Full transparency – this website is meant to help my digital marketing career as well as help PhDs leave and explore careers outside of academia. In this article, I explain how a website can advance your career too. (:
After Your PhD is a fairly transparent website. I didn’t leave an arguably exploitative environment to not use my time wisely. I left academia to move away from the mindset that “I will spend time and money on something strictly out of my love for it.”
After Your PhD is a passion project and informational resource, but it’s not purely motivated by personal fulfillment.The website is also motivated by a desire to build experience in the digital marketing industry.
By being more transparent about the goals, motivations, and processes of building a website (and a brand), PhDs and people exploring digital marketing careers can learn from this content.
Below I outlined ways that a website can help advance your career.
A Website Is An Ever-Changing Asset You Control
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest – what do they have in common? You don’t fully “own” them. They could all shut down the next day. A website is special because it’s an asset you can continually build and optimize. It’s yours.
Having full control over your website means you can also show it off to friends, and employers. By having a website, you actually have real-world experience because you took the first step of creating a website.
You Learn SEO Knowledge When You Build A Website
To truly take a website to the next level, having knowledge of search engine optimization and user intent will grow your site. Search engine optimization refers to making your site more visible to search engines and users. When people search for “how to leave academia” or “after your phd,” I hope that people will land on afteryourphd.com.
One crucial way I’m directly learning about SEO is by understanding the process of indexing through tools like Google Search Console. Indexing refers to how search engines keep track of all the information that exists in their database. If your pages from the website don’t exist in the index, how can Google serve a search result about your site to users? Tools like Google Search Console allow you to request indexing or learn more about how your pages are indexed.
Building A Website Is Also Brand Building
A website is not only a website but a brand. A brand acts as a positive signal to users.
Ideally, you want users and readers to return to your website. If they don’t trust or even like your brand, why would they both search for it or click links for your site in Google Search?
One specific area I’m learning more about is the notion of brand voice. There are a lot of informational websites about leaving academia, but I don’t see them as being as transparent. I don’t want After Your PhD to be the voice of Ryan Collins, I want it to be a space where others can also share their perspectives on the blog.
Explore Monetization Through A Website
Websites can be a very creative asset for exploring self-expression, but a website can also be used for passive income. There are several examples of people who make money through their content whether that’s from ad revenue, affiliate marketing, paywalling content, or selling merchandise.
Coming from academia, I’m used to paywalled content. After Your PhD will always have free content. However, I have student loans and a family with 3 kids. WordPress isn’t free either and the automatic transcription for interviews costs money as well.
You may see ads on this site with Google Ad Sense. Having a very intrusive ad can make the experience sour and that’s not my goal. I’m still exploring ways to monetize the site that will benefit the continued production of content.
I encourage you to think of ways to monetize your website that fits within the brand and makes sense. For example, are you an artist with a website? Sell your art through your website.
Your site is yours, go do something with it and tell people about it.
After Your PhD
What's Next After Your PhD?