A Common Mistake Academics Make With Their Personal Websites

An open laptop and mobile screen with Jennifer van Alstyne's personal website pulled up. The laptop and phone sit on a shelf by a window with a potted leafy plant in the background.

How often is your name mentioned on your website? For some academics, the answer is 0. I’ve looked at hundreds of personal faculty and scientist websites. A common mistake people make is forgetting to include your name.

Hi, I’m Jennifer van Alstyne. Welcome to The Social Academic, a blog about your digital presence in HigherEd.

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Does your website show up when someone Googles your name?

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When you type your full name into Google, does your website show up on the 1st page of results? A personal website should show up high in Google Search results because it often has the information people are most looking for.

But your website won’t appear in search results if you’ve forgotten to include your name. This is a common mistake for academics who make their own website.

Why do academics make this mistake? They work hard to create a website to better share their research. Self-promotion often feels strange for professors and researchers. It might feel wrong or unnatural. Because of this, you might have forgotten to include your own name on your website.

The people who make this mistake often include their name in their

  • Site Tite
  • Domain Name

But they then forget to include it on other pages of their website like in their bio, and on their Research or Publications pages. Have you forgotten to include your name?

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Scavenger Hunt! Find your name on your website

An open laptop with the word Website written on the screen with a bunch of arrows pointing to the right.

A good way to see if your name appears on your website is by searching your site in Google.

To do this, type this into the search bar: site:YourDomainName.com Your Name

For example: site:JenniferVanAlstyne.com Jennifer van Alstyne

When I perform this search, it shows that my name appears on most pages of my personal website. Try a search like this to see how often your name appears.

If you find your name doesn’t appear much on your website, this is an easy change you can make to your website to improve how people find it. Any small change to improve your personal website is a good thing!

Best of luck with your website project. Want professional help with your website project? I’d love to help.

Including your name on your website is a best practice for SEO

Scrabble letters that spell out 'S' 'E' and 'O' stand facing the camera on a shelf. SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization.

Search engine optimization is a method for improving, or optimizing your website to rank better in search results. In this case, the keyword people are searching for online is your name when they want to find information about you.

Discover how search engine optimization (SEO) can help your website in my YouTube live with Patrick Wareing.

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Jennifer van Alstyne View All →

Jennifer van Alstyne is a Peruvian-American poet and communications consultant. She founded The Academic Designer LLC to help professors build a strong online presence for their research, teaching, and leadership. Jennifer’s goal is to help people feel confident sharing their work with the world.

Jennifer’s personal website

The Academic Designer LLC