Acknowledge your workforce
A humans.txt is nothing more than a simple text file listing the people working for your organization. It’s a nice way to give them the credits they deserve. Often the file is focused on the people involved in making the website, but sometimes everyone in the company is listed. The choice for which people and which departments to include is entirely yours.
Opt-in is essential!
No matter what you put in the humans.txt, make sure people agree to be included. Not everyone wants to share their data that freely, so be sure to make it optional. If you don't want to put in a lot of names or keep the file up to date, you can always choose to only name higher management or founders and list the rest under departments or locations.
Humans.txt is still small, but generating traction
Our data tells us that midway through 2023, just under 200.000 websites have a humans.txt on their website. That’s not a very impressive number. But there are some very big names among the companies that do have it. Google, Medium, Wired and Netflix are just a few of the well-known companies sporting a humans.txt. With big (tech) embracing the humans.txt, it might be just a matter of time before it is considered best practice to use one for all websites.
When you take a more in depth look at the numbers in Figure 1 above, it stands out that businesses account for almost half (48%) of all websites using a humans.txt. They are probably eager to show the people involved in making and maintaining their websites. And it won't be a surprise that content related websites account for over a quarter (27%) of all websites with a humans.txt. The reason for that is that content websites are more focussed on recognizing the people creating and making the content for their websites.
Our data shows content related websites account for over a quarter (27%) of all websites with a humans.txt
Create your own humans.txt
When it comes to creating the file, you can add any information you want. Keep it simple and create a list of names of people working at your company. Or make it more elaborate and add their job titles, the departments they work at or even links to LinkedIn profiles. Personalcompany’s email addresses, phone numbers, work locations and much more are also great to add.
You can also include other companies whose products you are using, and maybe even some individuals from those companies. It’s your list, and you can add anything you want.
Setting up your own humans.txt is easy. Just open a text editor and make sure you save the end result as a .txt file. Write a small intro and put in the information you want to share. We’ve listed the main things you can put in your personal humans.txt below.
What to put in your humans.txt
- Names and job descriptions or roles
List the people involved in the website's creation and management. Don't forget to mention their roles and responsibilities to give it a personal touch. If your company is a bit bigger, you can just mention the departments or even create a list for each department in the humans.txt.
- Contact Information
You can put everything you want in the humans.txt, such as contact details like email addresses, phone numbers or their social media. Be sure you check with everyone if they are ok with sharing all that info. When in doubt, don’t put in contact information.
- Acknowledge external partners
Odds are you are using third-party resources, tools, or maybe even open-source projects. Mentioning them shows you appreciate what they do. Spread the love!
Links won’t be clickable in the humans.txt, but you can put them in. Add your companies LinkedIn or maybe a corporate website where people can see who is working at your business. And if you’re always looking for new staff, be sure to add your vacancies site.
Make it fun
Although a text file with names and departments isn’t the place where you would expect some fun, you can play around with the design. Check out the humans.txt we set up for Dataprovider.com. With some ASCII art, even your company name can look nice in a text file. And don’t worry about designing it yourself, there are plenty of tools out there that generate a good-looking file for you.
Once you're happy with the end result, upload the file to the root directory of your website. That’s the place where the well known robots.txt and ads.txt are located. Where those two files both serve a critical task, the humans.txt is just an extra.
Even though it doesn’t offer any mentionable benefits at this time – although some people claim it may very slightly benefit your SEO efforts – it is nice to just acknowledge the people who are working for you. It may also become important to add your own humans.txt to show your website is created by real people instead of it being generated by AI. The big search engines have not yet indicated they are tracking that, but showing your content is original can certainly help.