These days, more and more, I hear my colleagues in academia complaining or worrying to one another about creating and managing websites.
Emerging scholars are scratching their heads over how to create a personal website that works with social media platforms to promote a professional image to hiring committees. Mid-career scholars need an online presence that can help them promote publications and research, and provide a resource to students, and track mentoring activities. Or, they need to build an effective website for a research initiative or academic project. And senior or retiring scholars worry that changing technology and the need to share their career’s work online feels overwhelming – how to sum up a career?
At any career stage, thinking about one’s online presence presents an array of choices and decisions, the need to execute a series of steps in the proper order, and the need to reflect and strategize about long term goals.
Our universities and colleges provide very little support to scholars to do the now very necessary work of building an online identity. And because digital platforms, website management, and personal branding are distinct skill sets that many academics haven’t developed, the situation can seem overwhelming.
After multiple friends and colleagues approached me for help and guidance on personal and academic project websites, I realized that this is a real need in the academic community. For this reason, I am now offering consulting and design services to fellow academics. At this point, this is an experimental project and I can only offer services on a case-by-case limited basis.
- Your personal website is a story that you tell about who you are and the work that you do. Good storytelling takes multiple drafts, and considers the media and genre. Your website is not the same as your CV, your cover letter, your Facebook page, or your Academia.edu profile.
- Effective websites consider what audiences – the visitors to your website – want to know. Website design is equally about what you want people to know about you and about how people who visit will navigate your site.
- A key moment where academic websites fail is that they don’t get updated. That’s why a good web strategy includes a content management strategy, that is, a concrete plan for how you will curate and add new information to your site.
- “Your Google” – the first hits that come up when someone googles you – matters for your professional future, and there are steps that you can take to impact what people find when they google you.
- work with you to create an overall web presence across a professional profile site, academia.edu, your bio on your institutional home’s website, LinkedIn, etc.
- select, design, and layout a wordpress website platform — that will be easy to use for you as an editor and intuitive for your site’s audience to navigate
- work with you to draft, edit, and post the text and photo content for your professional profile site
- review and offer edits and suggestions for your existing professional profile site (if you pasted content from your cover letter, you’re not fully utilizing the potential of the website as a media genre)
- guide you through the visioning process to create a web presence that brands you as an academic with crossover appeal to broader interdisciplinary and public audiences
- design and build a website for you and your team’s research initiative or project
Services start at $150. Please send an email inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org with “web consulting inquiry” in the subject line, and include your phone number or video chat contact information. I will call you back for a free phone consultation, and we can determine the best path forward.
I will guide you through each step and the available options to help you determine what kind of online profile, social media presence, project website, or personal website is right for you.
You’ll get targeted, one-on-one guidance to help you develop the right voice, tone, and online identity to maximize the reach of your projects.
Cassandra Hartblay, a postdoctoral fellow in Communication, Ethnography, and Design at the University of California San Diego. With a PhD in Cultural Anthropology, and years of experience in non-profit communications and publicity in New York City prior to joining the academic career track, Cassandra understands the needs of academics in today’s job market. She has a unique capacity to meld that knowledge with web design and strategy to create a feasible online strategy for busy, research-driven intellectuals. Cassandra’s genuine intellectual interest in your work, and years of experience interviewing and consulting with projects, will help guide you through the process of determining what your web presence can be.
Cassandra contributed to the website design process and created and managed the content management across digital platforms for New York non-profit CEC ArtsLink for two years. She has worked on the design and visioning process for numerous academic project websites, including the UC Collaboratory for Ethnographic Design, the UNC-CH ADA Legacy Project .
The Professor is In, the leader in academic career consulting, on the academic website
What does it take to curate web content? This article reminds us that creating and effectively producing website content is a unique professional skill. So don’t feel bad for feeling overwhelmed!
A good breakdown of the 1-2-3s of creating an academic website from The Townsend Center at UC Berkeley
Another blog post that lays out some of the key issues in creating an academic professional profile website.