. :)

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      1. Thanks. I’ve now added a fun picture as well:)

        About your page – It looks good. Few points of suggestion – 1) you could perhaps move the first para to the end. It just looks odd to me because someone who does not know about your blog is being requested to comment/subscribe 2) I dont know who Colton is so that whole reference is lost on me. I’m sure there will be others like me :)

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    2. Thank you so much for the honest feedback.I really appreciate it.I have taken into account what you suggested and,if you don’t mind looking again to tell me about the changes I have made,I would really appreciate it. :)

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