Building a basic website 1
Expert blog by Swapna Kumar & Bojan Lazarevic, University of Florida
Our 2nd Thing is building a basic website. “Why build a website?” you might ask. In an age where people look up others’ names in a search engine before attending a conference presentation or when reviewing an application, your online profile or presence provides you with an opportunity to highlight your work, projects or collaborations in which you are involved, or your knowledge of specific topics. It helps you build your “academic brand,” purposefully creating and curating what you would like others to see, and connecting your Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google Scholar profiles (if you so choose).
The goal this week is to reflect on the purpose and content of your website, to create a simple website or improve on your existing website, and register a domain if you wish. Before creating a website, it would help to think about what purpose it might serve, and what form it might take:
You could create a professional website about your professional activities and achievements. This would make you easier to find online, can boost invitations to events and publications, and allow potential employers to find out more. You could provide as much or as little detail as you wish. Eventually, this would ensure that your website and how you want to present yourself is what people find when they search for you. Some examples are https://cgunawardena.wordpress.com/ and https://aritzhaupt.com/
You could create a portfolio to highlight your work or display your talents (e.g. https://blog.mahabali.me/portfolio/research-scholarship/). Evidence of what you’re done before, or what you have planned, can be a great conversation starter with future collaborators.
You can create a website for specific projects or research collaborations and networks in which you are involved.
You could create a repository or portal of resources that could be useful to others in your field or academic community.
You could choose to use a blog-based software for your website. This enables you to regularly share your ideas or disseminate your research while also maintaining a professional website. (some examples are https://www.veletsianos.com/ , https://vanessadennen.com/blog/ and https://supervisingphds.wordpress.com/)
We’ll discuss blogging for academics in Thing 5.
Personalized web domain
You can create a simple website using Wix, WordPress, or Weebley. Free web plans allow you to build a website and make it public to the entire world. Your website URL on these free web plans will consist of the name you select in addition to the company subdomain name. For example: TomSmithfolio.wixsite.com. We will provide more detail on this in Building a Website Part II. However, you will notice that most scholars’ websites (as in the examples above) have a URL (web site address) that includes their name. If you wish to personalized your web site address (e.g. TomSmithfolio.com or TomSmith.com) you can register a new web domain. If you choose to do so, here are some resources that can guide you through the process: WordPress, Weebley and Wix.
As part of your first task, first think about what kind of a website you might want to create, and for what purpose. You might already have a website and might want to reflect on its content or make changes to it. Once you decide on the purpose of your website, review some of the examples provided or review websites that correspond to what you want to do.
Second, search for yourself online, using a search engine, and review your online presence. Which of the links that you find would you want to connect to your website? For instance, you might want to connect your institutional profile, Google Scholar or ResearchGate profile, your Twitter profile, a presentation from a conference website, an online video, etc. Create a list of these links and make any notes to yourself about them. This second part of the task is specific to a professional website or portfolio or blog that includes your professional activities and achievements. If you have decided to create a website about a research project or collaboration, you will create a list of links or resources related to the project or collaboration.
Third, if you would like to create a personalized web domain, please use the resources provided this week to do so. Please note: you do not have to register and pay for a domain as part of this course. We are only providing the resources that can guide you through this process if you should choose to do so at some point.
Additional Resource for those interested: https://wiki.lib.sun.ac.za/images/5/5d/Online_Visibility_Guidelines.pdf
Our blog from 2020 with some tips on building a wordpress website:
This Thing is also available to read under our THINGS pages.
We'd love to hear about your experiences with web building on the forum, too. It's all an adventure!