December 29

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About Pages that Serve and Surprise

By Tracey Arial

December 29, 2020


Ten Canadians have done a great job using effective about pages to build interest in what they do. Readers know real people wrote these stories.

All of these pages work beautifully. Each of these authors excels at what they do. Each person describes their expertise in a way that makes readers understand that there’s a real person behind their stories.

I collected these effective about pages to give private clients a few good ideas about how they can up-level their websites. None of them are perfect. As a writer, there were several copywriting and grammar mistakes I itched to correct. One person has too many capital letters in the text. Many of these pages would work much better with improved formatting and structure.

I don’t know any of these people. My opinions about who they are and what they do are limited to what’s reflected on their about pages. Still, after reading these pages, I feel like I’ve already met these people in person. I want to see them again.

Those are the best emotions anyone can have after reading an awesome about page. More than anything else, an about page invites someone to connect.

Ten Fabulous About Pages

Here are my favourite Canadian about pages, so you can meet these people too.

Oksana Andreiuk

My favourite about page comes from the Canadian biohacker blog. It features the founder name, Oksan Andreiuk, and a great photo of a young scientist trying to give us longer healthier lives. What’s not to love?

My favourite sentence is this one.

I’m on a mission to bring biohacking and anti-aging science to the mainstream and to help individuals optimize their mental and physical performance. 

The simplest most audacious about page yet. I love it.

The Canadian Cupcakery

The about page of the Canadian Cupcakery really shines. You know a real person created the Netherland’s-based business.

“Hi. I’m Shalyn Orange and I’m the owner and cake artist behind The Canadian Cupcakery.”

Shalyn explains her love of cooking, how she got where she lives, the relationship with her grandmother that led to her skill and why she does what she does. The only thing missing is a fun photo of the woman it describes.

Adam Dodek

Ottawa Law professor Adam Dodek gets full marks for putting a personal touch on his professional academic about page. The fourth sentence of his long page says:

I love teaching and have been fortunate to teach so many great students at the University of Ottawa and before that at Osgoode Hall Law School and at the University of Toronto where I began my teacher career before moving to Ottawa.  One of the highlights of my career was receiving the Capital Educators Award as one of the top teachers in Ottawa in 2012.

This is after he begins telling us he is a proud Canadian, teacher, scholar, husband and father. There are many professional qualifications on this page, so the personal touches stand out strongly. I still want to interview this man for my podcast.

Sylvia Duckworth

An infographic about the 12 benefits of creativity on her about page provides everything I want to know about Toronto-based teacher Sylvia Duckworth. My favourite benefit is:

Creativity allows you to enter your happy zone and have fun.

I can’t say anything more meaningful about her wonderful masterpiece.

Hilary Elizabeth

Ottawa-based Hilary Elizabeth has an about page for her photography service that makes me want to hire her. Then again, she wrote:

You’ll catch me singing along to country music anywhere I go, and will probably see me singing and dancing along to your music on your wedding day. I’m a quieter person, which helps me to blend in on your wedding day to be able to capture those special candid moments between you and your loved ones.

This really speaks to me, but maybe it’s because I love country music too.

Corbin Fraser

Blogger Corbin Fraser describes his passion for backpacking throughout Canada on his fun irreverent about page. My favourite sentence breaks all the rules in terms of length and grammar, yet still tells a compelling story that makes readers want to connect to this charming man.

Coming home to the west coast took some adjusting, it had been nearly 5 years since I spent an entire winter in the rain however, being located in Vancouver has allowed me to quickly hop, skip, and jump from province to province with my wife and cover more of Canada.

Congratulations Corbin.

Sarah Granskou

Kitchener Ontario-based Sarah Granskou presents musical theatre. Her skills include fiddle, mouth-harp, music, puppetry, spoken word and textile artistry. She describes her training in a single captivating paragraph on her about page.

