What Your ‘About’ Picture Says About You

One of the first unsolicited pieces of advice I ever got was from Meg Wolff, a big deal author and food expert who lives in Maine. I had sent her something in my early internet days (I wanted to be like her, still do.) and she wrote back something to the effect of: “You’re pretty, you should put your picture on your website.”

I was skeptical. At the time, I was in my mid twenties but looked younger. Who would take me seriously?

Still I decided to listen to her and slapped my photo in the sidebar of my blog.

I noticed people contacting me increased. They were more likely to book consults. I even got ‘recognized’ at the grocery store as ‘the girl from the internet’ in a way that was equally flattering and disturbing.

Since starting this business, I have not gone the way of a lot of my website making/marketing counterparts and refused to use stock photography in favor of what I (and anyone I work with) actually look like.

I have done this not because I think myself a reputed beauty but because I want people to trust me. And it seems to have worked. (Evil laugh)

As an aside, when I see people using stock photography, I feel like they either 1) want to hide who is involved with the company for some reason or 2) can’t get their act together enough for at least the senior level people to get headshots. Here are two such cases that made me laugh:

samestockphoto

 

Now either the Texas School of Languages and Affinity Auto Transport have the same staff or there is some stock photography going on. (And Texas School of Language has an actual Instagram account, meaning they are trying to take more pictures- come on people!)

But in all seriousness, websites with photos on them tend to have a higher conversion, which is why people will resort to stock photography over nothing in most cases. Like Version A below got 64% more mortgage applications. (More cool studies here, including one where stock photography backfires. This is why testing is important!)

websiteswithfaceshigherconversion

Since my sheepish debut in 2008, many people seem to have gotten the message that faces are important and have put them on their website.

Let’s look at a few photos and see if we can learn anything about the kinds of photos we should be using on our about pages:

David-ThomsonThomson Reuters
http://thomsonreuters.com/about-us/board-of-directors/

While serious, everyone on this pages looks like they are being active (well as active as a board of directors can be) but a photo showing you doing something shows you are action oriented. Choosing this non-traditional kind of shot makes me think the company is progressive.

conner_1208

Boeing
http://www.boeing.com/boeing/companyoffices/aboutus

Typical corporate headshot. If you are a real estate agent, lawyer, or some other professional that has some sort of photo expectations placed on you, this is totally acceptable to me.

 

Bill StrathmannNetworkForGood
http://www1.networkforgood.org/about-us/staff

As a non-profit and a fundraising entity, trust is super important to this company. Everyone from the CEO down is looking at the camera smiling. Trustworthy, approachable. When in doubt, I tell people to do this.

big-willeThinkGeek
http://www.thinkgeek.com/about-us/

If you are a ‘creative’, you can get away with posting zanier stuff, like of yourself as a child or in a Halloween costume. ¬†Just be aware that people might not ‘get’ it.

As you see you can be a bit more creative than you probably expected with a simple about picture. I will say this though. The largest one I saw was maybe 200 pixels so if you don’t have a professional headshot yet, don’t worry about it. You can take a picture of this resolution with your phone or webcam.

If you are in a position where people are listening to you for advice or dealing with you on a fairly personal level (you’re a health coach, massage therapist, hairdresser, personal chef, business consultant, etc.), please post a photo of yourself looking at the camera and at least slightly smiling. I went to ten websites and found these photos to show you what I mean.

aboutmepics

(If you have a picture of yourself with Oprah, this is where you whip it out.)

I hope I have now convinced you to put some photo of yourself on your website. If you do it, please leave the link to your about page in the comments so I can check it out!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.
Nicole Ouellette
Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she's not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.