11 Tips for Writing Your About Page (for Freelancers)
Your ‘About’ page is where your customers go to form a connection and a reason to trust you. Don’t let them down!
So many people end up writing up a lengthy essay about their childhood and biography, slap it up on their About page with a vaguely relevant image and call it a day. But the honest truth is that no one will read ever read all that.
Why bother with an ‘about’ page at all?
Some people then go the other way and believe that no one will ever read their About page full stop, but that’s definitely not the case either. While it can depend on what industry you’re in, chances are many of your customers will still want to seek out more information about you - either out of interest or a desire to learn more before they reach out or purchase from you.
I believe this is extremely true for service businesses, such as photographers, designers and coaches. When someone is about to spend a large amount of money, or work with you very closely, it makes sense that they would want to know as much about you as possible, and trust you implicitly as well.
For product businesses, a good About page is still important, especially for small independent shops and boutiques. Your customers are likely to be purchasing from you because they want to support smaller businesses and indie brands, and they’re probably interested in the story/heritage behind your products too.
1. Start with a clear, bold statement about what you do
People will look to the very start of your About page as an indicator of whether or not it’s interesting enough for them to read further, so make that first headline count! You can mention what you do, mention your target client, write your USP (or what makes you unique), or even use your Onliness Statement.
The more attention-grabbing the better, and if you can create a sense of intrigue too, then all the better, as this will encourage people to read further.
2. Speak TO your client, not AT them
You may have heard the phrase ‘Your About page isn’t about YOU, it’s about THEM’ - it sounds cliche but it’s totally true. If you want to create a connection that will make people think ‘this person really has a solution for what I want’, you must show them that you know what they want by empathising with them.
If you went to a networking event and met someone that you’d like to do business with, but when you tried to build a connection with them they wouldn’t stop talking about their background and year-by-year life story, you’d be a bit put off. It is the same for your About page; try and make it more like a conversation. Some ways you can do this include:
Asking rhetorical questions
Directly addressing them in the second person (ie. using ‘You’ throughout your writing)
Talking about the problems they might be currently facing
Mentioning how you might hold the solution!
In order to do all this, you need to have a really good grasp of exactly who your target audience is first, and what their specific problems relating to your business are. I have a more in-depth post on how to profile your target client that you can check out first!
3. Write in the first person using ‘I’ and always include your name
If you are a solo business owner or freelancer, you should always use ‘I’ on your About page. As I mentioned above, you should try and treat your About page like a conversation, and it would be pretty weird if you used anything other than ‘I’ to talk about yourself in a real conversation, right?
Why not in the ‘Third Person’?
Writing out your About page using your name (eg. ‘Rosanna has worked with clients such as…’) makes it sound more like a CV. It’s very formal, and completely impersonal - it’s as though someone has written up a bio for you, and it’s impossible to get any sense of personality through in this way.
If you have a professional bio/CV written up, add this as on the page as a PDF (I’ll talk more about this below), but keep it totally separate to the copy on your About page, which should be as personal as appropriate for your brand.
Why not ‘We’?
You want to seem bigger and more ‘official’ to keep up with your competitors who are bigger companies with multiple employees, but if there is only one of you, using ‘we’ to talk about your business is going to make people trust you less, not more. Your customers aren’t stupid, it’s very obvious when freelancers and solo business owners try and make it look like they’re bigger than they are, and it doesn’t look good - in fact, it looks deceptive, which is the opposite of your goal to make people trust you.
You should own the fact that you are small and that there is only one of you! It makes you different from your larger competitors, and there are many benefits to customers by going with someone smaller. Their experience will be more personal, they feel good because they’re supporting an individual, communication is easier, and in many cases freelancers are cheaper because they have no overheads/employee costs/VAT etc. Own it!
4. Make a point of your achievements (and be specific!)
Any relevant personal, professional and business achievements should sit pride of place on your About page, as it gives you a sense of authority and really builds on trust with your customers. Examples of achievements could be:
Awards you’ve received
Press you’ve been featured in
Important projects you’ve worked on
Impressive statistics from your work
Any big name clients you’ve worked with
If you do include some of these, remember to be as specific as possible (again, this builds trust and shows you’re not BS-ing!).
5. Include ‘social proof’ (eg. testimonials)
This is yet another way to build trust, and it is perhaps the most important! If you’re booking a hotel, you’re probably a lot less likely to book one that has no reviews at all than one with several glowing reviews, as it’s basically proven to be a good experience.
