Your colleagues, current and potential trainees, collaborators and yes, study sections are doing internet searches on you with greater frequency. Knowing that people are looking, why not show them what you want them to see?

Here’s a list, in no particular order, of things these folks want to see on your first lab website.

  1. A picture of you and your awesome team. An up-to-date lab group photo helps folks who love your work find you at meetings, put faces with your CV and gives an quick sense of how big a program you have.
  2. Give your trainees a shout out.  Writing about a few lines about who the members of your lab are with a link to the current CV promotes a sense of lab ownership . It also provides reviewers and future mentors a sense of who your lab folks are. Don’t forget that your trainees are also applying for grants and every bit helps in promoting your lab as a good place to work.
  3. Contact information on where to send your Nobel Prize. Most universities are a labyrth of halls and similar looking buildings. Give job applicants, lab guests and collaborators a leg up with mailing addresses for packages, a map of where your building is and how to find your lab once inside the building. The kind folks at Google Maps will also help you out but providing pictures of the outside of your building so there is no way the people carrying your million dollar check from Publisher’s Clearinghouse will get lost. (From what we understand, the Nobel Prize committee calls you when you win).
  4. Your new pony. Okay, not a literal pony (although it would be cool if you had one), but if you have gotten some great PR from your university, newspapers or journals, a lab website is a fabulous place to share them. These digests of your work are particularly helpful in nabbing new students and helping them fill in gaps on where you see your team going.

These are the essentials, but a couple of things to note:

  1. Don’t be a bandito. Most universities have policies on your ‘official’ internet presence. Check with your administrators to see if they require you to use their server and web development platform or have disclosures about how your views do/do not reflect those of the university.
  2. Hide in plain sight. If you are checking ‘google’ or another internet search engine and not finding yourself, you can give yourself a few clicks to help, but adding your lab website to your email signature, posters and business cards is a great way to get more traffic moving up as a popular site.
  3. Undergrads are your new best friends. We recently posted on how getting undergraduate work study students is a great time saver but very few universities will help you as you put together your lab’s web site.

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