The “About Us” page is on almost any content plan for a website. You have your home page, your about us page, a listing of products or services, perhaps a blog and the all-important “Contact Us” page. This formula, absent of comprehensive content planning, makes a lot of sense and you can see examples of it across the Internet.
But there is a subset of the “About Us” page that warrants a bit more discussion because it has a few more nuanced implications, depending on the audience: the “Our Team” page.
‘Shiny Happy People’
This phenomenon is mostly isolated to smaller companies. Larger companies like Apple have a leadership page to provide biographical information on their top executives. When a smaller firm adds a team page, they usually include everybody. A medium-sized company here in town still lists everybody, though it starts to look like a yearbook section with the 150+ they employ. But you can see, at a glance, everybody who will be working to provide whatever product or service you are purchasing. These are humans – assuming that they are not all clever stock photos.
Team pages can add credibility
A buying decision is often an emotional one, and trust is an important component. Seeing a gallery of photos of real people answers the question, **“Is this a legitimate company or some guy doing working on it in his basement?” ** For sites that also provide some background on the staff member, it can lend credibility based on their experience. Again, it is an emotional element to build trust.
Team pages can be an important element to internal morale
Humans have an inherent need to belong to a tribe – our species doesn’t make it very far on the ecological timeline without this instinct. Similarly, when you are brought on as an employee, having your name and face put on the company website can be a bit of a boost. The same can be said for receiving business cards or seeing the all-staff email that announces your arrival. Public acknowledgment of your new job is more sentimental than simply being “LinkedIn-official”.
On the other side of the coin:
Recruiters, marketers and competitors love Team pages
Imagine sitting down at a restaurant and being provided a wine list, along with an intricate description of each. For recruiters, particularly in tech, that is what it is like to come to a Team page. LinkedIn will tell help you find a list of potential candidates for positions to fill, but a Team page tells you that these folks are a) likely still employed here and b) have provided enough background to determine if they would be an ideal candidate for the position. Working as a software developer, I would get emails to my work address from recruiters asking if I was looking for another opportunity. The same thing was true for vendors – they love being able to reach out to people to sell their services, and a Team page is like having their own phone book for your company. I had a former executive of a local company explain it to me as “declaring open-season on your employees for poaching” to have a team page. I had several other questions for that guy.
Team pages are (probably) not a conversion point
This gets down to the real reason a company has a website in the first place: to compel the visitor take a particular action, whether that be to buy a product, donate to a cause or join an advocacy movement. The team page, while it can support those actions, rarely has a specific call to action. Perhaps it would be a fascinating experiment to try and couple those two ideas a little tighter – though I think my “adopt a developer” idea will probably go over like a lead balloon.
So, what about me?
It is a tough call whether to axe a team page. My employer recently dropped ours, but I was not involved in those discussions (Editors Note: It had a headline on there for “founding fathers”, which I think missed a golden opportunity for a bird-related pun). Any call on it will likely go back to the credibility question – a lot of well-known companies have them regardless of if they directly drive sales.