For professors, students, and scientists alike, a personal website is the best way to manage your online presence. It goes hand-in-hand with creating your CV and developing meaningful connections with professional peers, especially in the post-Covid world 😷 where it can be harder to network and grow your audience through more traditional mediums.
Use your academic website to highlight your personality and showcase your profile, research findings, publications, achievements, affiliations and more.
In addition, by choosing a website builder with great Search Engine Optimization (SEO) capabilities, you can amplify the reach of your awesome research across social media and get your research ranked highly on Google.
Unlike the fragmented platforms and tools you might already use for sharing your research and CV, an academic personal website is an ideal place to unify your work, showcasing your complete research profile and CV.
Your website will help attract more attention to your publications, increasing your name recognition and leading to more cites. Moreover, a website is also useful for networking and collaborating with others, as well as for job searching and application.
There are so many benefits of a personal academic website that we won’t go into them all here.
Keep it simple
In this guide, discover the 3 easy steps to a personal website using free, open source technologies:
- Get a personalized domain name
- Choose an academic website template
- Add your content
All you need is 60 seconds!
You might struggle to get started or get put off with the idea of maintaining a website, so in this guide, we’ll deploy your new site in under 60 seconds, yes 60 seconds!
Then, we’ll write content without any code by editing future-proof Markdown files (no databases!) in an open source Content Management System (CMS).
Get a personalized domain name
A domain name is your online address. It’s how others will find you.
You can check the availability of domain names and register one with Namecheap.
To find a good domain that is available, try a mix of your first and last names or initials, with either a
We can recommend Namecheap as they offer a cheap, privacy-focused solution with fast customer service. They also don’t lock you into any specific website builder or host, future-proofing your site.
Note that Github Pages and Netlify can provide you with a free address containing their branding if you really don’t want to pay ~$5 for your own domain. However, a personalized domain name helps visitors find you online, adds credibility to your brand and instantly makes your site look professional, whilst not locking you into a specific web host such as Github Pages.
Choose a website template
Once you have registered a domain name, you can create a website in less than 60 seconds and with no-code simply by choosing a website template.
Then configure your website with your domain name and head on over to the Content Management Systems (CMS) to add your content.
What should I include on my site?
Your website is a reflection of you academically and professionally. It’s the first impression others get of you when they Google your name or your research.
To get started, include the same elements as those on your CV. On the website, you can be more detailed in explaining items and more engaging, including images, diagrams, videos, podcasts, datasets, and interactive charts.
Try to be as concise as possible on the homepage so visitors can quickly learn about you and your research rather than becoming overwhelmed with information and leaving.
Here’s some inspiration on points to consider addressing on your website:
- Research interests, passions, and expertise
- Links to all types of publications (journals, conference proceedings, books…)
- Current research and research goals
- Honors and achievements
- Funding awards
- Professional and academic affiliations
- Teaching and sharing your courses online
- Professional experiences
- Forthcoming speaking appearances
- Presentations, videos, podcasts, photos
- Blog about your interests
- A contact form
- Links to your social networks
- Unlike academic and social networks, you have full control over the appearance of your own site, so why not infuse the site with your personality?! Think color themes, fonts, light or dark mode…
Share your website!
Once you have completed your website, you should share a link to your website in your e-mail signature to help others begin finding it and give your emails a more professional appearance.
Remember to share the link to your website on all of your online and social media profiles to gain maximum exposure. For example, share links to your new website on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so forth.
Your shiny new website also comes with social media widgets built-in, enabling visitors to click and easily share a link to your content in their social media networks.
Tracking the effectiveness of your site
Being an academic, this article wouldn’t be complete without considering a quantitative way to track the effectiveness of your site!
It’s helpful to measure the effectiveness of your website and understand the behavior of your visitors. What pages or topics are they most interested in? Do they stay long enough on a page to read it or do they decide it’s not relevant to them and move on?
Pirsch Analytics, a privacy-first analytics provider, is one of the best tools to measure the impact of your site whilst respecting your user’s privacy. You can see how frequently it is visited, the locations of visitors, the most visited pages of your site, and more. Tracking the visitors to your website can help you tailor it to further increase the traffic to your website, providing more quality content on what your visitors are looking for. You can even connect Pirsch Analytics with Google Search Console in order to discover which Google keywords are driving traffic to your site.
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