Is Your “About” Page All About You?

Posted by ADMIN

When people come across your personal blog and are trying to decide whether or not they want to make your daily life a daily part of theirs, your “About” page is often the first place they look for more information. While it’s never going to be the most visited page on your site, when it comes to turning visitors into readers, your “About” page is very important.

Personal blogs are often introspective but if there is only one page on your site written specifically for your jasminlive audience, I think it should be this one.So how do you write an “About” page?

The Good Advice

In How to Write the Perfect ‘About’ Page (by Numbers), Skellie points out that although many “About” pages are the digital equivalent of the author bios found on a book jacket, the “selling text” on a book jacket also contains a blurb and the priorities are clear…

The blurb should always come first. Then, the bio.

1. What does your site have to offer?

2. Who is it written for?

3. What are the benefits?

The Difficulty With This Advice

If you’re anything like me, you might baulk at the idea of defining your audience and unless you have some megalomaniacal tendencies, you might draw a blank when it comes to perceiving any Jasminelive benefits for those reading.I’m joking about the megalomaniacal tendencies, of course. Some people are naturally skilled at selling themselves and some people have learned those skills the hard way. I think the majority of personal bloggers, however, are fairly humble about what they do and find it difficult to assess the value of what they labour to create. But humility isn’t always a virtue. Most people don’t like a braggart and we try to avoid seeming like one, even to ourselves. We talk down our commitment, our achievement, our streamate talent. Because it’s the polite thing to do.

It’s Still Good Advice

If you are stuck at the idea of “selling” yourself and your blog, step back and look at it from the other side of the glass: This advice is polite.If you’re introverted like me, your focus is most often turned inward. When writing your “About” page, however, you need to switch gears and focus on your readers.

Because your “About” page is actually all about them.

The line between us and our blogs is pretty fuzzy so separating our “blurbs” from our “bios” in the linear way described above is problematic. What I’ve written above is mostly live jasmin philosophy and I’m not entirely sure how we should put it into practice. If anyone would like to volunteer their “About” page for dissection by the community here so that we can workshop it together, let me know in the comments or via my contact form. I think it could be a really useful exercise.

In the meantime… Whose “About” page do you love, and what makes it work? Do you love your own and, if not, what don’t you like about it? [A Note for Blogger Users: Obviously Blogger doesn’t have the ability to create static jasmin live pages but you can still create a psuedo page by writing an “About” post, backdating it so that it doesn’t display on your front page and then linking to it from a text widget in your sidebar.]

What is a personal blog anyway?

Posted by ADMIN

Perhaps this seems like a silly question. It’s fairly self-explanatory, right? It’s a blog that’s personal. But does that tell us anything? If someone asked you to define it more fully, would you be able to put it into words? A search for the exact phrase, “What is a personal blog?” yields only nine results, mostly not relevant. If an easy answer were to be found it would have been there, repeating in the echo chamber. I think the reason it isn’t is because the number of possible answers seem exponential.

Jon Dyer wrote that, “Sometimes writing a personal blog is like being sent to the supermarket with a note that simply says ‘Get dinner.’” And he’s right. On our personal blogs, we can serve up whatever we want, whenever we want. We are multifaceted and there are no restraints on which facet will be reflected in any given post. There is no limit to the number of facets the entire blog will reveal. Instead of trying to encompass all the possible permutations, it’s easier just to say, “A personal blog is an online diary,” and leave it at that. But should we?I don’t think we should.

If we set out to build a car, or bake a cake, we have a clear idea of the end goal. We know the function and the form and that knowledge informs every step we take along the way. A personal blog isn’t quite the same - it is never finished and it evolves over time - but I believe we can still benefit by understanding more fully, and more consciously, the purpose of what we do and the medium we use to do it. If we don’t, we are left aimlessly wandering the aisles of the supermarket. I have what I think is a better answer to this question (and there is a fairly obvious hint at what it is in that quote in the header) but first I want to hear your thoughts. Can you tell me what a personal blog is? And do you think it is important that we know?

Personal Blogs – new type of artform

Posted by ADMIN

A personal blog is a place of exploration, somewhere to express the things that are often left unsaid in life, somewhere you can develop your understanding of yourself and of the world. The same can be said of Art. Others thought that it was a way of communicating and connecting on a different level, one where you are able to both reveal and learn things you otherwise wouldn’t. The same can be said of Art.

It doesn’t matter whether your definition of Art is the Sistine Chapel or Piss Christ, a ragged piece of embroidery or a cartoon. In fact, whatever your subjective definition is, that bias is probably present in your blog whether you are aware of it or not. To be honest, I could write an entire book on all the comparisons that can (and in my opinon, should) be made, but I won’t belabour that point because I have a greater one.

Viewing personal blogging as an artform is functional. It can help you develop as a blogger. There is so much brilliant advice out there about blogging, and it does apply to personal blogs, but the majority of that advice is about understanding the medium, like learning the technical aspects of using water colours, or writing poetry. When it comes to purpose, however, a personal blog (whether comedic and light-hearted, or dark and philosophical) exists for the same reasons Art does so there are answers to be found there as well. In many ways Art is about learning the rules and then breaking them in order to create something new; to make us experience the world in new ways, to stimulate our mind and our emotions, to comfort us or challenge us or inspire us. Personal blogs, even the ones that appear on the surface to be mundane, do all those things for all the same reasons. So I want to examine both parts of the whole.

The Content of Your Character is King

Posted by ADMIN

It has been said ad infinitum and it echoes in our minds. We think that it means that beautiful writing, fresh ideas, a unique perspective, consistent quality and regular posting will be rewarded. And it does.Sort of.

What many personal bloggers don’t realise is that “Content is King” is about Search Engine Optimisation: The Golden Rule of SEO. It’s about copywriting and keyword research, building keyword density and attracting links. It’s about getting your content indexed and increasing its rank. There is no doubt that this is a valid approach to getting a blog seen, even a personal blog, but it isn’t everything.

Writing good content is not enough. You need to put yourself out there - commenting on other blogs and using social media - the same way you need to in real life if you want to make friends. But this post isn’t about how people will find your personal blog: It’s about why people will return.

Your personality is present in every aspect of your blog, from your design to your writing style to the subjects of your posts. And it should be. That’s what a personal blog is for. Writing “good copy” would be counter-productive. That’s not to say that you should ignore the tenets of good writing but if you want a maxim to blog by, this is it:The content of your character is king.

Finding a personal blog you want to read is the same as meeting a person who interests you. Whether you are attracted because their character is similar to yours, or different, or nice, or challenging, it is their personality which will draw you in. Just as it is personality that repels.While not everybody is going to like you and your blog, there is one thing almost guaranteed to turn people off. Fakeness.

Whether you try to reveal the fullness of your personality in your blog or explore just an aspect, if you aren’t genuine it isn’t going to work. People can sniff out a poser a mile away and they don’t like them. If you want to appeal to the broadest audience possible, if you want to satisfy your readers, and if you want comments and connections and community, Shakespeare’s version is better than mine. Even if it isn’t as search engine friendly. Perhaps that seems schmaltzy and idealistic but I really do think it’s one of the keys to creating a successful blog, however you define that. And not just for personal bloggers. Feel free to disagree with me.