Re-reading these posts, I realized something was missing. I didn’t really explain why you should get a domain. In the Top Tips post, I wrote a bit about personal branding, but didn’t explain why it’s important. Hopefully, this post will clear up a few things.
One of the goals of Academic Floss is to help students create an academic portfolio. This goal is mainly intended for grad students, postgrads, and postdocs, but might be valuable for undergrads (and professors) as well. The best way to start an academic portfolio is by starting a blog with a personal domain name. While there are a few websites that will let people create blogs for free, there are conditions that may be unacceptable. For instance, they will almost certainly run ads on the blog, and the bloggers have very little to no control over it. I think of an academic portfolio as being akin to a résumé or a CV, and they’re not the place to stick ads.
The second reason to get a domain name and hosting is to setup a personal cloud. In a forthcoming post, I’ll go more in depth into how and why you should setup a personal cloud, but I think of a personal cloud as the modern equivalent of a filing cabinet. It’s a place to keep your stuff, and to keep it under your control. That post should come out within the week.
The third reason is that having a personal domain allows you to setup a professional looking email address. Anyone can setup an email account from Gmail or Hotmail, but having an email address from a personal domain emphasizes your personal brand. It implies a dedication to maintaining the professional aspects of one’s life.
These are the primary reasons for getting a domain name of your own and using it to setup a website. There may be others, but they are likely to be more personal. If you’re in academia, I hope this gives you some ideas, and encourages you in the future.