When you’re starting out, getting testimonials and social proof is difficult, but by giving away a few products in return for reviews, or doing pro bono work in exchange for testimonials and building your portfolio, you’ll soon start to gather some content for this area. Read more about how to get your first clients when you’re starting out.
6. Celebrate your heritage or where you came from!
If your business has an interesting history - shout about it! Taking people through the story of the business’ establishment and heritage can be a great way to create a connection with them, and (for older businesses) can give a sense of authority too.
And let’s not forget everyone loves a ‘rags to riches’ style story! If you started your business from nothing as a student and you’re now sat in a cushy, professional studio somewhere with as assistant and a new car, it must mean you’re doing something right, so share that. Talking about your past and where you’ve come from is a great way for people to relate to you and also shows your drive. However, do not ramble, keep it short and sweet so peoples’ attention doesn’t start to wander…
7. You MUST have a photo of yourself
This is so so important, and I’m sure it’s probably something you’re shuddering at the thought of, but in order to build trust and a connection with your customers, they need to see your face! This is especially true if you are a photographer, coach, designer, lawyer, accountant etc, as the nature of your job is to work very closely and often quite personally with people - they need to trust you, and it’s very difficult to trust someone when you don’t have a clue what they look like.
Including a couple of casual, less professional photos of yourself can be a nice, personal touch (again, another way to be relatable and build a connection), but you should have at least one professional photo of yourself - for in general, not just for your website! If you can find a good professional portrait photographer who has a style you like and that reflects your brand, I promise you it is worth the investment.
(Don’t forget to have a ‘brand moodboard’ ready if you do hire someone!).
8. Add some dynamic/different media
A photo of yourself and some text can be all you need, but it’s a great extra step if you can include some different types of media as well. For example:
If you have a business/promotional video you could add it to your About page to make the page more dynamic. Or you could even record a specific video of yourself for your About page, with similar content to the text on your website, that can be another really nice way for people to get to know you better.
Behind the scenes photos
If you’re going to the effort of hiring a photographer for some headshots/portraits, it’s a great idea to invite them to photograph you in-situ, and ask them to take some ‘behind-the-scenes’ images of you working or of your workspace. This provides extra insight for your customers.
This is a fun way of spicing up your page and bringing it to life! I don’t see this often, but if your brand is full of fun and personality this can be a great way of getting this across.
I love the idea of creative businesses including illustration on their About page. Hand-drawn cartoons and imagery is super personal and shows off your creative side too.
If you’re talking about your business’ heritage and key dates, why not include a timeline graphic to bring that to life? Remember to keep it all as punchy and relevant as possible to avoid going off topic, though.
9. Mention your location, but say if you work nationally/internationally too
Location can be important to your customers, and it’s so frustrating when you can’t find where a business is based anywhere on their website! Of course, I’d recommend including your location on your contact page and even your footer, if you’re a ‘location-dependent’ business with a physical shop, office or studio, but even if you’re prominently online-based, it’s still nice for people to know where you are.
For example, I’m based in Cornwall, but only 30% of my clients are based here - most people I work with are from all over the UK, in the US, or even further afield. However I still mention Cornwall on my About page because people can then see if I’m local or not if that is their preference, and it often becomes a talking point in our conversations too. It’s also a big part of who I am and my lifestyle!
10. Don’t be afraid to use PDFs for extra info
I mentioned above that if you have a CV that you think would be relevant for your website, don’t be afraid to add it as a downloadable PDF to your About page. This goes the same for if you have lots of biography or list of achievements/features that you feel might be relevant for some people visiting your site, but not something everybody will want to see. A great way to get around this problem is to create the information in a PDF format, and just include a link or button on your About page that allows people to view more information if they want to.
11. Make it clear what the reader should do next
Of course, every page on your website should have a clear Call-To-Action (CTA) - a clear ‘next step’ that you want people to take. And your About page is no different! You might have customers who have read all through your accolades and testimonials and are excited about you as a business or person, but come to the end and don’t know where to go next. You need to direct them!
What is your goal for your About page? What do you want people to do once you’ve earned their trust? Maybe you want them to sign up to your newsletter, maybe you want them to buy a product from your shop, or maybe you want them to contact you about working together.
Think about your customer’s journey through your website, though. If your About page is one of the first pages they’ve landed on, it might be better to then direct them to your ‘services’ page, where they can learn more about how you can help them.
Once you’ve decided where you want them to go next, make it clear by adding a button or a sign up form on the page.