Personal Professional Websites: Ideas about information

Ned Potter, a white man with brown hair and a salt and pepper beard. Holds a microphone and gestures with his hand.

Ned Potter is an Academic Liaison Librarian at the University of York, and a Trainer for various organisations across four continents, including the Bodleian, the British Library and the NHS. His book The Library Marketing Toolkit was published by Facet in 2012. Ned can be found online at and on Twitter at @ned_potter.

What is your site’s URL? 

Briefly, what is the current purpose of your site?

To share ideas about libraries, marketing and social media. It’s also to tell people what sort of workshops I run if they want to book training, and to get tips and techniques out to people who can’t come my workshops.

Was the original purpose of your site different from this current purpose? If yes, how and why did it change?

Sort of. I set up my original site back in 2009 just as a blog, and it was called thewikiman because it was going to document the process of building a wiki… As you can imagine, that didn’t last! Since I changed it over to my own name in 2014 it’s had more or less the same purpose, as a sort of professional HQ for me in librarianship.  

Are you actively looking for work? (check all that apply)

√ Yes, for speaking gigs

√ Yes, for teaching gigs 

Has your site brought you any work? And if so, what?

I do freelance work half a day a week, running workshops. I have no idea what percentage of the work I get is directly because of the workshop, but plenty of people contact me via it asking for training. 

About Your Site and Sites in General

Did you pay someone to design or build your site?

√ I paid for a template (or templates) 

Which of the following content do you have on your site (check all that apply)?

√ Descriptions or list of services you provide

√ Blog about professional topics

√ List of publications

√ List of presentations

√ References, testimonials and/or press

√ Twitter or other social media feed

√ Your Bio

√ Your photo 

Which of the following personal links or connection methods do you provide on your site? (Check all that apply)

√ Email

√ Twitter

√ Instagram

√ LinkedIn 

√ YouTube 

Is your site strictly library/archives/LIS related?

√ Yes 

When was your site last updated?

√ Within the last week 

What causes you to update your site, and about how frequently does that occur?

I used to blog ALL the time when I was young! Now I do it every so often. I’m more often updating my site, at least monthly, to put new workshops onto the Events page etc

Does your site use any of the following platforms/services?

√ Squarespace 

How much do you pay annually to run your website? (for numbers not in American dollars, please use other)

√  I think it’s $150 or something

Do you allow comments on your site?

√ Yes 

Do you have advertising on your site?

√ No. I get approached about paid posts all the time, I don’t understand how it can possibly be financially worthwhile for the people pitching! But I always say no. No ads, no paid-for content. 

Do you have analytics on your site?

√ Yes 

About how many people visit your site in a month?

√ 3001-10,000 

Is having a personal website a “must”?

√ Nope! Not at All! 

Do you have any privacy concerns associated with sharing your personal information, resume, etc., on a public website? If so, what measures do you take to feel safer?

I don’t share a full CV or my address or anything, so no 

What advice would you give someone wanting to create their own personal professional site?

Don’t feel you have to. If you have a purpose for it, then by all means go for it. But it’s such nonsense to say things like ‘it’s important to cultivate your librarian brand’ and that kind of pressure-making stuff. I like having somewhere to write stuff and for people to find me, but I work 10% of my time as a freelancer so I need that; not everyone does. 

If you do create one, don’t set yourself a target of how often to post to it. Momentum can be useful when blogging, but then not feeling stressed about not having blogged is useful too. When you have something to say, say it; when you don’t, it’s fine to step back and not try to force content.

Give people a NEXT STEP if they like your stuff. If they read a blog post and they want to read another, make that really easy for them (for example by having a ‘most popular posts’ sidebar next to the blog) – or make it easy for them to find your twitter if you’re happy talking to people there, etc.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your website? Or personal websites in general?

If you get a decent viewership for your website, there’s a good chance more people will read your blog post than will read a journal article. That’s no small thing. It’s a great way to reach people with ideas and things which people find helpful.


What is your job title?

Academic Liaison Librarian 

What types of organizations do you work for or with? (Check all that apply)

√ Academic Library 

If you work for someone besides yourself, does that organization have rules about what you can share on your personal site?

√ No 

What part of the world are you in?

√ UK 

Thanks for reading! If you have a personal professional website that you’d like to talk about, please fill out the survey.

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