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The Usability and Creative Freedom of an About Me Page  

:: Friday, September 09, 2005 ::

When Andy Beal, friend and famous SEO/SEM/Blog guy, launched his new blog, Marketing Pilgrim, I clicked around it, as if poking around someone's house.

Finding his About Andy Beal page, despite already knowing him, I peeked anyway.

It's a great About Me page, and clever. Why? Because he presents himself in a warm, funny, but still factual and professional way.

It's hard to write about yourself. You try to pretend that anyone cares, for starters.

One of my solutions for handling this is in my Cre8pc Blog, in the navigation section where I talk about me (under the heading called "Self-Esteem on Steroids"), endlessly. There's a kind of funny way you can present yourself, sort of tongue in cheek-like, and still get the message across.

Andy does it in his About page, with headings like "Does he know anything?" and "Does anyone listen to him?" and you can plainly see, by way of the many many logos, that he's made his point.

He does it again with "Can he put two sentences together?", which is where readers learn he is a speaker at conferences and seminars. He doesn't resort to a bland heading like "My Speaking Experience". Blech!

I like this let-me-talk-about-me-behind-my-back approach because it allows the writer, who in many cases is writing about themselves and trying to sound objective, drop the ego and yet show off themselves at the same time.

For usability, an About Us page is a workhorse in my opinion. When I test sites, I've noticed that the kind of introductory content I'm hoping to find on the homepage, such as the what/where/how/why/when details, is hiding quietly in the About Us page. While I'm happy to find this information, it's a click away from the homepage, where its most needed to make a quick impression.

About Us pages are used differently, depending on the requirements of a site. For a blog, there is often very little in the header or body about the purpose of the blog, or any particulars about who it belongs to, why it exists, how long it's been online, what its about or where its based. Much of that isn't as important because a blog isn't trying to sell you a car or vitamins. It's selling opinions and information. Sometimes a little curious peek at the author is all a reader wants.

In Andy's case, he sells his expertise on his About page, which fortifies his blog's reputation. It may mean the difference between getting a link from a qualified source, or not.

For ecommerce, an About Us page can help meet authenticity and credibility requirements in the same way. Most About Us pages on ecom sites are boring to read and knowing this, most prospective customers ignore them. This is a lost opportunity to persuade prospects and in some cases, increase conversions (sales/traffic/subscriptions/registrations, etc.)

If you want to stand out in the crowd, try to create a unique way to talk about your company or self. Introduce your hardworking staff. Share your mission statement. Do you get involved with your local community? What organizations do you belong to? Has a magazine featured your product or service? What led you do to this business?

We like to think the Internet has brought us all a little bit closer to each other, but the truth is, we're still seeking ways with our writing and design skills to make profitable or friendly connections. An About Us/Me page, when presented with humor, honesty and true facts, can bring you one step closer to letting someone shake your hand.

Care to discuss this topic?


Years after the search engine optimization industry was born, it's still trying to figure out what to name itself. Search Engine Engineering
"This may sound crazy, but I think Search Engine Optimizaiton should have an additional classification: Search Engine Engineering."

The Human Spirit

Share the love. Cre8asiteforums Moderator, Ruud Hein, chooses to focus on the positive. His Good News Blog was just featured in this week's Newsweek magazine.
"Good News features real, positive news. Upbeat news. Not in denial - but in affirmation of the tremendous stream of everyday good news caused by good people like you.

Good News is not prepared or published by paid professionals. Good News is a reader-supported website."

On Hurricane Katrina: Support, Expression, Communication

"In the past days, now, the coming days, and for a considerable time to come, US americans will be asked "but why...?". That will be hard sometimes, bugging at other times. But that question will be aimed at your government, not you as a society."

"It could be your family or mine living on an Interstate with no food and water, watching an elderly relative die for lack of medicine or oxygen . . . please ask the tough questions for the future -- it's already too late for this disaster. We're all only one storm away from this kind of tragedy in our own backyards."

"While I was touched and grateful for all the offers of aid coming in from all sorts of countries all over the world, what touched me the most was the offer of aid from Sri Lanka that I heard about on the news last night."

"It occurred to me that when I donated to the ONE.org program, it was to raise awareness on poverty. However, Hurricane Katrina did it without a rock concert and just to make sure she was really heard, she aimed directly at the heart of the jazz and blues."

"The fact that Bush will not accept the generous offers of aid from Cuba and Venezuela shows that he puts his pride above the welfare of the people that he is supposed to serve. This is not a good quality in a 'leader'!"

"Man, Tsunami, then Hurricane... what next? If these things aren't a reminder that we are all constantly in peril from a planet that has more power than there are bombs, these few natural disasters should prove it!"

"This creativity and generosity of spirit can't be destroyed and one wonders why terrorists think they have a chance at all. Death is a temporary shock and devastating, but the human spirit never dies and in fact pushes back with even more resolve and better ways to ensure survival."

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 9/09/2005 09:32:00 AM

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