I like to go back and read poems that I wrote fifty years ago, twenty years ago, and sometimes they surprise me—I didn’t know I knew that then. Or maybe I didn’t know it then, and I know more now. —Maya Angelou
Recently, while working with my website designer, I had the opportunity to take a good, hard look at the elements of my design. I looked at colors, images, and navigation, and I spent time reading and rewriting copy for many of the pages on this site, including my “About” page. Until I spent some time with that page, I’d been trying to figure out where my website was headed.
I began blogging in 2008, and blogging has changed over the years. Even if blogging hadn’t changed, the truth is, I’ve changed. Does this sound familiar?
If you’ve been an artist, a writer, an entrepreneur, a leader, a parent, or a person for any number of years, you’ve changed, too. For those of us who blog, or who have an online presence, our “About” page is more than our vital statistics. Our “About” page tells readers what they can expect when they visit our site, and it helps us identify new areas of focus as we change and grow.
My designer told me I should spend some time with my “About” page while some of the other behind-the-scenes design stuff was going on. It was just the push I needed. When I was done writing, I had a new tagline for my website, and clearer focus for my writing. I messaged my designer, saying how much that exercise had helped me find my focus. LW messaged me back and said, “People should review their ‘About’ page at least once a year, maybe more.” I asked LW to give me the top three reasons why, and I’m going to share that answer with you:
The About page is one of the most clicked-on pages on most websites because people want to find about the person (or organization) behind the site and the work. But it’s also a great tool for self-evaluation.
- You are human, so you change and grow. Your About page should reflect who you are now, not who you were when you started blogging in 2008.
- You are human, so you change and grow. Reviewing your About page from time to time can help remind you of where you’ve been, how you’ve grown and what you’ve accomplished.
- You are human, so you change and grow. Updating your About page can be a terrific clarifying exercise to help you discover who you are right now, who you are becoming, and who you want to be.
Related, bonus #4: I’ve read (the source escapes me) that you should write your About page for the audience you want. Your About page is a great touchpoint for comparing the work you’re doing with the audience you are trying to reach and ensuring they align. (Which sometimes means you have to adjust your work for the audience you want, and sometimes it means you adjust your audience expectations for the work you actually want to be doing, and sometimes it means you recognize that you love the audience you have and do the work accordingly.)
My writing had been focused in one particular space for a very long time. I was beginning to feel a nudge to expand that space in order to make sure my goal of an open door and a place at the table is never compromised. Writing new copy for my “About” page helped me put words to where I think the road is taking us. My new tagline is, “Celebrating your right-here-right-now life,” and you can read more about that (you guessed it!) on my “About” page.
On my calendar, six months from now, is a reminder to review my “About” page again, because I’m human and, hopefully, I will have changed and grown a bit by then. That change might need to be reflected in an update on the copy to that “About” page of mine. If you’ve got your own “About” page, consider giving it a reboot. If you don’t have a website, think about sitting down and writing a mission statement for yourself. Begin by reviewing what you’ve done, and then look ahead to where you’d like to go. Take your time. The process may take a few days, and that’s okay. If you’re not sure where to begin, consider using Tsh Oxenreider’s list of 20 Questions for a New Year’s Reflection, or her Goal Setting Questions for a New Year. Don’t worry that it’s not December. Any time is a good time for a bit of self-evaluation.