Does Your Blog’s About Me Matter?
About pages didn’t matter much when blogging started. But now they are important. Writing them though isn’t easy.
As I mentioned last month, I was surprised to learn that in 2011, the fourth most read page on this site was the “about me.” I didn’t even have an about me page when I relaunched this blog in 2004!
Then & Now
Back then, blogs tended to have fairly stable readerships. You introduced yourself, over time, to your readers. Even small blogs had a sense of community about them. New readers tended to come from other, similar blogs, often based on in depth recommendations.
But, after the advent of social media, blog reading habits changed dramatically. Readers are dipping into a far wider pool of “content.” They are following links and checking out sites based on briefest of suggestions.
Blog reading used to be like buying a book or a magazine, now it is like surfing channels on cable TV.
Having so many readers checking out the “about me,” says that people are unfamiliar with me. With just over 5,000 followers on Twitter, I’m starting to attract people who haven’t seen the blog before. As comments get re-tweeted the audience grows even more.
Amazingly, 9% of my traffic is coming from Facebook and I don’t even have a presence there!
And, a lot of traffic still comes from search engines, as people look for comments, reviews and opinions. There’s a significant stream of traffic that hits some of my older posts. All those readers would be new to the blog as well.
I suspect similar trends are affecting most bloggers. Which means it is as good a time as any to have a think about how you introduce yourself to new readers. I’m certainly wondering if my about me page should be more dynamic – music clips, galleries, excerpts of important posts, etc.
It’s Not Marketing, It’s Life
Some might approach this as a marketing exercise – I don’t. That’s because I don’t blog in order to get free stuff. I blog in order to connect. The “about me” question isn’t like a sales pitch. To me it’s more like the problem of how do you introduce yourself at a party, or dinner, when you don’t know most of the guests.
Since, for me, 2012 is going to be a very different kind of party, I’ve reworded my “about me” page today.
My About Me Text For 2012
I’ve covered a bit of ground over the years living in Santiago, Sydney, London, Delhi, Hong Kong and now Singapore, playing music everywhere from caravan parks to opera houses, pointing my camera at nomads in the Himalayas and pole dancers in Hong Kong as well as writing for serious academic journals and popular newspapers and magazines.
But, in 2012 the CV doesn’t really matter, because I’m not taking on any new clients, assignments or contracts for a year.
If we are fortunate, life gives us a handful of opportunities to take some time and look at how we do things, why we do them and where we hope life will take us.
In 2012 I’ll be doing what is called, in the creative industries, personal work (although I’m not a fan of that term). It’s not a holiday. The days will be full and the hours will be long.
I believe that Robert Frost got the relationship between what we do for pay and what we do for pleasure fundamentally right, in his poem, Two Tramps in Mudtime,
“My object in living is to unite My avocation and my vocation As my two eyes make one in sight. Only where love and need are one, And the work is play for mortal stakes, Is the deed ever really done For Heaven and the future’s sakes.”
Of course, you can join me in this adventure right here. On this blog I’ll be documenting my successes, failures and what I (hopefully) learn from both, throughout the year. And, of course, you can still dive into my old catalogue of rants, reports and reviews dating back to 2004.