A common piece of wisdom for freelance writers is to show a personal side. For the most part I think this is pretty sound advice. I know that if I am trying to make a decision for services I want to feel like I am going to deal with a person and not a corporate entity. With that said, I also think that there has to be a line in the sand in terms of how much is put out there.
On my own web site, I have a fairly detailed About page which is truly a crucial element in establishing some level of personal credibility. It’s got a picture of me ol’ smilin’ mug and a few tidbits in terms of history and who I am. The About page is the perfect forum to let folks know a bit about who you are. If you don’t have one on your site, go do that right now. You can come back, I’ll wait for you.
There is a fine line though, between personal information and too much personal information.
Personal information that includes some background of your life and how you ended up where you are today makes for a good read and most potential clients appreciate the chance to know you a little better. This is especially true if you have had some interesting experiences in your life. It’s a good idea to include a little bit about your hobbies and interests as sometimes common ground can be a deciding factor for a client. Don’t go overboard, just a mere mention of being a sailor is enough to raise your status a peg or two in the eyes of nautical types.
It can be a huge mistake to go to far in what kind of personal information you include. A detailed medical history of an illness may be more than a client wants to know. Also, it may be ok to show that you are a dog lover and have two Blue Tipped Terriers. It’s not quite so ok to put a dozen pictures of them on your web site ’cause their just so darned cute.
The best way to think about this is to consider what you would say or do in a first time face to face client meeting. Would you dominate the conversation with stories about the many cute things your toddler did over the weekend? Probably not. That’s a good litmus test right there. Would you whip out a photo album showing the pictures from your last vacation at the beach? Of course not. So, the lesson here is to not divulge on your site what you would not bore folks with in person.
There is a whole other side of this that relates to posts specifically. In many ways the same criteria apply but there are times when a personal story really brings home a point. You have to know your audience and your potential audience. Remember that you also take the chance of that post being the one that a first time visitor sees. Hopefully you don’t have an archive filled with the same kinds of posts and the visitor is able to take the post for what it is.
How about you? Where do you draw the line? Have you ever put some personal thing on your site only to regret it later? Have you put a personal item on your site and had it go viral?