Sometimes, the most reliable source for a paper is found within a website— or, usually, a page or section on a website. That’s why it’s important to cite a website to make it a more reliable source. Read on to learn how!
The perfect formatting of citations depends on the style you will be asked to use. Various formats, such as MLA, APA, and Uniform/ICMJE Requirements, can be used. We will provide you with all the information you need when citing a website. You will only need some of the data below for some citation styles.
In general, you need to find a style matching your requirements with the same type of information you’d provide in print resources, such as title, publisher, author, date cited/accessed/retrieved/ date of publication, and the URL.
Please note that a section or page of a website is cited differently than a blog post, social media posts, and an entire website. Each content format requires different citation guides.
Here, we will go more in-depth to discover how to cite a website, web pages, and sections.
What Does It Mean to Cite a Website?
Citing website resources is an essential part of research and writing. It’s a way to credit the authors who have contributed valuable information to your project. Citing a website means including enough information in your work so that anyone reading it can identify and access the source.
Creating content based on online sources using pictures, recordings, and quotes becomes more critical.
When citing websites, there are several components you need to include: author name, the title of page/article, URL, date published or last updated, any additional contributors (editors), and date accessed. Depending on what style guide you’ll use for your project (such as MLA or APA), you may also need to add extra details like publisher or site owner.
Citations are usually provided at the end of the report, often in alphabetical order. That significantly helps the writer avoid plagiarism claims when writing exceptionally long texts.
Also, it shows the readers that an author respects them by referring to specific sources to find this information. And, of course, anyone can visit these resources to dive more into the research topic.
Using citations allows readers to verify the accuracy of your research findings and gives due credit where it is due – two essential elements of good academic writing!
In a nutshell, a citation is a reference to a source of information used in writing a book, thesis, article, or research paper.
Citations give your readers a clear picture of the guidelines on the sources you depended on to create this piece, especially to complete an academic or highly informative writing text.
Why Is It Important to Cite a Website?
Citing a website is more important than ever! It not only gives credit to the content creators but also ensures that readers can find and verify the source. Here are just a few reasons why citing a website should be at the top of your list when creating content:
The first and most apparent reason for citing websites is to ensure that all sources are properly credited. Authors may be accused of plagiarism or taking someone else’s work without citation. By citing your sources, you respect those who created the information and guarantee its authenticity.
Citation also allows readers to access the source with ease. With proper citations in place, anyone looking for more information or clarification on something can easily visit the website where you found it and see everything for themselves.
When Should You Cite Your Sources?
Anytime you use another person’s words or ideas, it’s important to cite the source appropriately. Doing so ensures that all individuals involved in the project receive proper credit for their work. It also makes it easy for readers to find additional information about related topics. Knowing when and how to cite your sources appropriately can make your piece of work more successful and accurate!
There are several situations when citing a source is necessary.
- When using an exact quote
- When summarising a work, a book, or a study
- When restating or rephrasing an idea from an original source
- When writing a book (all resources you use should be shown in the works cited or references page.)
How to Cite a Website
In general, every source of information you use while building your writing project has to be cited. That should include references from websites, journals, online articles, etc.
However, the formatting used for refacing an entire website will depend on the referencing style you choose to use— from MLA, APA, and Chicago. There is no right or wrong way to do that, but website citations generally require the following data:
The author name [last name, first name format], the web page/source title, website title, publisher, or institution name, data published [use Day, Month, Year format], and the website URL.
On the other hand, to cite a page from a website, you may need a short in-text citation.
Pro tip: use the interactive citation generator machine to make this mission much more accessible. And please note that the format is quite different for citing Youtube and other video platforms or referencing images.
Some Simple Ways to Cite a Website
First, be sure you’ve got all the necessary information. That includes the website title, author’s name (if available), the publishing body (if applicable) and the URL address of the page.
Then, look up how to cite in either MLA or APA format—it depends on what kind of paper you’re writing. Next, check out some online tutorials that provide helpful examples and step-by-step instructions if you feel stuck.
Finally, ensure all your citations are accurate—double-check everything before submitting!
How to Find Information to Cite a Website
Here is the most critical part when citing a website.
- Who is: The organisation or website owner responsible for displaying the author’s name— especially when it’s a public body site or a major organisation such as Diabetes UK or British Psychological Society.
- Where you can find it: the author’s name will be shown at the bottom or top of the article/page you’re using. If it’s not listed there, check out the “contact us”, “team”, or “about us” page of the website, and you can send an email asking how you are writing this piece.
- Tips and notes: It’s okay not to find an individual author. In some cases, a citation style doesn’t require this information, such as APA 6th Edition Citation Style. You can mention the site name if it’s reliable and reputable.
- What is it: You probably need to find two titles: the name of the overall website that the page falls under and the name of the webpage you’re using.
- Where you can find it: this example below demonstrates this: the webpage name is “The Bob Marley Museum“, while the website name is ConnollyCove. You’ll need both of these pieces of information for your citation.
- What is it: This is often just the website name you’re using, but you can also look for who produces or sponsors the site. In other words, consider finding who paid to have this information produced and published online. The British government is the publisher of a big organisation like the Office for National Statistics.
- Where you can find it: Search for it at the bottom of the page. You can find it next to the copyright symbol, and data are given. Some nonprofit organisations (and even some for-profit sites) will have a sponsor who parrots the site. This information could be displayed in a tiny icon at the bottom of the page. So, have a thorough look to create a perfect citation style.
