Students, build your website and build your brand

By on January 23, 2012

As a digital journalism student, you know the importance of building your brand on the web. Employers and recruiters check Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and whatever else they can find that gives them a picture of who you are. You get that, right? But, lost in the entire buzz of social media, many students today neglect building a simple, standard web page as part of their online branding.

The personal website is not a dinosaur just yet; reading 140 characters only tells so much about you. As spring deadlines for scholarships and internships approach, including our AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship, make sure to give your contacts a one-stop online shop to find you and all of your social media profiles.

Don’t let HTML coding or more complex website builders intimidate you. Here are three simple and easy website builders you can use right now. Each of the websites I created for this post took less than five minutes to complete. (These quick-build sites may be far from sophisticated, but half the battle is simply getting started.)

Wix.comWix labels itself as a “do-it-yourself website builder” and for the most part, it is. Sign-up is simple and you’re immediately taken to the “Wix Express” builder, which will create your Flash website in a matter of minutes. There are plenty of designs and pages to explore to get you started. There are pros and cons to creating a Flash website, so make sure you determine what’s best for you. – At the ONA11 conference in Boston, ONA Board member Amy Webb featured this site in her 10 Techier, Trendier Tech Trends presentation. Still in beta, believes “that the traditional text resume is boring, lengthy and long overdue for a makeover” and I couldn’t agree more. This one was perhaps the easiest to set up. I simply connected this page with my LinkedIn page and had a visually appealing website in seconds. – Creating a “single on-line identity” is the goal of The process to set up was fairly simple but perhaps the most unique feature is the ability to view web statistics for my page. If you’re a student applying for several opportunities, you can keep track of page views and hits to your site.

Whether you’re an expert coder or experimental novice, personal websites are the standard resume for digital journalism students. Before your semester to-do list gets too long, take a minute to streamline your online presence with one website.

Slide photo is by ScrippsJSchool via Flickr.


Irving Washington

Irving Washington is the Executive Director/CEO for the Online News Association (ONA), the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists. As a media diversity advocate, Irving has led programming and fundraising initiatives for journalists, media professionals, and students worldwide.