The "About Me" page is what many potential clients look at either right away, or at least the second thing they look at when viewing a freelance portfolio. As a solo worker, providing potential clients with information on yourself and your work is essential, because nobody wants to hire just anyone off the street. It is reasonable that a bit of research on the individual should be done, and an about page can make or break relationships with leads. As a result, an about page can make or break an entire freelancing business.
There are plenty of posts floating around the web for how to write excellent about pages. However, some of these articles fail to address that different personal presentations may be required for different types of websites. An about page for a blog would be different for a service-related website, and an about page for a company would be different than that of a freelance worker.
In this article we'll look at what presentation is ideal for a freelance professional, and that of a web designer specifically. Of course, graphic designers, web developers, and those in similar fields can take from these tips as well.
Determine Your Audience
The first thing to do before the writing process ever begins is to consider your target audience. What types of clients do you want to attract and win over? Are they companies, small businesses, or individuals? Start-ups or well-established entities? Also consider the traditional factors that come with a target audience: age, gender, culture, location, and more.
Know whether your expertise aligns with their needs. The point of a good "About" page is to show off your talents and prove that you can provide solutions to your clients. Take the following exercise into consideration in order to organize your thoughts and plan for the content of your about page better.
Image credit: Bruce Clay
Imagine a Potential Client Reaction
Imagine what your clients go through when visiting your portfolio. Write down where they enter, what they look at first, and how they react to your work. Remember to take into consideration a client that matches your ideal target audience. When they visit your about page, what are their questions, and what do they want to know most?
If you have previous clients that have found you via your portfolio, use this to your advantage. What did they say they liked about it? Was it because you were a student, or was it because you've had several years of experience? Know whether you want the reasons you are currently attracting clients to still be that reason. For example, if you've been winning over clients because you are a student or new designer and conclude that you've been perceived as 'cheap work', then it may be time to consider a change of your presentation.
Be the Experienced Problem Solver
When potential clients view your about page, they are interested in whether or not you can meet their needs. So, it is only reasonable that as a web designer, we present information that can convince clients we can do that for them. Many times, though, those potential clients are bombarded with personal information that is useless to them.
From the following "About Me" introductory paragraphs, which one would you hire?
"My name is Susan Gill and I am a full-time freelance web designer who specializes in creating dynamic and beautiful web pages. I have been in the field for nearly 7 years, and have been loving every minute of it. I am a blogger, entrepreneur, designer, developer, and overall thinker. Check out some of the links below to see what I've been up to lately."
"My name is Susan Gill and I am a web designer from Raleigh, North Carolina. I live with my two dogs and my wonderful husband. I graduated in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in Information Technology and Web Design from the California Institute of Technology. I served my first two years at a small advertising agency, but have since moved onto freelancing full time."
The first quote is more of a problem-solver, and something clients would be more interested in. While many clients are indeed interested in education, experience, and location, the bottom paragraph does nothing for an introduction. It does not present a web designer that necessarily knows what they're doing, or a web designer that can solve the client's problem.
Always start with real-world experience and relative personality traits first, then move down to more biographical information such as location, education, work history, etc. Don't make it sound like a resume, but definitely include some basic information. Below is a fairly good order of events for a web designer's about page:
- Name and profession
- Specialty, niche, or area of focus
- Experience - list number of years experience, any high-end clients, or if worked for a well-known company
- Useful personality traits - pays attention to detail, thinker, entrepreneurial mindset, perfectionist
- Publications, interviews, or other recognitions in the design community
- Education and work experience
- Location, age, general family life
Be sure to not be like the many mistaken about pages out there that begin at the bottom of the list and work their way up.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Are you some kid trying to make a quick buck, or a seasoned web design professional trying to gain real clients? Get a decent picture of yourself up on your about page (Even if you actually are a young, kid designer). It doesn't have to be a professional business photo, just comb your hair, get out of your PJ's, and take a quick head-shot so people know who they're going to be working with.
Image credit: land_camera
A photo of yourself can create a more personal touch to your portfolio, and can also give a more trusting impression. Visitors now know that there is a real person behind all this work. A photo of yourself can also work as a great branding tool and can help solidify your business.
Many web design portfolios have a separate contact page, which is usually a good idea. However, always keep a contact section on your about page as well. The primary goal for a portfolio is for visitors to make contact and become client leads. In order to improve these chances, make it easy for those visitors to contact you immediately after your about page has convinced them too. Having contact information right on the about page is a good call-to-action method for a web design portfolio.
Image credit: Dan Schonhaar
If you don't want to re-create all the contact information, then just put a "Contact Me" header on your about page, and then a small paragraph leading to the separate contact page. Include a direct email, a contact form, and a phone number at least. Also include ways potential clients can connect with you via social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Providing options is the best way to influence a visitor to your portfolio to make contact.
A Showcase of 15 Great About Pages
- The Essence Of About Us Page With 12 Captivating Showcases
- The Definitive Guide to About Me Pages
- The 4 Essential Elements of an About Me Page
- It's All About Me! — 55 Awesome About Me Pages
- Best Practices For Effective Design Of "About me"-Pages
- How to Write the Perfect 'About' Page (by Numbers)
- Five Tips (and a Bonus!) on How to Write a Fantastic About Page
A bad about page can ruin a freelance business. However, a good one can turn a lot more leads into paying clients. When hiring anyone, a company or individual wants to know who they're hiring, so it is essential to show yourself and what you can do. At the same time, they want to know if you can help them with their project, so showing the right amount of expertise before they ask you directly for it is also important.
A perfect about page is a perfect combination of influence, personality, and professionalism. With a great balance of these three factors, any web designer can begin to see more clients coming their way.