Three Tips for Turning Professional Biographies from Old School Resumes into Personable Professional Web PagesBy Joe Walsh
October 22, 2015
Professional biographies are among the most visited pages of professional service firm websites. You know this. And you know why.
Your people are, in large measure, your product. And buyers want to check out what (and whom) they are buying. So, it would stand to reason that the biography pages on the majority of firm websites would be compelling and persuasive. Unfortunately, compelling and persuasive biographies are in the minority. At least for now.
Fan of the facts? Here are a couple to prove our point from our recent review of the 200 largest professional service firm websites, which we call site visitsSM.
In short, bios rely on too many words with photos akin to the old high school headshot. However, in our reviews and in our own design best practices for web biographies, we see three trends that amount to ideas for helping your talent shine on their pages. So, if you are looking to improve those "product" profiles, consider:
1. Good photography. March people into a room with bad lighting, no hair and makeup help, and two minutes to get the money shot, and guess what? Your people will look like pennies on the dollar. In our reviews and own work, we're seeing the trend toward excellent people photography, well coordinated across many offices. More work? You bet it is. But your people are worth it. Here are a few examples from Pepper Hamilton, Dorsey and Fragomen for inspiration.
2. Courteous sub navigation. We call the typical bio or practice description a wall of words because that's what a visitor runs into on their visit. Words often defeat the scanning reader, but they clearly have a purpose. Smart bios are more like microsite these days with sub navigation that allows the visitor to consume information in smaller bits. Examples below from LBMC and Baker Botts show how to use sub navigation effectively.
3. Talking heads. This is the next wave and only a few firms are early adopters, but we suspect video biographies will be common in a few years. The idea is that professionals talk about the issues of the day, why they do what they do and how they take care of clients in 30 to 60 seconds. In essence, a video previews what it's like to work with a professional. Firms like DHG (accounting) and Northrup's consulting unit are on the vanguard.
Lastly, we share one of our favorite bios we saw in our reviews. It's from the accounting firm, Horne. While the design and photography is effective, what the bios have to say is genuine and, well, different. Each partner answers “Why we exist” and “How I can help you” written from their own point of view and addresses their own area of expertise. Nice.