Launching your personal academic website is no easy task, and brings with it a host concerns and anxieties. I get it, you’re putting yourself out there in a big way, for all to see. It’s a very public thing to do and you’re brave to do it – it will pay off. Saying that, you maybe be wondering what not to do. So here’s 3 things you should avoid when creating your website.
1. Being too personal
Yes, it’s a personal website, it’s about you. However, nobody who is searching your name for academic purposes is going to want to read about your political views, or your favourite recipes. There’s a place for that, but it’s not your website. Your personal academic website should be curated with a professional audience in mind, much like a CV. Ultimately it’s the first thing that any potential audience are going to see about you – so stick to academia.
2. Letting things go stale
Whilst you don’t need to make daily changes to your website, I recommend that you at least refresh it every few months – if you can’t commit to that then really try and make your content “timeless” if possible. If someone lands on your page and it’s clear it hasn’t been updated in 3 years it won’t leave a good impression, but if your site is current and fresh then those visiting know where you are what you’re doing now and be confident that you’re passionate enough to keep on top of things.
3. Settling for a subdomain
When you first create your personal academic website you might be tempted to stick with the free subdomain provided by whatever website host you settle for. Don’t. It’s fine to go with a free website host, you can upgrade that later, but your domain is what will stick with you throughout your whole career. Get in and get yours early.
www.johnsmith.com looks much better than johnsmith.weebly.com and it’s a heck of a lot more professional. You can get your domain for 12 months 99p up front, and then around 90p – £1 a month after that depending on what top level domain you choose.
Avoid these 3 academic website mistakes, and make sure you include everything on this list, and you should be set!