How to Cite an Article From a Website

Cite websites in your paper with these tips

Web page and design illustration

Citing a website or article is often required when writing papers, gathering documentation, or quoting someone. Knowing how to cite an article is crucial so that your readers will know where they can look for more information or to validate your data.

However, learning how to quote or cite an article is only part of the equation. You can cite literally anything you want, so the other half of the job is identifying whether you should—is the source actually reliable?

Below are a few tips to keep in mind when using sources from the web, as well as some tools you can use to cite or reference the online source.

How to Cite a Website or Article

The easiest way to cite an article or website is use a tool that can do it for you, and there isn't a shortage of such programs. You can use web tools where you enter the information the citation needs and then it spits it out in the correct format, but there are also web browser extensions that make it a little easier.

Websites and Extensions

Some examples of citation maker sites that can help you cite an article include Citation Machine, Cite this For Me, EasyBib, and Cite4Me.

There's a MyBib Chrome extension that you can use if you want an extremely quick way to cite a web page. Cite This For Me: Web Citer is a similar website citation maker for Chrome.

These websites and browser add-ons make citations from articles in just a few clicks, and you can pick from lots of citation styles such as APA, MLA 8, Harvard, AMA, IEEE, and Chicago.

Let's use MyBib as an example since it provides a wizard with help along the way:

  1. Select Create Citation.

  2. From the Website tab, enter the URL to the website or specific article you're citing.

    MyBib website citation generator
  3. Press Search and then select the article you want to cite.

    MyBib article citation generator search result
  4. Fill out all the fields that you can, and press Save when you're finished.

    MyBib citation generator
  5. Right-click the citation and select Copy bibliography entry.

    Copy bibliography entry on MyBib

This is what MyBib generator for us using the data we entered:

Lifewire. “6G: What It Is & When to Expect It.” Lifewire, 2019, www.lifewire.com/6g-wireless-4685524. Accessed 12 Sept. 2019.

You can select the citation style at the top of MyBib to change it to something else.

Use Microsoft Word

If Microsoft Word is where you're writing anyway, you may as well use it to insert the website citation. From the References tab, choose a citation format and then select Insert Citation > Add New Source to fill out the information.

Create Source prompt for citing a website in Microsoft Word

Cite the Website Manually

You should know how to cite a website manually because the results of a citation website or app might not be correct. The best way to ensure that the citation conforms to current styling rules is to check the rule yourself and then build the citation by hand.

The best way to do this is to reference the style's handbook. For example, the MLA Handbook is where you should look to confirm that the formatting generated by a citation maker is correct for the MLA style.

Identifying Reliable Sources

You can create a citation perfectly, but that doesn't mean that the source you're citing is a preferred way to get information. As a simple example, citing something a 3rd grader wrote in the description of her YouTube channel probably isn't as helpful as a source that comes from an established company.

The different is authority on the topic. Which source has more and better experience on the thing you're citing? This is what differentiates a good source from a bad one. Some clear bad sources that you should refrain from using (unless your unique situation calls for it) include everything from personal blogs to social media posts and satirical news sites.

For instance, between these two URLs, you can already tell that the EDU site holds some authority while the personal blog immediately raises doubts about whether the information is reliable. It definitely could be reliable, and even more so than the other website, but you can see how a teacher might immediately doubt one source just because of its URL.

  • www.bobshouseofhair.blogspot.com
  • www.hairstyles.edu

Of course, part of your job is also to check the source regardless of the domain name (because some well-known sites might still have wrong information). If you decide to use a source that isn't providing good or accurate information, your project will not only be inaccurate but it will also show a lack of critical thinking on your part.

Your educator might very well check the websites you cite to see if they meet their minimum requirements of credibility, and you could lose crucial points on an assignment (or even have to do it over again). Trustworthy sources that stand up to healthy criticism are essential.

If you’re an educator, you might check out Kathy Schrock’s critical evaluation surveys. These are printable forms for students of all ages, from elementary to college, that can help them critically evaluate websites, blogs, and podcasts.