The Agony of the About Page

And the joy of clutter.

Good Morning, Afternoon, Evening or whatever is the time of the day it is when you open this newsletter.. It is 32°C in Canberra, at the moment, and I am frantically trying to finish this issue.

Life got in the way. I am going to be away for the next four days. Bathroom renovations are in full swing and I need to cook, clean and iron before packing. Thankfully I had done bulk of the writing yesterday.

Remind me to write about pre-writing one day!

Authorpreneur Journey Step 5

Today, let’s tackle the About page of your website.

I find the About page a real beast. I have written mine at least seventeen times and still not happy with it. It is hilarious, that we writers have so much to say about everything except ourselves. Particularly on the About page. It is like answering the “Who am I,” question, in a psychology paper.

I once contacted a consultant who help companies write their About page. She said she charges $5000 for writing one. Look at it this way, if you can master the technique, you can make good money writing it for others.

I am going to charge you zero dollars to teach you precisely how to do it.

I have spent hours (days or maybe months when I was obsessed with it) reading About pages on websites trying to figure out which one worked and why.

The three criteria for a good About page are - 1) who is the real person behind the website/blog, what is he/she offering and 3) how can I stay in contact to learn more.

After all the purpose of About page is to exhibit your star power to win you subscribers.

Without further ado, here are my tips in dot points:

  • Your About page must be of “Goldilock” length. Not too long, not too short, just right. You don’t need to write your biography. Readers will get bored if there is too much to read. Plus they have no interest which degrees you have and all the places you worked at.

    You shouldn’t write even a memoir with all the anecdotes. You can always sprinkle them in your articles. You should only include details which your readers can relate to. I was terrible at written English. Most people can relate to that. English is my second language. But even the native English speakers struggle with writing. My About page is written with that angle. But Kristen Kieffer does a much better job than me on her well-storied site.

  • An About page needs to be interesting. It should be a good blend of who you are and what you offer. It should also have a link where readers can subscribe to your newsletter. Henneke and James Clear does it very well.

  • Pick an incident or a story from your life that is most closely related to the topic you have chosen to be the premise of your blog or website and write about that. The premise of my website is writing and in my About section I tell the story of being told how the lack of writing skills were standing between my dream job and myself.

  • Choose a picture that shows you in some context, e.g. you on your writing desk, in the park on the swing (if you like to do that), climbing the mountain, etc. When you give context, people connect to you better. They can see the real you. Also, use a landscape image. Why? Because everyone else uses a portrait (usually a mugshot, which is utterly boring), yours will stand out. Here are a few examples: Psychotactics and Alison Beere.

  • If possible include one of your other interests. If you do photography, or painting or quilt making, mention that. While introducing myself in home page I also introduced Ms. Jolly, a cartoon character I created and talk about how she has helped me unleash my creativity.

Your homework this week:

  • Do you have some favourite authors? Go to their websites and see how they have written their About pages. See which part of it makes you connect with them. Is it their story, humor, or honesty? Then try to replicate that on your About page. Find an appropriate image and include it. Include a hobby too. Whether it is cooking, surfing, or making collage? It will come in very handy with article writing.

Writing Industry News

  • Nielsen BookScan reported that book sales in Australia were up 7.8% in 2020. Digging deeper, adult fiction grew 13.6% and children’s books were up 9.6%. Meanwhile, non-fiction as a category only grew 4%, yet within this, biographies and memoirs were up 29% (Barack Obama’s A Promised Land sold 111,000 copies alone!), while ‘mind, body, spirit’ books were up a whopping 39%. No doubt assisted by the lockdowns.

    If you’re curious, adult fiction makes up 23% of the market. Children’s books (including the fast-growing graphic novel category) have a 30% share, while 47% is non-fiction.

    So, what does all this mean in dollar terms? It means a $1.25 billion industry in 2020 – not bad for a bunch of stories!

  • But what about blogging. Here are some numbers.

    • There are an estimated 600 million+ blogs in existence.

    • The highest-earning blog in the world is the Huffington Post, which brings in a whopping estimated revenue of $500 million annually.

    • Between 70-80% of all internet users read blog posts.

    • More than two-thirds of U.S. consumers learn about a company’s products and services through blog posts rather than ads.

  • How much money do bloggers actually make? Can you earn a full-time, livable income that is sufficient to replace your current 9 – 5 salary or even substantial part-time earnings? Should you start your own blog or work as a freelance blogger? Let’s look at a few cold, hard facts.

    • According to a recent Glassdoor report, the average base pay for bloggers in 2020 was $33,128 annually. Salaries for the category “blogger” ranged from $16,000 to over $83,000 per year.

    • At the same time, hourly rates for freelance and in-house corporate bloggers ranged from $10 to $34/hour.

    • According to a ProBlogger survey conducted in 2012, only about 13% of all bloggers are able to earn $1000 or more per month.

    • In fact, the same report from ProBlogger indicated that approximately 63% of blogs earn less than $100 annually; only 4% of bloggers surveyed were pulling in upwards of $10,000 monthly.

    • Another report by Blogging.orgshowed results of 8% of bloggers earning enough to support a family, 9% being able to sustain their individual lifestyles from blogging 4-6 hours daily, and 2% managing to earn $150,000 or more annually from as little as 1-2 hours of blogging daily.

    • Yet another report by Velocity Digital indicated that about 14% of bloggers earned enough to consider their income a salary, while 50% of respondents earned less than $1,000 per year.

    You have some figures to consider now. But money is not the only thing you earn with blogging. It is the transferable skills that takes you places. Writing, publishing, marketing, teaching, social media following are million dollar skills in today’s environment. Blogging open many doors just like university education did a half a century ago.

What Am I Up to?

What Intrigued Me This Week?

I am forever in debt of Christopher Kokoski for writing the article, How Ugly Rooms Make You Better. He brought to my attention Daniel Coyle’s bestseller The Little Book of Talent while making a case that ugly room is one of the secrets of high performance.

If you want success, practice in an ugly room.

Christopher Kokoski credits his semi-viral articles that made him hundreds of dollars, and $10,000 dollars worth of contract articles to his ugly room..

Aethsetecially pleasing places like cathedrals, modern buildings, and ergonomically designed office spaces promote tranquility, peace, and comfort.

study published in Psychological Science suggests that messy spaces promote creativity, rebellious innovation, and mental flexibility. 

The participants in the tidy rooms followed the rules. The participants in the ugly rooms produced breakthroughs.

“When given the choice between luxurious and spartan, choose spartan: your unconscious mind will thank you.” — Daniel Coyle.

I have spent most of my life tidiying the rooms, and failing miserably. Now I know that the clutter around me is source of inspiration.

I know what I am going chose from now on.

I am going to leave all the clutter around me, put my feet up and write an article, or may be a novel.

Take care.

Neera Mahajan

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