The hardest text to write is about yourself

It’s no secret that many people hate talking about themselves, much less writing about themselves. This is why writing About pages on websites is such hard work.

Writing pages about what your business offers is not that hard, if you have a clear idea about what you provide. It’s when you get to that detail that talks simply about the business that it gets difficult.

Edit (2013): The other pain point is that you probably don’t know what questions your readers want answered. Why are they going to the About page in the first place? See if you can do some customer research to find out. Remember, your text is not truly about you. 

This is especially the case for service-​based businesses. People often wonder:

  • How much of the history do I need to tell?
  • Do I have to talk about changes in the business?
  • Should I present a history of my clients?
  • Why would people even read about me?
  • and so on.

If you can do it (and if you can afford it), it helps to bring in an objective eye. Give them as much detail as you want, and let them create the page for you.

This has a few benefits. Such as:

  • an independent perspective, such as your website visitors
  • the possibility of suggestions you may not have thought about
  • a clearer sense of how it ties into your overall site.

But if you do it yourself, stick to the topic. If you run a service-​based business, by all means talk about yourself and make it personal. Friendly people, friendly copy. It’s more engaging.

Things I suggest avoiding are:

  • talking about things you used to do, as though you still do them
  • talking about your business as though it has a large staff, if in fact it’s just yourself
  • cluttering your about page with too much about your clients — keep it separate if you can
  • using your about page as a selling page; that isn’t the point of it!

About pages take forever to write. But it’s worthwhile taking the time to agonise over it. Or, if you are paying someone else to do it, let them do the agonising for you!

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