- Tips and notes: If the website sounds to be created and written by an average author rather than a company or organisation, ensure to include “n.p. which stands for no publisher) in your citation where you should use the publishing information.
- What is it: it refers to the date the information or article was posted to the website. In general, you will find only one publication data. Sometimes, the page has been edited or updated, so use the most recent date. For example, a page might indicate that it was published in 2021 but last edited in 2022; you would use 2019, where the publication date should go.
- Where you can find it: Normally, this info is located at the end of the page, next to the “last updated” words.
- Tips and notes: if you find a website with a date like “c2022”, that’s the copyright date— not the publication date. If this is the only date you have, include the “c” in your citation.
Date Cited/Accessed/ Retrieved
- What is it: Data cited the date you looked at the website. You should record in case the content goes offline or is updated. If you can’t remember the exact date when you looked at it, assume!
- Tips and notes: if you look at the resource more than once, use the most recent date you found the information.
Check the citation style you’d use, as some will request the URL and others simply the location of the material, which means the website name only.
Location of Publication
Not all styles require this information, and it’s often hard to find. Try your best to spot the publication location and if all else fails, send an email to the website, or if you use a book as a resource, you can ask a librarian for assistance.
Different Formats and Styles to Cite a Website
No matter what type of piece you’re writing, whether a school project or an article for a blog, it’s important to cite any sources you use. When citing websites, several options are available depending on which citation style guide you follow.
APA style is often used in scientific writing and requires authors to include the author’s name, year of publication and page number in their reference list.
When citing a website with APA style, you should include the URL at the end of your citation. Unfortunately, the year of publication isn’t always available on websites, so if the source does not provide this, use n.d (no date).
MLA style includes the author’s name, page number, and title information, such as book titles or article titles, when applicable.
MLA formatting requires that all sources are cited within the body of your document. Also, it should be displayed at the end on a “Cited” page.
Your citations should include specific information, such as the authors’ names who wrote or contributed to creating content and the title of the website and its URL.
You may also cite any publication dates and other relevant details about the website you’re referencing. Additionally, if you are quoting directly from a website, you must include an in-text citation and enclose those words or phrases in quotation marks.
The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) provides thorough instructions for creating footnotes and bibliographies that reflect proper Chicago Style formatting. That includes specific details about how information should be structured within footnotes and bibliography entries, including punctuation and alphabetical order of entries.
As an added benefit, CMOS also offers guidelines on organising longer works, such as dissertations or books, using Chicago Style formatting. With this comprehensive guide, anyone can easily cite websites using The Chicago Manual of Style format!
How to Cite an Entire Website, Blog Posts and Social Media Posts? (Live Examples)
After we introduce different types of website citations, let’s see how to make it happen for an entire website, not a specific page:
Author surnames. (year, month, day of publishing). Title
Please note that the author can be a person, multiple people, or an organisation. If the author is not a person, state the name correctly.
Multiple writers should be listed separately by commas and ampersands (&) just like this template: author 1, surname, initials., & author 2, surnames, initials.
Also, the title of the website often corresponds to the domain name. And, of course, the first letter of all words and proper nouns should be capitalised.
The last thing is that the title should be italicised.
Entire website citation example
John, K.A., Mendeley, M., & Connolly, R.O. (2021, February 3). How to Build a SWOT analysis. Retrieved from https://profiletree.com/
To cite a blog post, you can follow this format as following:
Author surname (s), initial (s). (Year, month, date of post). Title of a blog post. Retrieved from URL.
Blog post-citation example
Rahma, M. (2022, November 10).What is a Website Strategy? Why You Need it and How You Can Do it [Blog post headline]. Retrieved from https://profiletree.com/what-is-a-website-strategy/
How to Cite a Tweet
The basic template to cite a tweet is as follows:
Tweet Author [Tweet handle— a person or organisation]. (Year, month, date of tweet). Full text of a tweet. Retrieved from URL.
@connolly_cove. (2022, December 7). What is the story behind the Giant’s Causeway? [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/connolly_cove/status/1600548452890558477?cxt=HHwWmoC-xc-VpbYsAAAA
How to Cite an Online Video
The format to cite any online video can be designed as follows:
Name of a creator or [Username or channel]. (Year, month, date of posting the video). Title of a video. Retrieved from URL.
Using this template as a reference when citing a youtube citation.
[ConnollyCove]. (2022, December 15). Thessaloniki Landmarks – 5 Locations you MUST visit in Thessaloniki, Greece – A Travel Blog [Video Title]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie2k-wUNRW4
How to Cite a Facebook Post
Just like the other formate. You can cite a Facebook post as follows:
Author bane/ group or page username. (Year, month, date of posting the posting). A shortened version of the post text. Retrieved from URL.
Please note that if the author is a person, use the previous surname and initial format. Otherwise, use a group or a page name as it’s written.
Using this format as an example reference. So it will be something like this:
ConnollyCove. (2022, April 29). Belfast is a great city for everyone, especially families, with the attractions it offers 👨👩👦 See our top 10 Fantastic Family-Friendly Attractions in Belfast that you can experience this weekend 🔽 [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/connollycove/
Need to use an MLA format to cite an entire website. You can use this accessible format.
Mahmoud, Rahma A. What is a Website Strategy? Why You Need it and How You Can Do it. 2022, November 10: https://profiletree.com/what-is-a-website-strategy/
Please note you need to be consistent in whatever format you choose. Also, if there is more than one author, list them with only the first writer inverted and the others in the correct order, separated by commas and “and”.
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