website must haves

Website Design: 4 Must-Have Pages for Your Historian’s Website

Website DesignWhat content and information should you include as part of your historian’s website design?

Your website serves as the most important plank in your historian’s platform.

Your website serves as your online hub, the place people go to find out more information about you, your work, and how to get in contact with you.

For many creating a website can seem daunting, especially when it comes to what content you should include. (We will discuss how and where to create a website in a future post.)

In this post you will discover four pages that you should include in your historian’s website and four pages that you might include.


4 Must-Have Pages for Your Historian’s Website


1. Landing Page: The first page visitors see when they visit your website.

Landing Page ExampleThis page should contain a brief welcome, a succinct summary of who you are (1-3 sentences), an overview of the information and resources your website contains (i.e. list pages you want visitors to checkout such as your about page, blog, book page, and public speaking page), and a way for visitors to contact you, preferably link(s) to your e-mail address or primary social media account(s).

Landing Page Examples: Liana M. Silva, Keith Harris, Kenneth Owen.


2. About Page: The page that explains who you are.

The best about pages get to the point and do not stretch accomplishments.

They contain a professional headshot and contact links.

About Page ExampleSome experts recommend that you write no more than two, short paragraphs on your about page; studies reveal that people have an attention span of about 8 seconds!

You can write as many paragraphs as you like, but be as succinct as possible. Keep large chunks of text to a minimum and make the information easy for visitors to skim by adding bold section titles.

You can also add photos or embed your CV at the bottom of your page.

I opted to create a separate page for my CV. About Page ExamplesMegan Kate NelsonJarret Ruminski, Kristen D. Burton


3. Research/Writing/Book Page(s): The page(s) where historians highlight their publications.

Books Page ExampleIf you have published a book, you should create a book page.

Book pages vary.

Some historians create a web page for each book.

Others offer a list of books with a photo of the cover and a brief synopsis of the book.

Book Page ExamplesChristopher Cameron and Ari Kelman


If you have not published a book, you should still create a publications or writing portfolio page.

You publication page should list your publications much like they appear on your CV, i.e. group your publications by type and introduce each type with a bolded section heading.

Some scholars also include a brief synopsis of their peer-reviewed journal articles.

When possible, include links to your publications. Publications Page Examples: Joe Adelman, Jana Remy, and Liz Covart (I offer my page because I couldn’t find another scholar who lists publications.)

Combined Publications Page Example


Some historians like to combine their books and articles into a single publications page.

Combined Publications Page Examples: Dan Cohen and Joyce E. Chaplin


4. Contact Page: The page that makes it easy for visitors to contact you.

Contact Page ExampleUse this page to provide links to your e-mail address and all social media accounts that you check regularly.

You could also include your mailing address, phone number, publisher, and literary agent.

Some historians also use a contact form.

Contact Page ExamplesAndrew Pegoda and Danielle McGuire


5 Optional Pages for Your Historian’s Website

1. Blog: blogs provide a fantastic medium to broadcast your ideas.

If you have a blog you should either keep the blog on your historian's website or provide a link from your historian's website to your blog.

If you have a blog, make sure you update it with some regularity.


OnlineHub2. Press/Media/News Page: This page lists information about your appearances in the press, public speaking engagements, or other positive news about you and your work.


3. Resources: Resource pages provide helpful information to your website's visitors. They also serve to draw visitors to your website.

The resources you offer could be as simple as a linked list of your favorite blogs, how-to resources, or useful articles.

Other ideas include social media hashtag lists specific to your subfield, links to your favorite online databases, or favorite books.


4. Teaching: If you teach history, consider creating a page that lists and describes the courses you teach or have taught.

Provide links to your syllabi whenever possible and consider offering a paragraph or two about your teaching philosophy.


Teaching Page Examples: Joseph M. Adelman offers 4 pages about his teaching: an overview, a blogging rubric, his work at Framingham State University, and the classes he taught at Johns Hopkins University.

John Fea has a page that links to his "Virtual Office Hours" YouTube videos.

Roy Rogers provides a page that lists the courses he has taught and links to individual webpages with information about each course.


5. Services: Do you provide a professional service such as writing, editing, research, or consulting?

Create a page that explains and offers your professional skills for hire.


