The about page is one of those that too often feels like an after thought on doula websites, much like the resources page. (See my guide to your resources page here!). The standard format seems to be a quick introductory paragraph, a list of trainings & credentials, and perhaps a photo or two. While the about page is meant to fill them in on who you are, there is so much potential here. Why not use this page to build connection by providing a sense of the heart of your practice?
Perhaps one of the reasons so many about pages end up being rather boring and functional is that sharing your story can feel very vulnerable. I see many website design clients get stuck on the about page. Many feel unsure of how to best voice their experience and what makes them unique.
Here are six tips to help you make the most of the about page on your doula website:
This is not a resume. Nor is it a job application. This is the beginning of a relationship with a family inviting you into the birth of their child.
The about page can serve as a meet and greet, welcoming visitors into your site and enticing them to learn more about what you do.
Site visitors go to your about page because they want to know who you are. Beyond bullet lists of your trainings and certifications, provide readers with a better sense of your personality and style. You should absolutely convey your professional capacity, but that doesn't mean your page can't ALSO be filled with warmth and personality.
Define your experience.
If you are a seasoned doula, be sure to specify how many years you have been practicing, and perhaps even the number of families served. New to practice? That's just fine! Speak to your skills and training without detailing your level of experience. Your experience level can be shared in person if they ask. If you have other training such as nursing, nutrition, massage or photography make sure you include these as well. Even if these are not an active part of your practice, they still influence your skill set and approach to their care.
The about page introduces site visitors to your training, philosophy, experience, and values. You do NOT, however, want it to feel like a resume or endless lists of workshops and certifications. Offer a balance between your qualifications, and sharing how it actually FEELS to work with you.
Remember that this is the beginning of a relationship, not a job interview!
Share your story.
How did you come into this work? What do you love about your work? How do you balance this work with the rest of your life? The fact is, doula care isn't exactly a standard profession such as accounting or retail. This is a calling, and site visitors would love to know how you came to embrace this as your life's work.
Take care, however, if you want to share some of your birth story on this page. My feeling is that your personal birth story and photos are not appropriate to be shared in detail on your professional website. You can, however, speak to the lessons you learned from your birth experience(s). Your goal is to make space for THEIR STORY and how you can best support them.
You may also find it helpful to include personal tidbits, such as your love of making kombucha, knitting, cooking or skydiving. These personal quirks can help a potential client feel a sense of instant connection. Perhaps you even incorporate these into your practice in some way, such as a knitting circle for clients, or a pot of your special secret recipe soup postpartum. I even know one doula who teaches families how to make cheese!
Share your values.
Can site visitors reading your about page easily get a sense of your core values as a person & professional? If not, I encourage you to consider how these might be better conveyed. The first step, perhaps, is to assess what your values are. I adore the Voice Values Assessment over at the Voice Bureau - well worth your time!
In my experience, these values are incredibly helpful as a guide in developing all of your website content & design choices. For example, if Audacity is one of your core values then your writing should be strong, clear, and purposeful. Your photo will show you as confident, and have great eye contact. If a core value is Community, then you might speak to how long you have lived in this area, why you love this town, or your relationships with clients.
Rock your photo.
Your about page is not the place for a blurry family photo, birth photo, or improvised headshot with a messy office in the background. Look for a photo of yourself that feels “friendly” with good eye contact. Remember that you can always try cropping a photo to make it work, or change it to black and white. If investing in professional photography isn’t an option right now, try your own photo shoot at home. Choose a neutral background, wear clothing that fits your practice vibe, and take lots of photos with the hope of getting a few gems. Put it in your budget as an ASAP expense.
Keep them on your website!
About pages are far more popular than you might imagine. In fact, a review of my website statistics shows that "Meet Sarah" is one of my most popular pages! It makes sense, then, to keep those site visitors flowing through your site.
Your goal is to keep site visitors on your website for as long as possible, learning more and ideally taking the next step to connect in person.
In your links to training and certifications, ensure that links open in a new tab so that they don't leave your site if they click. Make sure there are text links to your services when you mention them. For example, in the following sentence you would link the words birth doula to your services page: "As a birth doula, I find that ...." Include a button that leads them to your scheduling page for free consults, or a contact form to learn more.
As well, look for creative ways to break up your content, such as bullet lists and a colored background for your training and certifications, a formatted testimonial, and subheaders for each section. Pages that are well organized and easy to read tend to make visitors stay longer visit more pages. Looking at my web stats, only 15% of those who visit my about page leave the site after reading it. I take that as a really good sign that my content is successfully inviting visitors to learn more!
Finally, if you are an active blogger, consider having a category of personal blog posts. You can share these on the about page to help them get to know you. A few examples from my own site below:
Here are a few favorite about pages from my website gallery for you to check out:
>> Heather Marr of Rio Doula
>> Karen Gordon of Revive Healing Arts
>> Erika Primozich of Dive into Birth
>> Catherine Fischer of Support for Growing Families
>> Lauren Robinson - Meet the Doula
WEBSITE BIRTH PLAN eBOOK Creating a website is no small task, and perhaps one of the most unexpected challenges of website design is writing your content. The Website Birth Plan eBook takes you page-by-page as you craft your new website, or revise your existing site, offering helpful tips every step of the way for your content and design. Includes your home page, about page, services pages, resource page, contact page, tips for choosing colors, images, and fonts, and guidance on writing content. > learn more...