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First, apologies if this question has been asked before. I could not find any reference.

I am a math PhD student, about to finish my studies and start searching for a post-doc position. In preparation, I have started to design a personal web-page.

However, I have found myself facing several considerations (see below for examples), which leave me a bit confused. I am probably not the first person to find himself in such a situation I was wondering whether there is some list containing good advice and practices for creating a website. Certainly, it all boils down to personal preferences at the end. But, I'm hoping for some rule of thumbs to follow, which will help the page be more accessible/inviting. Any references or tips will be most helpful.

Some concrete examples of questions:

  • Is it better to put a more casual or more formal image?
  • What are the merits of having everything on a single page as opposed to multi-page divisions (i.e. contact, publications etc.)
  • What information is a 'must'? For example, I can't see a reason to upload my CV.
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    Your question is very broad. Would you narrow it down to one per question?
    – Nobody
    Mar 15 '20 at 12:09
  • Right. I guess there's not one specific question I'm asking (the above are just examples). But rather a request to some online resources/references on the matter.
    – Cain
    Mar 15 '20 at 12:13
  • @user120520 sorry, but you comment that you are request[ing] to some online resources/references on the matter, which makes this a shopping question, which is off topic for this site. Mar 15 '20 at 12:26
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    I will tell you that you can make a personal web-page for free easily. Here is my academic corner: antonvrdoljak.netlify.com Next, I will recommend to you to have profiles at scientific platforms (for example at ResearchGate)... Mar 15 '20 at 13:28
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I've made a couple of websites for early/mid-career professors.

As with many website projects, there was consultation needed in the "What does the client want?" stage. Like you, they wanted something to match the "industry standard" for people in their position. So we did some research. I looked up a few dozen professors, PhD candidates, and postdocs in their field and from their institution and took notes. I also looked at specific institutions and specific professors they mentioned.

In general, the existing sites were more formal than casual (except in photo choices), they absolutely all included a CV given its necessity in job-hunting, they were mostly simple in design, and more than half were a single page. The younger they were, the more they tended to have interesting designs. I may also have imagined that the young were more formal, not yet feeling the freedom to play and risk seeming unserious. Many of the clunkiest were the highly limiting templates provided cheaply or freely by the institution, but sometimes those were better than what the person might have come up with; some people had evidently learned basic HTML circa 2001.

WIth this information, one of my professors decided to match the majority fairly exactly, and the other to just slightly one-up it. Neither wanted to stray too far from the boundaries we'd researched, turning down more modern features like a dynamically filterable list of publications.

One quick frame challenge for you is that I'm not sure if by "personal webpage" you mean to distinguish it from a professional one. Only one person in my research had two sites, and it was confusing, particularly since the content was largely the same, so it was hard to tell which was more up to date or authoritative. There's no need to divide your web presence unless you have a hobby to share that's totally unrelated to your work. If the goal is to make you findable by other researchers and institutions, make it professional.

And finally, let me draw your attention to my earlier "in their field" and "from their institution". You can add "at your career stage" if you like (or not if you want to be aspirational). My findings may not match yours when factoring in those things. I suggest you spend a couple of hours skimming a bunch of academics' websites taking notes on what's there and how it's presented. Find out what's appropriate for where you are, and set that as your baseline. If you find that 10% of people in your position put up a CV, leave it out. If 90% of them include it, start making yours presentable. And bookmark the sites you find most effective.

Have fun!

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