23 tips to improve your web presence

I was challenged to say a few words about improving their personal web pages at the University of Oslo. This led to a short talk titled 23 tips to improve your web presence. The presentation was based on experiences with keeping my own personal page up to date, but hopefully, the tips can be useful for others.

Why should you care about your employee page?

Some of my reasons include:

  • Your personal page is your “business card”. It contains information about how, where, and when to reach you.
  • It is used by internals (other employees, students, admin) for finding out more about what you do and who you are.
  • It is used by externals (colleagues, prospective students, industry, journalists, “everyone else”) to find out more about what you do and who you are.

In my experience, an academic’s personal page is more important than many people think. They often appear near the top when you search the internet, so people will actually look at them. A boring, un-updated, standard personal page may not be bad for you. You may get away with people thinking that your university’s communication department is to blame. But a rich, updated personal page is a valuable asset. It may help attract new students, secure you a grant, or get you a new job.

The 23 tips

Ok, so how do you do it? The tips may be more interesting to look at in the PDF of my presentation, but here is a bullet list for convenience:

  1. Check (and update) your page regularly
  2. Check that your affiliation is correct
  3. Check your contact information
  4. Use an official photo (close-up with white background)
  5. Add other photos, videos, etc. further down on your page
  6. Add a short bio that you can easily copy-paste for other places
  7. Have another personal web page? Link to it!
  8. Have a blog? Feed from it!
  9. Use the page as a hub for other things
  10. Link to project pages
  11. Link to your research groups/labs
  12. Add links to images
  13. Highlight a few publications, with a summary and a cover image
  14. Keep your Cristin (research registration system) up to date and watch the automagic listings
  15. Remember to add URLs in Cristin, so that they show up in the listings
  16. Add abstracts in Cristin, too, they also show up
  17. Add folders with more stuff to your personal page
  18. Make press images readily available
  19. Keep local “originals” of social media stuff
  20. Add sub-folders with supplementary research material that you don’t know where to put
  21. Remember to update both your English and Norwegian pages
  22. Don’t know how to edit, check the documentation pages
  23. Stuck? Ask someone nearby

Several points are most relevant for people at UiO or in the Norwegian system, but most are general. The most important is to do something and understand the importance of your online presence.

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Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.