Do Professors and PhDs Need Personal Websites?

It’s 2022! The new normal has transformed all spheres of our lives requiring us to do online many of the routine tasks done offline previously. With the online element becoming a major aspect of the academic world as well, zoom calls replacing physical meetings, students looking up professors on Google instead of asking their peers, the need to have an online presence for academics is at its peak.

Even beyond the pandemic, in whatever the new normal is, thinking of your professional web presence through a personal academic website might be a smart move to make in 2022. 

“The best investment you can make this year is not Bitcoin, gold or stocks. It’s investing in yourself. In your online presence and identity. In your own personal academic website!”

Your website should represent your personality and shouldn’t just be another monotonous professional page. A website is a way to present yourself to the world, the way you would like them to see you.

Why should you go to the ‘trouble’ of developing a website for yourself? From the innumerable reasons and advantages, we state the most relevant ones below:

  1. It’s no longer ‘trouble’. No coding or super-complex computer design skills required.

Gone are the days when you needed to write an infinite line of codes to create a website for yourself. All you need to do is tell web-developers how you want your site to look (you can even choose from a wide variety of available templates) and what you want to include and web developers such as us will get it done for you in no time.

  1. Huge competitive advantage in securing funding and grants and career growth opportunities.

Having a personal website enhances your credibility in front of external parties. In your website, you can include detailed insights into the research projects you’ve been working on, including links to relevant publications, journals, external partners et cetera. You can explain everything complemented by images and videos for better and smoother understanding. Including your past experiences, educational backgrounds, testimonials from peers and students, all increase your credibility. It makes it easier for parties to assess your work and gives you the opportunity to provide more customised information as compared to other academics competing for the same grant or career growth opportunity. Thus, giving you a huge competitive advantage.

  1. Networking

The key to professional success in today’s world is networking. This is the very reason that LinkedIn has become a huge platform for professional success. A website makes you more connected with the world. Any person looking to work on a project in your area of expertise would find your website when he makes searches related to that field on any search engine. Thus, a website brings in more collaboration and partnership opportunities as it makes you more known to other members of the community. 

  1. One-stop for all information about you.

When applying for a grant, introducing yourself to a new batch of students, applying for a new job at a university, all you can share is a one line URL to your website. This URL is your very identity which includes your education, work experience, publications, blogs, CV, research projects undertaken, partners and organisations, skills and specialised fields of expertise and all other information you would want to provide.

  1. Signals web literacy and awareness. Shows adaptability.

Particularly post-pandemic, understanding the web and being comfortable with online technical stuff is as important a skill as knowing your own subject. Having a personal academic website sets you apart from the quintessential old academicians and professors who do not understand the new digital world. It shows people that you are aware of and understand the importance of the rapidly evolving digital world. It shows that you have been able to keep up with this fast-paced change and have adapted well to it.

We know the one question you would want to be answered: “I already use several social media platforms and have a university personal profile webpage, why do I still need a website?”

Firstly, every other professional has the above and so it doesn’t set you apart. Secondly, the personal website profile isn’t customizable so you end up being just one in a list of many. 

Christopher DeFraia (Associate Professor of Genetics at Ferris State University) enlists several other reasons why every professor needs a website: Using your website to launch a book, to provide additional notes and information for students beyond what is provided in the institution’s website/platform, to look for consulting opportunities, to inform students and potential researchers about his research program et cetera. A personal academic website’s uses are limitless as long as you are creative and willing to explore new possibilities.