If you’ve got to the point of looking at academic personal website templates, I have to assume that you’ve already decided where to host your site, and have chosen your domain name. I’m going to try my best to give you just 1 or 2 options per host to get started. Each template should have enough wiggle room to make your own unique site without trawling through a thousand different template sites and configurations.
The most important thing for your template is that it should be clean, professional, and easy to navigate. This isn’t a creative agency website, or fashion blog. This is a site about you and your work and that information is the most important thing here. I’ve tried to avoid the trend of giant “hero” images – as much as they look good, you’re forcing visitors to scroll before they get any information beyond your name and a headline. Stick to templates that put your content front and centre.
If you’re struggling for ideas, take a look at these 9 examples of personal academic websites I’ve put together for some creative inspiration. You can see in the screenshots which of these have opted for the large banner image and which haven’t, and which sites show content “above the fold” (any content accessible without scrolling). You also want to aim for something that is modern and responsive – that is it is viewable on any size of screen or device. Your visitors can be coming from a desktop, tablet, or mobile phone and you want everyone to have a positive experience.
Academic website templates for WordPress
WordPress templates are a complete minefield. There’s so much out there that it’s really difficult to know where to begin. To know what works and what doesn’t, and to avoid any “freemium” templates that lure you in only to charge a fee for all features.
Selfgraphy WordPress theme
This theme is modern and clean, it puts your front a centre and has enough out of the box options to list your biography, education, publications, and links to your other academic profile and social media sites.
Pronto Worpress theme
Pronto is a professional looking theme for the more traditional academic. It includes a nice and easy to use left hand side navigation menu, which I personally prefer from an academic website template. The focus is on blogging for the demo, but it’s very easy to hide the blogging feature of WordPress if you don’t want to use it.
Faculty WordPress theme
If you don’t mind a small upfront cost, then my number one preference for WordPress would be Faculty. This theme is specifically for academic profiles which will make the set up process much easier for you. It has built in pages for your CV and publications, which are searchable and filterable by query or topic. These are valuable features when you’re further on in your career and have a lot of content.
Academic website template for Wix
Wix.com is a very popular free website builder that comes with a variety of templates suited for specific purposes. Unlike WordPress which may take a bit of time to set up, these templates are designed specifically for each purpose, which means there’s already a space for your publications and cv etc. Of the academic personal website templates available on Wix, my pick would be:
Academic Template for Squarespace
Squarespace unfortunately favours large images on their templates, which may not be best suited for a academic website. If you’re going down this route, and advise against it, the best of the bunch for me is AMAL.
Academic Template for Weebly
Again, Weebly focuses on large eye catching images and headings for their websites. It’s a very modern design trend that suits many applications, but maybe just not this one. There’s definitely manual ways to get a nice clean academic website from Weebly, but it won’t have the inbuilt publication features you get from a paid wordpress theme or the Wix template. You can use the resume builder to get something close if you go with Weebly.
Academic Templates from Owlstown
The limitation that most of these website builders and hosts have is that they’re not specifically built for academic websites. You’re always going to have to create custom pages and add additional functionality to display all the content you require. That’s why so many academics opt to use their university homepages, as these sites are easy to use and are ready made fit the needs of academia.
Enter Owlstown. Owlstown is a site builder that has been developed from the ground up to cater for academic personal websites. All of the templates are geared around this fact and there’s plenty of options to suit your taste. The creation process is as easy as you could ever imagine. Simple enter your information into the fields and they will automatically appear in the relevant areas of the template. If you want to change the entire structure of your site at any time, it’s a one click process and everything else is taken care of.
There’s currently 7 template layouts, with 20 colour choices, and a few dozen fonts, meaning you can quickly customise your site without too much fuss or confusion. Of the themes available, my personal recommendations are the left side menu templates Flannel and Blazer.
Owlstown will handle your publications, projects, academic cv, and blog posts. It hooks directly into popular formats such as BiBTeX. It’s a completely platform that much like other site builders charges a monthly fee to use your own domain.
Still a lot of options
This may seem like a lot of academic personal website templates, but if you’ve already chosen your site builder it shouldn’t be. If you haven’t chosen your site builder yet then a clear choice for me is Owlstown. It will let you get set up much quicker than any of the other options – you’ve got nothing to lose!