Personal Websites

Your own website
In academia, it is very important that you have your own website. All kinds of people may want to find some information about you, for example a student or someone that you meet at a conference. Think of it as a business card.

What should be on the website?
Generally, your personal website should at least contain a short description of your research interests, your current position, your publications, teaching, organisational activities and contact details. Look at a few websites of PhD candidates that have been at ILLC for a while.

Creating your own website
There are many, many ways to create a website, and not all of them require coding. If you know HTML or want to learn it, then Github Pages is a very popular option. It provides free hosting, and becomes very powerful when you use it in combination with Jekyll, a simple, blog-aware static site generator. You can even add a custom domain to it (not for free).

If you don’t know HTML, you can still use Github Pages, using the Automatic Generator. You only have to provide the text of your website, and after pressing a button you it will generate a website for you.

You can also use Google Sites to visually create a simple website without coding. If you do not want to use Github, then know that also Dropbox and Google Drive allow you to host a website!

Update your UvA profile
The university generates a profile page for every new employee, called the UvA profile. We recommend you to take a look at yours and correct any information that is wrong or missing. We encourage you to add a link to your new website on your profile. This will also help Google find it. For information on how to edit this profile page, you can go here (UvA NetID login required) and to the ILLC support website.

Let Google find you
So you have your own website, now what? Well, to start with, it would be nice if people could find you on Google. In general, it will take a couple of days or weeks for Google to pick up your site and when it does, your site might not show up very high in the rankings. Luckily, you can change that. The difficulty of this task depends a little bit on the what kind of name you have. If your name is a concatenation of pseudo-random characters it’ll be quite easy. If your name is Mr. or Mrs. Lolcat it’ll be generally quite hard to get anywhere near the first page.

In any case, the basic strategy is simple: try to get as much other websites as possible to link to your website and make sure those links are surrounded by words that you want Google to associate with your website. A good start would be to edit your UvA profile and provide a link to your personal website. After that, go to whatever other website that allows you to put a link to your website in your profile. Provided that your name is not too common, your website should show up on the first page of a Google search for your name within a couple of weeks. If you want to take this to the next level, search for ‘search engine optimisation‘.