31 Days to a Better Blog – Day 5: Audit your ‘About’ page
Sunday, August 5th, 2007
The task set out for day 5 of the 31 Days to a Better Blog project was to run and audit of your About page. Darren comes up with some really useful points which are useful to blogs and websites too, and some helpful quick tips pages on what to include on such a page. Many of these tips have relevance for not only blogs, but also for general websites too, and will work in the non-profit website communications arena too.
When I design standard websites for organisations, I spend alot of time on the ‘About’ page working with a group. I help them work through key areas which help to pull their mission messages, information about their site and who it is aimed at, to enable the page to have clarity and give a clear concise message to help their readers.
There are a lot of organisations that I have helped who originally put their whole constitution on and all their policies in full on one big long page on which to me, puts off potential readers when they use that important about page to establish who the organisation is and what they do.
Remember what if it was a potential funder or supporter reading all of this! Does the reader need to read the full long governing document for that group? What added value does that document, and some of the internal operational policies give and do they even need to be on the site at all? Quite often this streamlining process gains additional value, as when we’ve worked through this part together, the group often begins to look at the rest of their information and communications and it helps them to clarify their purpose and vision.
Anyway, back to the task, Darren quotes the following about the importance of a good About page:
One of the key pages on a blog is the about page. This page is often used by new readers to a blog to gather information about you and your blog and based upon what they find on this page they could be making a decision as to whether they’ll subscribe to your blog or not.
As a result, your About Page is a key conversion page on your blog and it therefore needs to be reworked regularly.
As a result it’s essential that you provide up to date, useful and well written information on this page.
Include compelling reasons for people to keep tracking with your blog and provide them with the means to do so within the content (RSS, newsletter etc).
Take some time today to do an audit of your About Page. What does it communicate? How could you improve it?
My own About page on this blog needs a fair bit of attention paying to it, so how can I make it better?
Like Michele on her Bamboo Project Blog, I had discovered that a new reader may not be familiar with blogs, and maybe some more information is needed to enable the new reader especially, to not feel excluded from taking part in reading further on my site.
I decided to compare my main website’s About me page which is written in a different way as it has a different type of reader.
It is alot more professional and informative, and seems abit more up to date and relevant to what I am aiming to convey and deliver with my main site (although this has reminded me that my main site needs another overhaul and soon too!). Alot of the information portrayed in my other About me page, wouldn’t necessarily be relevant to my blog, although it has highlighted that I really need to improve this blog’s about me page. I have been possibly abit remiss about the importance of it compared to the one I have on my other site, for no particular reason, except that I am now realising the strength of attracting and keeping a better readership if I convey abit more useful information.
I haven’t changed my About page yet, but will aim to add to it in the coming weeks. As my blog has been evolving and am now getting more readers, I have recently added a small piece about who I am on the home page with a link to the About page for further information which wasn’t there before, and a bigger easier to see RSS link. Previously readers had to do a good bit of searching on the page to find out who I was and how to sign up to the RSS feed to stay up to date. But I did become aware as part of this task, that that link to the About me page, leads to, well, not alot more information. If I am trying to enable a new reader to be able to establish whether they follow my blog, or take part in it, it is essential that I do some work on this.
Michele Martin wrote today about some of the changes she has already made to her blog which I think would be good to implement too. Since my first reader audit, I have been designing and toying with some new navigation tabs to go beneath my header of the key pages. What may provide even more use, especially to a new reader would also be some additional tabs as well as the key pages listed on how to use the site and as Michele suggests about RSS and what it means.
On her post she said this is what she has changed on her site –
- A section called “What Is a Blog and How Do I Use It?”–This includes a brief description of a blog and how to use tags, RSS and archives to access content.
- A section on Commenting–Step-by-step instructions on how to comment, including notifying readers that I use a spam catcher that adds an extra step. I also encourage readers to email me if they have problems.
- A Section on RSS and how to use it–I followed my own advice and added a section on how to sign up for RSS. I reference it in my About Page, but you’ll see in the left sidebar that I’ve also added it as its own section. Again, I tried to make the title as descriptive as possible–“Want Automatic Notification When I Add New Posts? Read More Here!”
The learning from this task has been of great value. I aim to try to put some of these great ideas into practice on this site very soon, and try to keep a balance of useful pointers for new readers without detracting from the main content and messages. It’s also been really helpful for me to understand in greater depth some of the differences in design concepts of a traditional website and that of a blog, and now that a lot of non-profit organisations are now integrating both in their communications to a wider audience, hopefully I’ll be able to share some of my learning with them too.