Developing a web presence helps readers discover your publication by building effective connections across sites. However, we urge caution in the creation of community websites that overlap with the journal's content. The journal must meet obligations and standards regarding production values, subscriptions, archiving, and copyright that may not apply to your community website. Therefore, while your journal benefits from being associated with vibrant web content from other sources, it is important to protect the rigor and prestige of the journal as a discrete scholarly project.
We have developed a guide for developing and maintaining this web presence with this in mind.
Guide for developing your journal’s web presence
Establish objectives. What are your goals? Your website or blog may be intended to
- provide information about the journal
- provide information about ancillary projects, such as forums or conferences
- explain how to submit to the journal
- drive traffic to the journal's content
- create a community
- Identify your audience. Who is your primary audience? Prioritize content that meets that audience's interests. Examples of audiences include
- potential contributors
- current contributors
- readers of the journal
- editorial board members
- visitors unfamiliar with the journal
- scholars within the discipline
Consider tone. Your intended audience should also inform your tone and word choice. Does your language need to be accessible to new or nonspecialist readers? Would the titles and labels on your website make sense to a person who has not read the most recent issues? Use informal or conversational language if it would be clearer.
Design your website according to your site’s main objectives. For example, if your main goal is to attract submissions, is that information easy to find without scrolling down the page or clicking away from your website? If your objective is to direct readers to the journal, do you provide links to the content wherever possible?
- Use search engine optimization strategies (SEO). These recommendations should make your site more discoverable:
- Make sure that your webpages all have descriptive titles.
- Link your social media pages and online professional profiles to your website.
- Tag all your web entries with keywords.
- Use descriptive text on your home page that includes relevant keywords.
- Choose a URL that contains likely search terms.
- Watch this video on SEO strategies or read Google's tips and best practices. We are also happy to provide guidance in this area.
- Name your website. Avoid using the journal title as its formal name or as the URL. Rather, differentiate the website from published material through qualifiers, such as "JournalTitle Forum," "JournalTitle Blog," or "JournalTitle Digital Community." Consider that the online journal at dukejournals.org or projecteuclid.org is the journal and not merely an archive of the "print journal.”
Link visitors to the journal. Wherever possible, please link the community website to the journal's primary content site on read.dukeupress.edu or projecteuclid.org. Increase usage of your journal by linking to the tables of contents of specific issues and specific articles.
Share on social media. Link your page to social media channels relevant to your community, including Twitter feeds and Facebook or LinkedIn accounts.
Use analytics to evaluate your website’s success. We highly recommend Google Analytics, a free commercial-grade web analytics service that provides data on how your users find your site and how they behave after they arrive.
Develop a plan for maintenance. Be realistic about how much and how often you can maintain the site. The Press website at dukeupress.edu is regularly updated with current issues, subscription and ordering information, and your journal's submission guidelines. You can reduce pressure on your editorial team by linking to this information rather than maintaining it yourself. You can also use widgets to automate updates of your journal's table of contents or most-read articles.
Best Practices For Your Website
- Always share links to online versions of articles, not PDFs. Sharing PDFs undermines your usage statistics.
- Be aware that every issue's table of contents and all article abstracts are freely available online.
- Don’t exceed 10 percent of a journal article’s total word count when sharing teaser content, due to copyright and permissions protections. If you would like to quote excerpts of greater length, please contact the journals director.
- Please keep in mind that the Press cannot guarantee the stability and accessibility of any supplemental journal content that appears on your website that is not published in the journal for all subscribers and reference tools. Supplemental journal content might include multimedia material such as video and sound clips. If you would like to discuss including digital media in your journal, please contact the journal director.
We've collected some additional resources that you might find helpful.
Please contact us if you have questions or would like to discuss your web project in more detail.