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Copy Clinic #3: Notbanksy's 5-minute guide to the perfect 'about me' page


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#1 Notbanksys Copy Shoppe

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 13:18

Notbanksy's 5-minute guide to the perfect 'about me' page

Or why your about page is off-putting to potential customers and ruins your website

 

Writing a brilliant about page is far from easy, but learning the elements that make one up is a piece of cake, so discover here my 5 minute guide to the perfect about me page.

 

Get ready to see your current about page commit hare-kiri in shame, and learn these simple, fundamental techniques for engaging customers and building rapport:

 

  • Building a window instead of a wall gives clients the insight they're looking for

  • The picture that helps build trust

  • Telling a story puts prospects at ease

  • They're waiting for you to make an offer

 

Put simply, your 'about me' page isn't what you think it is. It's not there for you to tell the world about how you like to go train-spotting or whatever in your spare time, it's there because, (believe it or not) clients and prospects are interested to know you.

 

For freelancers, this is especially important. If you think they want to know how your clean designs and standards compliant solutions are the dogs teabags, then get to the back of the class and pay attention.

 

Who reads this crap anyway?

You feel more comfortable working with people you know, right? So don't be surprised to learn that anyone who is considering working with you is interested in your about page, because they want to know what you're like. What they actually want is to steal a glimpse of your humanity, because they need to know if they can trust you.

 

I'm gonna repeat that in case you weren't paying attention (at the back).

 

They need to know if they can trust you.

 

Which is why, when it comes to your about page, you should build a window, not a wall. (Yeah, OK, I nicked that from another page - but it's good, innit?) Meaning, don't graffiti the page with boastful claims about how you're passionate about great design, progressive enhancement, Columbian coffee and zzz....

 

Sorry, bored myself shitless for a minute.

 

They want to know what you're like to work with. I know - weird ain't it?! But it's only weird because you've been conditioned by the great British education and the illiteranet at large to write about your business as if you've just had a frontal lobotomy and still coming around from the general anaesthetic.

 

The truth is, you're not used to talking about yourself openly and honestly, especially where your business is concerned - but that's exactly what you need to do, while retaining a strong business focus. In other words, build a 'window.'

 

It's not an essay, it's a conversation

There's a common theme in all the copy clinic posts so far, so no prizes for anticipating this one. But your about page is not an essay. It's a part presentation, part conversation. But it's only gonna work if you come across as approachable, genuine, and honest.

 

So what sort of things should you say?

 

Well, to begin with, a gentle introduction into how you got started as a freelance web designer wouldn't hurt. But not in too much detail, and don't be boring! Just give prospects an overview of your background so they can quickly decide if you're worth reading more about.

 

For example, compare

"I studied computer systems for 6 years at MIT before deciding to become a web designer"

with

"During my gap year I started writing poetry, and decided to publish it online. Not trusting any of the blogging platforms with my work, I decided to design and build my own. I don't write poems any more because I'm too busy perfecting my open source CMS..."

 

The first one sounds like someone trying not to say "I failed my IT exams, so now I'm a web designer" while the second sounds like someone you'd trust to take a project seriously.

 

Get it? Not so hard, is it?

 

!Important: Be specific

 

If you feel it's important to demonstrate your value to prospects (which it absolutely is) then you need to make sure you're always specific; never vague. The difference is huge.

 

Compare:

"All my work is built on an agile grid framework with multiple jQuery hooks to create a lean, clean, proper-fancy solution that local businesses go crazy for."

with:

"When Bill from LocalCorps came to me, his bloated, ugly home page had a bounce rate of nearly 70%. Two months later, we had his page load time down to under a second, his bounce rate down to 25% and his conversions more than tripled. Now we're working on his social media strategy together..."

 

For some reason, you see a whole lot of the first kind of writing on about pages, and not a lot of the second. But I can GUARANTEE you that your prospects will take more notice of the second. Why? Because it gives them something they can understand in terms of a potential benefit to their business, and it proves that you're trustworthy (to Bill, and by extension to all your clients). The first kind of writing just comes across as boastful and boring.

 

I'll show you mine...

If you show me yours! Ok, get your mind out of the gutter - this is a serious point I'm trying to make here. The point being, wherever possible, use visual and emotive language.

 

The better you are at describing actual, tangible things, or feelings, the more likely you are to land yourself a new prospect. Which is why taking a case study of a particularly successful job is such a good way to go. You get to say just how thrilled Bill from LocalCorps was with his fast-loading new website and tripled conversion rate. Prospects will naturally put themselves in Bill's shoes, and imagine that working with you is going to be not only good for business, but pleasant.

 

What's the best way to make room for emotive and visual language in your about page? Tell a story. It doesn't have to be a novel and it doesn't have to be a beginning-middle-end story. The paragraph about Bill is a story. It's about people, and what happens to them. And people like to read about things they can relate to. Like people. And things happening to them. Capiche? Good.

 

Launch a thousand ships with your boat

Do you want to learn a trick that will make your competitors laugh at you while you steal all their prospects? Thought so!

 

All you've got to do is put a picture of your boat* on your about page. (*in cockney rhyming slang: boat race = face).

 

I can hear y'all complaining already: But !b, I'm not good-looking like you. Who wants to see my hideous mug on a webpage? Shut up already!

 

Because actually, you're wrong. Obviously, make an effort for the photo, and wipe the tomato sauce off your chin before the shutter closes. But it's a clever psychological trick. When clients see your face, they see that you're not Brad Pitt (or some snot-nosed Hollywood upstart). They see you're just an average guy or gal who feels a bit awkward in front of the camera, and they're gonna empathise. They're gonna say to themselves: this person is like me. Cha-ching!

