Students: Why You Need An Online Presence (& how to do it without $ & time

Author(s): Brandy Perkl, Ph.D.

Originally posted: November 20, 2014
Tech Recommendations Disclaimer: Prices and platforms I recommend change over time, if you want updated ideas, email me!

It's just not really possible to exist anymore without something online, and if you're not sharing your own online link then you're also not controlling what people find when they look for you. Scary!!

But I don't want any of you to be spending either time or money on something just to have it be a waste of time - or to have it go under (or potentially worse, have your service of choice jump the shark then forcing you to have to jump too). Sidenote: I did not follow the advice I am giving you here and I have wasted so much time in the past trying to find things I know I've put out there, argh, please please learn from my mistakes.

Maximize Usefulness, Minimize Work

The real goal is maximizing the usefulness of your online presence while minimizing the amount of work it is - you want to have as few places to update as possible (ideally if you're not super into the web you'd have only one and if you are on more social media outlets, you can just make sure they all mention that you only update to your 'main' spot and that these profiles are just for visibility and facilitating connections).

Recommended: Have A Single Page Profile

So here's what I recommend most to students: Just make a simple + free + single page profile (called a splash page) that can link to anywhere else you want to share online if you end up doing that later. (OR just focus on LinkedIn and that's it!, pick one place!) That way you...

  1. Only have to update one place on a semi-regular basis, and

  2. Have just one link to send out to people to make sure they're seeing the online you that you've chosen to show them!

Welcome to Your Professional Online Presence

  • Make a free splash page (this is a single page that links to your email, has a photo, and a little blurb

  • Here are tips/posts on how to do that if you need them: You can get all kinds of tutorials, tips, and other information if you need it there in their blog.

  • be a good substitute for the ick that LinkedIn has become if you don't want to buy into that. Alternate idea: You can link to your own resume or CV that you keep in your own cloud drive (like Google Drive or Dropbox) if you want to make sure that's more available to potential employers. (Here's an example of a CV with some of my information - you can use the File --> Copy option if you want to use mine as a model.)

Once you have a page you're happy with, add it to your resume and link it in your email signature (Pro Tip: Do NOT pick one of the options which includes an image that will look like an attachment). Then you'll be proactively ensuring people see what you want instead of googling you and seeing... who knows what (there is an adult film star that shares my name for example...she's probably very professional in her field, but we obviously do very different work).


They're committed to their mission of focusing on well-designed splash pages, and on being a digital business card. As far as these kinds of companies go, they're stable, and have committed to being free (maintaining both for years now). They also offer a method to share all about yourself easily and fast without losing your personality - which is so important. They're well designed, urge you to follow principles of good design (just through the user interface, so that means no extra work or learning on your part), and they take care of keeping things up to date on the web design end. All pages adapt to whatever device someone uses to view your stuff - without you needing to lift a finger.

That's it! It really should only take you 10-30 minutes to get it put together and be in control of your online self from here on out! Then in the future if you decide you do want to share things other places, just like those places from your page and note in the profile the new sharing site will have (they pretty much all do) that you keep things up to date on your page. Then pat yourself on the back and spend all that time you saved doing something else.

Further Reading

Online Reputations

Online Self-Promotion

These are all from my favorite small business blog by Sarah Von Bargen - because you are a business (and her posts are just so lovely to read).

Image sourced from  M. Krolikowski at 500px.