We are people, not machines
You all know the robots.txt file. It’s that file that (typically) sits at the site root folder and politely asks search bots to take some action such as not crawling certain pages. Search engines can however choose to ignore the requests. Think of the file as your website's way of telling [Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.] what pages it would like to share with them.
While this is all good and normal practice it leaves out one important aspect of web development: the human element. What if you as a site user, instead of a search bot, comes to a site that you love and want to know more about the people that created the site? Where can you go to find out more about that creative design or who coded an impressive module on the site.
Often times business owners don't want a development company’s info listed on their site in the footer or perhaps an about page. Yet developers deserve the right to leave a small non-intrusive signature claiming their work.
The solution: a new idea called humans.txt. With a great tag line “We Are People, Not Machines” they clearly convey the truth that can often be forgotten. We as developers are unique individuals and our personal experience and expertise is not easily replicated.
So on your next project follow humanstxt.org’s lead and include a humans.txt file in your site root giving credit to you, your team, your company and whoever you wish to thank.
As an example you can view my humans.txt file.
A quick and simple layout for a humans.txt file
/* THE TEAM */
Company: [insert name] Website: [company url] Contact: [email/contact info]
Project Manager: [insert name] Contact: [email/contact info] Social Media: [linkedin, facebook, twitter]
Lead Developer: [insert name] Contact: [email/contact info] Social Media: [linkedin, facebook, twitter]
Web Designer: [insert name] Contact: [email/contact info] Social Media: [linkedin, facebook, twitter]/* THANKS */
Extension Provider: [insert name] Website: [company url] Contact: [email/contact info]
Client Liason: [insert name] Website: [company url] Contact: [email/contact info]/* SITE DETAILS */
Company Name URL Launch Date Date of Latest Update
Then in your header include a link to your humans.txt file.
Thank you to Alex Kuhl for telling me about the humans.txt project!