Growing up, Sarah’s awareness of her heritage manifested in food traditions, a few Norwegian swear words, and an imitation Sami hat which was worn on birthdays. Granskou’s first profound experience in Norway was, in fact, amongst the Sami reindeer herders of the North, where she learned their wordless singing. Then, with her great-grandfather’s fiddle in her backpack, Sarah traveled extensively on ski, hut-to-hut in southern Norway.

I hope she performs in Montreal so that I can easily attend.

T. Erin Gruber

Visual artist T. Erin Gruber lives in or near Edmonton but travels across Canada to design theatre sets, make costumes, produce visual displays and take care of lighting. She’s simplified her about me page since last year and turned it into a third-person bio, but it still contains some of the personality that attracted it to me in the first place.

My favourite sentence is the last one.

The application of her internal rhythm, balance and passion for performance to her visual and technical skill sets became the doorway to the niche that continues to fulfill and ignite her professional identity.

I wish she’d add another paragraph or two to capture her identity a bit more.

Andé Major

Third-generation real estate broker André Major has been working in his industry since 1978. Given that expertise, it’s impressive that his about page contains only six brief paragraphs.

His most impressive project appears in only two sentences, but they are so complete, his expertise shows through.

For six years until 2016, I applied my accumulated experience helping the City of Ottawa as a real estate acquisitions consultant for the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) project. My primary focus was team negotiations related to integrating the 6 tunnel station entrances with adjacent office and retail buildings.

That job could not have been easy. André, congratulations for describing a lot of experience in a pithy paragraph.

Naomi Prohaska

The about page of Pemberton native Naomi Prohaska proves what an outstanding story , lots of superb photographs and a great tag line (youngest on Canada’s top”) can do.

This 18-year old is the youngest person ever to climb Mount Logan.

Keep reading to get to my favourite paragraph.

Soon after that I had an even crazier thought. I decided I wanted to be the youngest person to climb Mt. Logan, the tallest mountain in Canada. My father has done over a dozen trips in the park where Mt. Logan is situated, Kluane National Park. He has guided on Mt. Logan 8 times since I was born. When I look back I still find it crazy how I could decide to do something like that with such little experience. From then until May 2017, Mt. Logan consumed my world.

Expect great things from this young Canadian.

Three Questions to Ask Yourself

So, what makes an amazing about page, anyway? I think there are only three firm requirements. A good about page must be personal and unique. It must identify what readers can hope to get. It must also include some way of connecting with the author.

All the about pages I like best tell a clear story.

To build yours, answer three questions:

  1. What’s unique or weird about you?
  2. Why should readers care?
  3. How can readers connect with you?

In my case, my page describes my seasonal Canadian life. I describe who needs my services and how working with me will attract clients and save time.

I’m also part of a genealogy writers’ group, and I like our about page there too. It’s designed to encourage people to keep reading our blog.

You might like me or hate me after reading these two pages, but either way, you’ll know if you want to continue reading my work.

Technology has changed over the years, but the perfect about page hasn’t changed much. It still has to be personal, quirky and clear, just like Rachel Macdonald described in 2014.

Other tips for the perfect about page

Macdonald’s questions about how to write a perfect “about” page resonate just as well today as when she originally wrote her piece. Her initial question “how do you want your reader to feel?” expresses the quintessential aim of anyone crafting an effective about page. Read her wisdom at http://inspacesbetween.com/blogging-business/about-me-page/.

Sonia Simone from Copyblogger wrote much the same thing in her guide to writing an about page this summer. Sonia pointed out three crucial points that I didn’t specifically mention earlier, but all the about pages I like follow the same three rules.

  1. Make sure your about page mentions your full name (or your pen name if you wish).
  2. Include a photo of you, preferably doing something active.
  3. Outline your credentials.

If you like checklists, Barry Feldman from Orbit media uses the letters in the word “about” to create a checklist acronym. His post is also worth reading.

All of my about page examples feature individuals, but if you want to create a compelling company about page, Alexander Kesler from the Search Engine Journal has put together a list of 25 company about pages. Samples he likes include Mailchimp and Amnesty International.

Do you have any specific about pages you like? If so, link to them below and tell me why they work.

Tracey Arial

About the author

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