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Blogging 101: Make Your “About” Page Irresistible

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

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

Remember, comments are closed on Blogging U. assignments. If you have a question, or want to share or chat, head to The Commons.

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

This week, you’ll continue publishing and personalizing your blog to perfection. First up, 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?

  • An enticing About page gives your readers an idea of who you are and what your blog is about, and shows off your unique voice.
  • A short description of your blog right on the home page helps rushed, indecisive readers decide to stick around.

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’re not sure where to begin, you already have great fodder for an About page — your first few posts. Copy those right into a new page, and start there, then 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.”

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.

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.

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.

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 head to The Commons.

Feel like posting today? Try a post inspired your About page. Here are a few questions to get you started:

What are the key pieces of your story you included in the About widget? Why did you make those the focus, instead of all the other wonderful things about you and your blog?

Are there topics you don’t ever want to write about? Why not? What fact was hardest to leave off your About page or widget?

What are the top three things you’d like to learn, or ways you’d like to grow, from blogging? The top three people you’d like to connect with?

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