October 2, 1:10 p.m.–3:10 p.m.
Murray Hall, 510 George St., Room 302
Taught by Meredith McGill and Andrew Goldstone

In this workshop, you will create a basic academic website for yourself. We will discuss the essentials of online self-presentation for academics and survey some of the available options at Rutgers and beyond for academics creating websites about their work. No prior technological knowledge expected. The workshop will be hands-on and humanist-centric. Graduate students, faculty, and staff welcome.


Seating is limited: RSVP to Vishal Kamath, vkamath@scarletmail.rutgers.edu.

Before the workshop

Participants should make sure they have activated their ScarletMail accounts at scarletmail.rutgers.edu. You may also wish to prepare a copy of your CV, a short description of yourself, or another academic document you would like to present online, but that’s optional!

Notes from the workshop

It was a pleasure to work with our inaugural workshoppers! Here are the broad outlines of our discussion and activities.

Why be academically online?

Your virtual persona

Exercise: Google yourself.

Web? More like tangle. Your image at gravatar will follow you all over the web.

The host

Where will your web presence live?

Static vs. dynamic

  • Metaphorical sense: should you blog?

  • Technical sense: is there a program running?

  • Static blogging setups: jekyll, octopress. Requires fiddling.

Google Sites on ScarletApps

A very simple way to have a web presence


  • Nearly instant
  • More or less easy-to-use web browser interface (like Google Docs)
  • Free, no ads


  • Restricted to Google’s “Themes,” which are deliberately primitive looking
  • Not a good way to blog or host anything dynamic
  • Rutgers hosting means that when you leave RU, you lose the page
  • Google: how’s that not being evil going for ya?
  • http://sites.google.com/a/scarletmail.rutgers.edu/whatever: a bit of a mouthful


wordpress.com, not wordpress.org


  • Nearly instant
  • Can look quite slick
  • Blog if you like (or not, if you don’t)


  • Not 100% flexible in terms of design
  • “freemium” means there will be ads on your site unless you pay $30 / year
  • URL will be http://whatever.wordpress.com unless you pay $18 / year more

MLA Commons

MLA members can have wordpress sites at http://commons.mla.org/blogs/


Demo site: MLMsite

  • Theme
  • Making it private until you’re ready to go public (Dashboard > Settings > Reading > “I would like my site to be private”): see en.support.wordpress.com/settings/privacy-settings/ [—Added this important extra note. AG 10/3/13]
  • Adding Pages
  • Set the front page
  • Upload media

Buying a domain name


  • Nice business-card friendly URL
  • Can change the site your domain points to if you change hosts
  • Pretty inexpensive: namecheap.com: $5-10 / year
  • Or (easier but slightly less cheap): a big host’s service
    e.g. wordpress.com: $18 / year.


  • Web presence is detached from your institutional affiliation
  • Costs something

More options


  • trendy!
  • minimal

The monstrosities and mini-monstrosities

[In AG’s opinionated opinion—Added by AG 10/3/13]

  • LinkedIn: no.
  • facebook: the world’s easiest web presence. Also no.
  • academia.edu: a niche LinkedIn, geared toward science grad students.

The fiddly ones

  • github pages: free hosting of static sites at username.github.io.
    • Requires: basic git usage and html/css or templated markdown
    • Instructions at github pages help
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) webhosting: Cloud data storage. Static site hosting around $0.01 / month for low-traffic, small website.
    • Requires: html/css, custom domain name.
    • Needs fiddling with AWS account settings (amazon provides directions).
  • site44: hosting from Dropbox ($5 / month) of static sites.
    • Requires: html/css.
  • Commercial hosts: limitless expensive possibilities. [Edit: on the cheaper end: Lithium Hosting, A Small Orange.]

Time to work

DH resources

Our upcoming events: dh.rutgers.edu/events
DH committee members available for discussion, meetings: dh.rutgers.edu/committee

Post updated with workshop notes by AG, October 2, 2013
Post updated with a few further editorial changes by AG, October 3, 2013
Two commercial hosts listed—AG, October 13, 2013