10 Highlights to Include on Your Personal Academic Website

What is a personal academic website?

What do you include on a personal academic website? If you want to showcase your academic life on a website, what types of information do you share? That’s what this article is about.

Welcome to The Social Academic. I’m Jennifer I share my top tips for your online presence in the HigherEd world here on The Social Academic blog.

You’re probably like, OK – I know I need a website. And I know how it will benefit my life. But what do I even put on it?

What to include on your academic website is totally up to you. It will depend on how much time and energy you have. Not just in terms of creating your website (the hard part), but also keeping it up-to-date. It’s more work than you might think!

Here’s my list of 10 things you can share on your personal website.

  1. Bio
  2. Headshot
  3. Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  4. Research
  5. Teaching
  6. Speaking Engagements
  7. Direct people
  8. Contact
  9. Social Media

Do you want help with your personal website? Check out my website services.

10 things to share on your academic website

1. A bio introduces yourself to people

Hello

The one thing all personal academic websites must have is a bio that introduces you to the public. It should talk about who you are, what you’re working on now, and your general research.

Put your bio on the front page so it’s what your audience will see first. People searching for your website are looking to learn more about you and your work. Make it easy for them to find!

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2. A friendly headshot makes you approachable to your audience

Man smiling

Including a headshot is a great way to help people remember you and your work.

Use the same headshot across the board for

  • publicity
  • social media
  • your website

While you can do a professional photo shoot, selfies work just as well.

A friendly photo of you goes a long way to making you approachable. So, remember to smile!

3. Link to your CV

Your curriculum vitae should not be the only place people can learn about your work.

How you structure your website will be dependent on what you want to include from your CV. Since every academic has a different background, there’s no prescriptive this-site-works-for-everyone.

Include the information you want people to see from your CV on your website. Afterall, the text of your document isn’t included in Google Search.

You can also share a link to your CV with a public share link. Be sure your CV is ready for online viewing. Remove

  • personal location details
  • contact details for your references

When we share online, we must also consider privacy.

4. Describe your research

research

How you outline your research on your website is up to you. Some people create a page for it, others include a short description in their bio.

Either way, you want to make sure that your research is approachable. I recommend avoiding jargon, and using short paragraphs.

If you have a 1-page website, this might just be a paragraph about your research.

For some people this looks like a page. For others, say if you have multiple books or projects, it’s a series of pages that share what it’s all about.

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5. Share your publications

goal

Sharing your publications on your personal academic website is a great way to get more readers.

It also helps create connections between your work, and where it’s hosted.

When you share a publication on your website, be sure to include the details and a link.

And, I recommend a short description or abstract, especially for paywalled publications. This will help people understand what your research is all about, and what they can get from it themselves.

Do not offer to send copies by request on your personal website unless you have written permission from your publisher. While ResearchGate and Academia.edu are getting by, you don’t want to open yourself up to copyright issues on a personal site. Web hosts tend to take copyright violations seriously.

6. Highlight your teaching

teaching

Teaching is a great thing to showcase on your personal website because part of your online audience is your students.

There are so many things you can include here, it really deserves its own post. I’m adding it to The Social Academic list right now.

Here are just a few of the teaching-related things you can include on your web page

  • share current and past courses
  • include course descriptions
  • showcase student work and sample assignments
  • talk about your teaching practices or philosophy
  • link to syllabi

7. Publicize your speaking engagements

presentation speaker

Academics attend and speak at a lot of conferences. And meetings. Sometimes lectures or keynotes. Public talks. The list goes on.

Whatever your upcoming event, sharing it on your website is a great way to get the word out, and get people in those seats.

If you have somewhere to direct people to that’s easy to read, and conveys the information people need to actually decide if they’ll go, well that’s amazing.

Most people link directly to the conference event page when sharing a speaking engagement on Twitter. It’s often a lot of information. Or not enough at all.

You have control over the details when you share it on your own website. For upcoming engagements, I like to include a short description to help people make the decision that’s right for them.

To attend or not, is often in the details.

share collaborate

One thing a lot of people forget they can do with a personal website, is direct visitors to the things they care about most. Links are a great way to share

  • Websites
  • Videos
  • Social Media

for the things that matter to you. Introduce people to the work you do outside of work. Or, share links related to your teaching like

  • Resources
  • Programs
  • Organizations

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9. Create a contact form

contact

How hard is it to find your email address to get in touch? For many academics, it’s buried on a faculty profile along with a never-answered office voicemail.

What should people get in touch about? It’s a question not everyone asks themselves. Do you want to hear from editors, or conference organizers? Do you want to book speaking engagements? Do you want to network and meet people in your field?

A contact form is a great way to have a bit more control over that process. It let’s people know how they can get in touch with you, and makes you more approachable than someone who just shares their email address.

Academics complain about email all the time. Sometimes that results in not getting in touch because we don’t want to bother someone.

Including a contact page, or a contact form that invites people to get in touch is an approachable solution.

10. Get social

connect on social media

Sharing your social media profiles on your website is a great way to network. You see, not everyone likes all social media platforms. Oftentimes, it’s helpful to connect with people where they want to connect.

A social links menu can include your social media profiles in a streamlined way.

Some people prefer sharing a widget or embedding their Twitter or Instagram feed.

Whichever is right for you will help your audience get in touch. If people find your social media through your website, they’ll already know a bit about you from your bio. This can lead to better networking and conversations.

Need help with your research or professor website?

Work with me on your personal website strategy. Or, set up some time for a 1:1 consultation.

Thanks for reading this article! Here are more articles about personal websites for professors and scientists.

Online Presence The Social Academic Website

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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