This article is the second of a three part series on how to write your “About” page. The three articles may be found at:
- Writing an “about” page 1
- Writing your about page 2 – the bio
- Writing your about page 3 – the statement
To recap, your about page should contain three things:
- Something about you (a.k.a. your “bio”)
- Something about your work (a.k.a. you “statement”)
- How to contact you
BTW, you may well want to have a “contact” page (I do) as well as your contact details on the site, as people expect to see a contact link on a site. I recently saw an article by Clint Watson on his blog where he suggested having your contact info on every page. This may be a good idea, but on the other hand it could cause clutter so I’m not sure about that one.
Anyway, to get back to our subject; what goes in the bio. Your bio (in my opinion) is not your CV. It is not the place to list your education, employment and all in meticlous detail. People do not read on the web, they skim and therefore if you want people to read what you have to say, then you need to package it the way they are most likely to read it. BTW, read those links, Jakob Nielsen is a world renowned expert on web usability.
My opinion of the bio is that it needs to include the kind of things that will engage your reader and inform him so that he will actually go away knowing something about who you are. What I tell in my bio is a bit of history so that the reader will know a bit about where I am coming from and some facts that will help him relate to the person that I am.
All of this you need to tell in a readable way. Speak in the third person about yourself and throw your name in liberally so that they will remember it. Don’t be afraid to praise yourself – you are writing in thrid person so you are pretending to be a fan writing about you. However don’t go too overboard or you will lose credibility.
The exception is if you are writing a bio for your blog. In this case you do need to write in first person as your blog is your personal diary and not something someone else is writing about you. Then you do need to take the self-praises out.
A photo is the ultimate “get to know you” although of sourse it doesn’t say much. However make sure you have one or noone will ever know if you are a real person.
Finally you do need to make a list of relevant achievements and where your work is displayed and for sale. However tidy it away from the bio so that a reader who is looking for this will be able to find it, but the average browser doesn’t have to wade through it. I put my representation and exhibitions at the bottom of the page after the “about my work” = “statement”.
Put navigation links at the top of the page and put headings on the sections so that the reader who comes to the page can see what to expect and can jump to the relevant section.