You Need a Personal Academic Website or Online Web Portfolio

It’s time for a personal academic website

A personal academic website is the best way to communicate who you are and what you do. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today on The Social Academic.

There is a stigma in the academy against sharing and self promotion. Some of you don’t use social media. Most academics don’t have a personal academic website.

But having a website of your own, where you can share your bio and talk about the work you do is a great way to connect with your scholarly audience.

I’m here to show you sharing in a meaningful way can lead to amazing things.

I’m Jennifer, and welcome to my blog. Let’s talk about why having an online portfolio is great for educators like you.

When’s the last time you checked in with your online identity?

Personal academic website

Google yourself every 6 months or so. I really recommend checking-in on a regular basis.

Whatever you find, save it. Find everything you can.

  • If you were a student, did you learn a bit about your potential professor?
  • If you were PhD applicant, would you be able to connect with your potential supervisor?
  • If you were an editor, what kind of writing, or work ethic would you expect from this person?

Now think back to the first 3 minutes.

That’s about how long someone will give you. Often less.

You only have a moment to share you are and why they should be interested.

But when you do, it can change your world.

Today we’re going to talk about why a personal website is the best way to control what people find and know about you.

Anxiety over your online identity is normal

Hands pushing away

Your web presence, what people find about you when they look you up, may be something you haven’t thought of before.

Now that you have, it might make you a bit anxious. And that’s normal!

With connected HigherEd “influencers” out there, anxiety over managing your web presence tends to happen. Especially when people first start thinking about it.

Your friends and colleagues say you need to be on #AcademicTwitter. And, yeah that’s a great way to connect with your community.

What you really need is a website for long-term networking and engagement with your work. Let’s talk about why.

Your academic website can

  • Host your curriculum vitae
  • Link to your articles and publications
  • Highlight upcoming speaking engagements
  • Share your teaching interests and syllabi
  • More importantly, a personal academic website can show you are a human being.

Here’s 10 highlights you can include on your faculty or researcher website.

Social media is a great place for conversation or sharing ideas.

But editors, potential employers, and colleagues will not be able to keep up with your accomplishments among the other voices in the Twitterverse.

And regardless, it’s difficult to get a full understanding of someone’s work from a social media profile.

Websites allow for full control over what you showcase, and how you explain the work you do. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend, even a 1-page website can make a difference.

Join me November 9, 2020 for a YouTube LIVE on personal academic websites. I’m talking about

  • the benefits of websites for faculty, scientists, and grad students
  • problems people tend to run into along the way
  • steps to creating your website (including my favorite website host)

Subscribe to my channel and set a reminder for this live event.

Academic websites are like an online portfolio of your work

Academic website publications page example on tablet

Your faculty profile on your institution’s homepage is likely not approachable for a general audience.

And, it’s definitely not the most dynamic or engaging way to connect with

  • people in your field
  • the media
  • the public

Scholars and researchers should share their work in ways the public can engage. Doing so is becoming expected, especially in Australia and the United Kingdom.

But beyond that, publishers, grant and research funders, and employers are looking for people who can help promote their own work.

Having an academic website can benefit your personal life because it communicates clearly to a broad audience. And it doesn’t need to be a huge website, for some a simple 1-page website will work for you.

It can benefit your professional life because it provides detailed and specific information that your colleagues, administrators, and network need in one dynamic space.

Still not convinced? Discover the amazing benefits of a personal academic website.

And when you’re ready to start, check out my how-to guide.

Subscribe to The Social Academic today for more articles like this right to your inbox.

Get started managing your online presence

The Internet for Academics worksheet

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Jennifer van Alstyne View All →

Jennifer van Alstyne is a Peruvian-American poet and public relations consultant. She founded The Academic Designer, LLC to help academics, researchers, and writers control their online presence and share their work with the world.

She holds a B.A. from Monmouth University in English, and an M.F.A. from Naropa University in Writing & Poetics where she was the Jack Kerouac Fellow. Jennifer also holds an M.A. from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Literature and Cultural Studies where she was one of four master’s fellows and a finalist for the Outstanding Master’s Graduate Award.

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