Congratulations! You have written something that has inspired your reader to say, “Wow! Who is this author? I want to know more!” Now you just need a fantastic biography for your About page so your readers can get to know you.
5 Easy Steps to Biography Awesomeness
Your About page should be an introduction to you. It should tell your reader about who you are and why you are an authority on your specific topic.
Your About page should specify your background, training, and overall proficiency on your subject. It should spell out for the reader why it is that they should listen to you.
If your website is professional in nature, you might want to take some time to consider branding before you write your biography.
Talk with your friends, coworkers, and people who share an interest in your topic to get an idea about what information is most helpful for your readers to know about you, your team, or your organization. Try to get each person to give you three important things about you that they believe everyone should know in order to establish that you are knowledgeable enough to be trusted by your readers.
Ask yourself: What will your readers want to know about you based on the topic of your website. If you’re writing a blog about hamsters, your reader will probably be more interested in knowing how long you’ve owned hamsters than what your job is (unless it’s hamster related).
With your brand and target audience in mind, what image is ideal for you to project? What language is the most appropriate for communicating about your business?
-Loolwa Khazzoom, Five Steps to Repositioning Your Business
Look at other About pages on the internet for websites with similar topics. You will want your About page to be unique, but seeing what other people have done with their About page might help you determine what should or should not be on your page.
2. Free Writing – A Time Based Art
Set a timer for 20 to 30 minutes and write about yourself, your team if you have one, or your organization with your research from step one in mind.
Write everything you can think of without worrying about structure: focus on getting ideas on the page without stopping. This creative process will help you remember details that might be helpful when introducing yourself to your readers. Where did you go to school? What have you done recently? What are you working on now? Why should your reader trust you?
Walk away for awhile.
When we allow ourselves to relax and stop trying too hard, our mind keeps going at its own pace – and sometimes with astonishing results.
-Timi Gustafson, The Importance of Taking Breaks
When you come back from your break, spend some time considering what will work for your biography, and what will not.
- Who is your audience?
- What information needs to be removed because it’s too personal or off topic?
- What information is most important to share?
3. Write a Rough Draft
Be prepared to spend time writing your biography. Anyone can crank out a bio in 15 minutes, but as the example below demonstrates, it will not effectively tell your readers what you want them to know about you while leaving them with a glowing impression of you.
Start with an outline. Outlines are especially helpful when writing for the web because they are, by design, short and to the point. Your About page should include enough information about you to establish confidence in your authority without being a novel.
The most important information about you should be first. What did your friends and coworkers feel was most important about you? What are your biggest accomplishments? Include past, present, and future projects that pertain to your website’s topic.
Once you have your outline, flesh it out by writing a few sentences for each item. Be clear and to the point, but give enough details to entice your reader to want to know more.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do keep it short, simple, and professional
- Do include humor if appropriate
- Do include your education and experience
- Do stay on topic
- Do highlight your best features
- Do say your name in the first paragraph (It’s an introduction to you!)
- Don’t include your age (It’s bad etiquette.)
- Don’t use jargon
- Don’t cross the line into egomania
Show your work. If you’re a graphic artist, show two or three examples of your work. If you’re a web designer, show examples of your work and include links to working websites. If your website is about your work with Tibetan school children, share pictures.
It is also a good idea to include a picture of yourself. The whole point of the bio is to let the reader connect with you. Let them see who you are! The tone of the image should match your website. If your website is very professional, use a professional image, but keep in mind it doesn’t have to be your typical head shot either.
4. Sanding Away the Rough Spots
Ensure your writing is personal enough to engage the reader, but professional enough to give the impression you are enough of an expert on your topic to be taken seriously by the reader. Read your bio again from the reader’s perspective.
Be brutal. Your newly crafted biography is your baby, but keep the word count to a minimum. People don’t want to read a 2000 word count bio. Be honest and ask yourself important questions.
- Does it sound wishy-washy?
- Does it sound arrogant?
- Is there enough detail?
- Is there too much detail?
- Does the tone of your writing match the tone of your website?
- Did you stay on topic?
- Did you connect with your reader on a personal level while maintaining professionalism?
After you rewrite your biography you should test it. Get an honest opinion from someone you can trust not to be polite. Ask for suggestions. This step is essential because your friend or coworker might have ideas to include that you didn’t consider.
5. Publish and Make a Date
When you’re confident you have the best bio you can write, publish it!
It’s a good idea to disable comments on your About page when publishing. If a reader wants to get in touch with you, the contact page is available.
You’re almost done, but before you move on there is one more thing you should do. Set a date on your calendar for six months or a year from today to review your bio, update the information, or improve it in other ways. This will keep your bio fresh and relevant.
Christine Watson is a full-time Clark College student pursuing a degree in Web Development. She is also a full-time mom, part-time Clark College employee, and writes her own blog 44-Wat Design Notes. Clark College recently recognized Christine’s many achievements by giving her Clark’s O.S.W.A.L.D. award.