 

Before you go

So you've done everything I've taught you? Great. But there's one more thing. And if you don't use this, you've sort of wasted all that effort. Sort of.

 

If you don't tie your about page in to your offer in some way, you're a mug. Because it's the perfect place to ask for their business. And it doesn't make you look desperate or smarmy. It makes you look smart and proactive. Like someone they'd want to work with...

 

Finally, a great example of a well-written about page: http://mailchimp.com/about/ for pretty much all the reasons given above. And because there's a monkey!

 

Post your questions in the thread and I'll answer them!

 

And if you're just too damn busy to write your about page yourself, give me a shout at anthony [at] vividcopy.co.uk


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Git up offa that thang: Copy Clinic #7: Write copy like a sex machine
 

The Brand New Copy Shoppe is now open for business!

 

Bounce rate higher than a kangaroo's trampoline party? Email me at tony [at] copyshoppe.co.uk

 


#2 Gibson

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 15:18

Good stuff, Ant.


The only thing I'd say is Mailchimp's about me page doesn't make it clear that there's any copy. I had to "guess" that there was by scrolling down. When you first go onto it though the whole screen is taken up with that photo of them. However, that's nothing to do with the actual copy itself.


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#3 Notbanksys Copy Shoppe

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 11:52

Good stuff, Ant.


The only thing I'd say is Mailchimp's about me page doesn't make it clear that there's any copy. I had to "guess" that there was by scrolling down. When you first go onto it though the whole screen is taken up with that photo of them. However, that's nothing to do with the actual copy itself.

Thanks Gib :)

 

Yeah I take your point - I did a quick double take there too. Which I suppose leads into a future edition of copy corner: how to present your copy so that people will read it.

 

Once you read the copy, what did you think?


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Git up offa that thang: Copy Clinic #7: Write copy like a sex machine
 

The Brand New Copy Shoppe is now open for business!

 

Bounce rate higher than a kangaroo's trampoline party? Email me at tony [at] copyshoppe.co.uk

 


#4 Jheg

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 21:44

Great write up again !b. You've got the beginnings of a book with these copy clinics mate they're very easy to read. Even for me! Really informative +1


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#5 Renaissance-Design

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 14:13

What if you happen to be good-looking and totally at home in front of the camera? I'm asking for a friend.
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#6 Notbanksys Copy Shoppe

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 15:31

What if you happen to be good-looking and totally at home in front of the camera? I'm asking for a friend.

Your friend should ask you to stand in for him, as it will create a more realistic picture for the prospect ;p


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#7 MMedia

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:43

**** you I'm not ugly and that's not tomato sauce, it's clients blood!
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#8 MMedia

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 09:50

This post reminds me I need to put our about page up, when I've finally done it I'll post here so you can critique! :)


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#9 KayaIsmail

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 22:46

Great guide Banksy!

I'd like to think that my About page on ym personal blog fits the bill. Link in my signature, would love some feedback!


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#10 Lewwy

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 09:07

Great guide Banksy!

I'd like to think that my About page on ym personal blog fits the bill. Link in my signature, would love some feedback!

 

He's not Banksy.


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#11 KayaIsmail

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 11:14

He's not Banksy.

Haha. The secret was almost out... :biggrin:


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#12 DigitalSquid

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 12:09

Great guide Banksy!

I'd like to think that my About page on ym personal blog fits the bill. Link in my signature, would love some feedback!

To be brutally honest, it starts off okay but then quickly devolves into a below average "follow the dream" squeeze page.

 

If you really want feedback on it and are not just fishing for more subscribers then start a new topic about it.


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#13 KayaIsmail

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 12:15

To be brutally honest, it starts off okay but then quickly devolves into a below average "follow the dream" squeeze page.

 

If you really want feedback on it and are not just fishing for more subscribers then start a new topic about it.

If it isn't brutally honest, then what's the point, right? I think you're right actually, I need to shorten it/get rid of the dreamy parts. 

Me? Fishing for subscribers? Never.  :ninja:


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#14 Notbanksys Copy Shoppe

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 14:45

If it isn't brutally honest, then what's the point, right? I think you're right actually, I need to shorten it/get rid of the dreamy parts. 
 

I dunno. I actually thought it was a good balance of 'about' and selling. There was enough about you to get a feel for who you are, and enough emotional content (the dreamy parts) to instill a sense of intrigue in the reader. Could it be better? Yes. But as about pages go, I think it's pretty good. 

 

Would you be willing to share the stats for this page Kaya?


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Git up offa that thang: Copy Clinic #7: Write copy like a sex machine
 

The Brand New Copy Shoppe is now open for business!

 

Bounce rate higher than a kangaroo's trampoline party? Email me at tony [at] copyshoppe.co.uk

 


#15 KayaIsmail

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 15:08

 

I dunno. I actually thought it was a good balance of 'about' and selling. There was enough about you to get a feel for who you are, and enough emotional content (the dreamy parts) to instill a sense of intrigue in the reader. Could it be better? Yes. But as about pages go, I think it's pretty good. 

 

Would you be willing to share the stats for this page Kaya?

 

Thanks for the encouraging words :)

Yeah I still think I can sand down the dreamier part at the end, and it could use tightening up in other parts too. Im afriad I don't share stats/reports from this site. 
 


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#16 cwvps

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Posted 08 September 2015 - 09:55

I currently have only one sentence (a complex one, though, haha) on my About page on one of my sites. Will need to go and change it.


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