About.me is Great, If You Have a Use For It

These days, it feels like it’s getting harder for many of us to maintain our personal brands on the Internet. We’ve got a multitude of blogs and websites that we maintain, and most of us have Twitter and Google+ presences as well. If you’re a regular reader of this site, you might even have an App.net account.

Personally, I own three domain names. I’ve got Twitter, App.net, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr — the list goes on. I’ve got a personal blog, a music blog and a forthcoming website for my business. Sometimes, I think I need a place to put it all together. This is where about.me comes in. It’s a popular way to maintain a single page for yourself on the Internet. Read on to find out if I think it’s worth it for you.


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Getting Started

To its credit, about.me doesn’t waste any time. Setting up your personal page is as easy as claiming your name and choosing your URL. From there, you’ll spend most of your time “designing” your custom page.

About.me's home screen makes registration a piece of cake.

About.me’s home screen makes registration a piece of cake.

About.me has made this a very easy thing to do and given their users a surprising amount of leeway to play with as far as customization. You can punch in your name, headline and short bio as far as text goes. It’s easy to link up a limited number of social accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress and more. However, some are oddly missing. There’s no Squarespace set-up and no App.net login, for example, and don’t expect your posts on Svbtle or Medium to be cross-posted. For that kind of thing, you can add text links to the bottom of your page.

it's really eays to customize a lot of cool parts of your page.

it’s really eays to customize a lot of cool parts of your page.

The design itself is adjustable. You can drag your Bio around and place it in a different on-screen area, and of course you can adjust the background picture. You can add a small image to your Bio — About.me suggests a headshot — and you can adjust the position of all these images on the screen too.

I also like some of the other options they’ve built in. About.me has a small selection of Typekit fonts to choose from to personalize your site, which I think is great since Typekit is one of my favorite font services. The typefaces About.me has selected are admittedly pretty standard, but it’s nice that they’re there.

At the end of it, this is what I ended up with.

At the end of it, this is what I ended up with.

You can adjust colours of the text, background patterns for your image and even the translucency of the Bio. It’s actually a fair bit of fun, and I spent about an hour or two just customizing my page. And when you’re done, you have a free little spot on the Web where people can find out who you are and where they can find you.

The Dashboard

About.me also includes a dashboard so you can find out how many people are looking at your page and where they’re clicking through to. If they click on your Facebook page or Tumblr, you’ll know. It’s kind of cool, but it’s really just an alternative to Google Analytics that works pretty well.

The dashboard makes it really easy to see how popular your page is.

The dashboard makes it really easy to see how popular your page is.

It’s also a little similar to LinkedIn. If another about.me user visits your page while they’re logged in, you’ll get a notification for that. As a side note, notifications are a very frequent thing with About.me. I’ve elected to turn most of them off; thankfully, that setting isn’t hard to find.

Membership Fees

Let’s get this out of the way immediately: About.me is free. It’s free to set up and free to use, and there’s no requirement to give them a dime. However, there are a lot of little pushes from them to add your about.me page to your email signature. You can even get free about.me business cards, but it’s all based on sharing your page enough times to make sure that they get some attention.

It's free, but there is a premium service.

It’s free, but there is a premium service.

There is, however, a premium service. It’s billed annually at $4 per month. That translates to $36 a year, much cheaper than hosting your own website. It gets you a customized .me domain, the ability to remove the Navigation bar from your site, Google Analytics (voila) and priority tech support. There are no ads in even the free account, since they’re hoping you can advertise the service for them by linking your about.me page to everything.

But what do I really think of the whole service?

What’s the Point?

About.me is exceptionally pretty and great for a small number of Internet users. I have a couple friends who were considering trying their hands at freelance at one point. The first thing I suggested was an about.me page and a personal blog to increase their online profile in as many ways as possible.

About.me has also made it really easy to find other people you know using the service and add them to different user-created lists.

About.me has also made it really easy to find other people you know using the service and add them to different user-created lists.

About.me doesn’t host your blog. About.me is just a landing page. For people who need that, that’s great. But for me, I’ve got my personal website. Twitter is also a bit of a “landing page” for me. There are so many about.me alternatives that I already use, I’m not sure I need it.

In reality, it all depends on how you want to portray yourself across the Web. I’d argue that, for some people — those who aren’t in the tech industry, for example — an about.me page is a really simple way to get your name out there. But for others, those of us who are a little more tech-savvy, we know we have pricier, but often more appropriate, alternatives for our needs.

Think About This

Who are you? Where are you going? What industry are you in? Do you already have a website to call home? Is your about.me page going to simply clutter your online presence by being another service you don’t need, or is it going to be really handy for you as you try to increase your name’s relevancy and influence?

I’d bet you already know the answer to that question, and you probably already know if about.me is for you. If it is, it’s a very attractive site that I think is perfect for people who just need something simple and barebones. I’ve left my personal about.me page up for you to see what’s possible. Beyond that, the service it’s free — when in doubt, give about.me a shot.


Summary

About.me is a beautiful place to be if you need a simple landing page for your home on the Web, but if you already have one, it's not worth your time.

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