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I have a question about "post-academia" personal websites. The question is open-ended and fuzzy because I am not 100% certain with what I would like to do, so I am also looking for suggestions.

Some background first. I will soon finish my PhD and I will probably leave academia permanently for an industry job (and most likely it will not include any research). Despite leaving academia I am not abandoning my work and my academic credentials. In future (at least in the next 5-10 years) I would like to

  • brand myself as a professional in the field with an emphasis on my academic contributions (I think that if someone googles my name and as the first result is listed my academic page that can only be positive for my image)
  • remain open to a potential collaboration with academia (e.g. projects that my company finds interesting; reviewing papers for conferences)
  • remain open to sporadically co-author papers that are related to my previous research (e.g. someone reads my paper, finds my work interesting enough to ask me to contribute to his future paper, but realises that I am not anymore in academia so gets a wrong impression that I am closed to such offers -> I would like to avoid that).

Now goes the question.

As many academics, I have a personal website with my research interests, projects, publications, and so on. I would like to retain that website, but I have no idea how to design it in the way it is sustainable and not dead for many years to come. I have seen that former researchers leave personal websites on the server of their former departments, but they look quite dead with an obsolete email as contact, old photograph, last update 10 years ago, etc.

But on the other hand, probably I will also not have any new content to fill since I will not be writing papers anymore, and my field is not like architecture where architects have websites with their portfolio even when they work for a large company.

How to design a "post-academic" website in the way it is sustainable? What content to put? Do you have any examples of successful webpages of former researchers?

Edit: I forgot to note that I have a Linkedin profile, but I don't find it as a good replacement for a personal website.

Edit 2: I'd like to make a website that is sustainable irregardless of the job and company I will work for (I expect this to change multiple times in the next 10 years).

  • You might better know what to fill in your web site after getting accepted for a job. Also, the design of the web page shall be suitable for the position you have. If you are in the medical field, for example, your web site would be professional, strict, not so colourful, etc. If you could specify the field you are in, we would be able to better help you. Additionally, for inspiration, search for some good web sites/portfolios of people in a field similar to yours. ---------- This is not exactly an answer. I would like to post it as a comment, but for some reason, it'd not allow me, – Veo Mar 7 '15 at 15:27
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    Seems like a reasonable start would be to get a personal domain (like barrylastname.com or something similar), copy the content from your university web page, and set the university web page to redirect to barrylastname. Then you can decide over time how it should evolve. – Nate Eldredge Mar 7 '15 at 17:18
  • Is it a technical question (i.e. where to host a website, if not at your univ.) or conceptual (i.e. how to frame its content, etc)? – Piotr Migdal Mar 7 '15 at 18:52
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is specifically about being outside academia. – David Richerby Mar 8 '15 at 1:05
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    @DavidRicherby The question is about something that frequently occurs in academia: leaving, and how to handle a particular aspect of that. Why so hasty to close a question? SE isn't running out of storage :D – Tim Mar 8 '15 at 5:26
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  • Put your website on some other hosting than your university.
  • Write up-to-date status and contact, perhaps with a few words of explanation (e.g. to make it clear that is not only for archival purposes).
  • When it comes to rest of stuff, they can be the same. (Minding academic data and contact; when it comes to branding - it is a question for Workplace SE and answers will depend on your profession.)
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So, just some thoughts:

  • If you are in a field were you are allowed to show of individual work you did for various employers (or various projects for the same employer)
    • Make it a portfolio driven website. Like with the blog below you need the discipline to keep it updated, but perfect for freelancers and the like.
  • If not you have two other options
    • Make it primarily a contact card, so put your contact details, name and biography up front and centre and 'hide' the more time sensitive details away.
      • For example, on my own site I have removed all time sensitive things after realizing I wasn't keeping them up to date enough and I have a second 'secret' portfolio I update every time (once every two or three years) I need to share it.
    • Make it a personal blog discussing things in your area of expertise. If you do this however you have to be sure you will be keeping this up to date with at least a single post per four to six weeks. If you know you won't be able to keep that up, don't do this (as an out of date blog looks kinda bad).

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