Website tips for researchers

If you’re interested in sharing your research and ideas, a website is key. Your website tells people who you are, what your research is trying to achieve, and gives people a way to contact you to find out more.

But how do you begin?

Keep it simple.

Web design shouldn’t be complicated. Clean, easy to navigate layouts are easier to read.

Keep enough white space so your visitor isn’t overwhelmed and can see the important information you want to emphasize.

Use simple fonts (and not too many of them) and keep your color palette to just a few colors.

And remember, dark text on a light background is easiest for most people to read.

Avoid jargon.

Using clear, concise language makes your website easier for everyone to understand. It’s important to think about who the audience is that you’re trying to reach, but for many researchers it’s fellow researchers, students, and the general public—so it’s best to keep it accessible to all audiences.

Keep the research front and center.

Your research should be prominently featured on your website, and you should include links to materials (papers, presentations, etc.) that showcase your work.

You should have current and up to date research images, and photos of you and your team members (if applicable).

Keep it up to date.

Update your website regularly with new information about your work, upcoming events, and other news.

Build a website (for UVA Researchers)

For Researchers in the College of Arts & Sciences: OpenScholar

The College uses a company called OpenScholar for faculty websites. The company provides easy to use templates for researchers so setting up your website is easy.

Here’s a link to set up a website on OpenScholar:

For assistance getting set up, please contact Zach Wheat (



For UVA Researchers: Drupal

UVA uses Drupal for its websites, including faculty websites. Advantages to using Drupal: you have access to all the branding and tools you need to make your website look like a UVA site.

To create a single faculty site with UVA ITS/CACS is generally estimated at 5 hours at $120/hour ($600) for set up, training, and go-live. Faculty will only be billed for the time required to perform the required tasks. Afterwards, ITS/CACS charges an annual hosting fee of $300 (billed monthly via worktags). 

Sites are based on

  • Please note: the development sites do not have security certificates – You will need to click “Advanced” and “Continue to Site” the first time you visit.  When the sites are live, they will have security certificates.

Approximately one hour of the estimate is for Drupal content management training. Some savings can be achieved by doing a single training. CACS can record and share this training with anyone who is unable to join the scheduled training.

Final URLs will be [lab-name]

Some examples of faculty sites:

 To request help creating a website, fill out a form here:

For UVA Faculty and Staff: UVA Create

UVA Create is a low-cost, web hosting service (Domain of One’s Own) offered by the University of Virginia Library Reclaim Hosting to the UVA community to support teaching, learning, and research. The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) service gives account owners full control over their web environment and intellectual content through access to a cPanel dashboard and over 150 web applications and development technologies.


Other platforms for building websites

Here are some other platforms for building websites: