There was a time in web development when a splash page was a dirty word. Many companies created these flashy landing pages to introduce web surfers to products or services before actually pushing them into the "real" site. During the past five years, these pages have more or less disappeared on most corporate sites.
However, they're making a comeback in the world of personal web design.
Just this week, AOL bought one-year-old company About.me for an undisclosed sum. The service allows users to create a personal page online with a large photo, bio info, contact info, and highlights from social media feeds (such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more).
For example, take a look at Canadian musician K'naan's profile. While most About.me pages look like glossy Vanity Fair pull-outs, there's something strangely appealing in their simplicity.
Most importantly, About.me is free. If you've always wanted a personal website but didn't have the time or resources to build one, it's a perfect option. I've watched people create About.me pages in - I kid you not - less than five minutes. Whether you're an Internet newbie or a seasoned pro, you'll love how quickly all the pieces come together. When you click on a social media link, you don't have to leave the About.me page to see recent Twitter tweets, WordPress posts, or Facebook updates. Many users also get hooked on About.me's free site stats; think ego surfing 2.0.
While About.me is certainly stealing the lion's share of headlines this week, Flavors.me is a similar service that has a few additional features for people looking for even more customization. Although the basic version is free, for $20 a year, you can have access to a wide range of Flavors.me fonts, layouts, real-time stats, and a personalized .me domain. I also like how they integrate social sites for easy browsing. As Lifehacker.com says, it's a "simple and elegant personal portal." Here's a peek at the Flavors.me page I just created.
Both types of splash page services are a cinch to use and you'll love the code-free experience. No doubt, 2011 will see more competitors in this space as personal websites become more about feeding your visitors timely snippets of your life, online.