Share StoryShare Your Story

What pages do you have on your historian’s website?

What questions do you have about how to create a website?



3 Reasons Why You Need a Website & The Information You Should Include In It

social media - internet networking conceptIf you work as a writer, you need a website. You need a website even if you are affiliated with a college or university.

Your website serves as the keystone of your writer platform: your personal ability to sell books, magazines, and newspapers through who you are, who you know, and your personal media outlets.

In this post, you will discover 3 reasons why you need a website & what information you should include in it.


3 Reasons Why You Need A Website

Google Search1. Google Search. We live in a search-engine filled world. Whenever we want to find information about a person, place, news, event, or task, we use a search engine to find it.

2. Your Online Hub. Your website serves as the keystone of your writer platform because it allows you to control your narrative and provides Google Search with a natural place to send people.

A website will allow you to share your full narrative with anyone who visits your site. You can broadcast only snippets of your story with social media.

Academic writers should develop an online hub that is separate from their department website.

OnlineHubYour page on the department website contributes to the narrative of the department, more than it showcases information about you and your work. Most importantly, most department websites make their faculty members look like institutional dullards.

Why not give your readers something more exciting to look at and read?

Create a website that expresses your expertise, publications, and personality. If you need inspiration see and

3. A Place that Points to You. A website gives readers and fans a way to link to you whenever they write about you or cite your work.

Website Must Haves

1. Bio or About Me Page. This page should contain a picture of you and a couple of paragraphs that describe you and your work in a way that will resonate with your readers. Your photo should be professional looking, but it doesn’t have to be too formal.

Contact2. Contact Information. Many writers opt to put this information on their about page, some include it on as many pages as possible.

Your contact information should include your e-mail address and social media handles. You can add your phone number and mailing address if you want to.

3. Writer Resume/CV. An easy way to keep this information up to date is to create a resume or CV through Google Drive and embed the link of your document in the appropriate page on your website. This trick will allow you to automagically update your web copy when you edit your electronic copy. For an example, see my CV page.

4. Writing Samples. If you are a freelance writer, you should include scanned examples of your printed work and links to your online publications.

5. Press Page/Media Kit. This page should list all of your upcoming and several of your past speaking engagements. You should also include information about your book, a brief bio, a professional-looking photo, testimonials, and the press release for your book. You might also bundle all of this information into a PDF file that people can download.

mailing-list6. E-mail List Sign-Up. An e-mail list is one of the most important resources you can build.

Having 5,000 Twitter followers or Facebook fans is great, but Twitter and Facebook own your followers and fans, not you. Facebook has begun to charge fan-page owners to broadcast their message to their fans. Twitter may not be far behind.

If you build an e-mail list on your website, you will own the contact information for your subscribers. Ownership will allow you to interact with your fans and followers via e-mail any time you have important, helpful, or interesting news to convey to them.

7. Bonus Information. Bonus information should draw fans and readers to your website. It might include additional research or stories you couldn’t include in your book, cut scenes, illustrations of your characters, sneak peeks of your forthcoming book(s), videos about you, contests or giveaways that promote your work, or a blog that provides valuable content.


personal websiteBonus Tips: URLs

Ideally, your URL should be the name you (will) publish under.

If you have a common name like Robert Smith, add "writer," "author," or a middle initial to your name. You might also try an obvious nickname with "writer," "author," or a middle initial, i.e.

Some authors buy URLs for their book titles.

You can use different URLs to point to different pages on your website. For example: or will take you to my "About" page, will take you to my blog.

You can search for and buy URLs from sites like NameCheap or GoDaddy. After you find, but before you purchase, your URL be sure to use Google Search to locate a coupon. Both sites regularly offer coupons that will save you money.


Concluding Remarks

I hope I have convinced you to create a website. If I haven’t, send me an e-mail, leave a comment, or tweet me and tell me why you are reluctant.

If I have convinced you, send me an e-mail, tweet, or leave a comment if you need help with content or ideas for how to build your website.

Good Luck!


time-to-shareShare Your Site

Do you have a writer website?

Share your link in the comments section so we can build a database of examples for our fellow writers and historians.