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How to Cite a Link


When writing a research paper, it is essential to document all of the sources that you utilized. For referencing purposes, APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association) are widely used as the standard for the method in which to format and reference professional papers. It is important to know which format that you must adhere to. There are particular guidelines that one must adhere to when referencing a link to information obtained electronically. Knowing how to cite a link will ensure that you are able to adhere to the guidelines, and that your paper will look professional.

APA and MLA Citing In-Text

Cite the entire Web site link enclosed within the text if there is not a particular part of the Web site that you are referencing. After you refer to the link, include the direct link to the Web site within a set of parentheses for APA style, and in a set of angled brackets for MLA style. Be sure to include the "http://" without the quotation marks at the beginning of the Web site. An APA example would look like "(http://www.example.com)" without the quotation marks. An MLA example would look like "http://www.example.com" without the quotation marks. There is no need to include this in the bibliography.

Reference the year and paragraph of the link within a set of parentheses in the text. If you are referring to a particular part of the link, include the year and which paragraph you are referencing, separated by a comma and a space. Paragraph should be shortened to "para.," and a space should be left between the period and the numerical paragraph reference.

Include the first initial and last name of a person referenced for a personal communication link, such as an email. This should directly be followed by the words "personal communication" and the date of the communication, both within a set of parentheses. The date should be separated by a comma. There is no need to include this in the bibliography.

Citing a Link in the Bibliography APA Style

List the author's last name followed by first initial, separated by a comma. If there is more than one author, but less than six, put a comma directly after the first initial and list up to two more names in the same fashion. An "&" symbol should be used in place of a comma before the last name listed.

List the numerical year of the Web site article within a set of parentheses. If the link is for a monthly or daily periodical, list the numerical year first, then a comma and the month fully written out, followed by a numerical day, if it is included.

Write the name of the link's article in italics, which you are referencing. Only the first letter of the first word needs to be capitalized. End the title with a period.

Enter the date that you retrieved the article. Write the word "Retrieved" without the quotation marks and then write out the month, followed by the numerical day, and then the numerical year separated from the day by a comma. The year should be followed by a comma, as well.

List the Web site's name from which you pulled the reference. Write the word "from" without the quotation marks, and then the title of the Web site. Follow the Web site's name with a colon.

Include the actual Web site link. Be certain to include the "http://" prefix, without using the quotation marks, and be accurate with any letters, numbers or characters included in the address.

Citing a Link MLA Style in the Bibliography

List the author's last name followed by first name separated by a comma. Place a period after the first name. If there is more than one author, follow the same format for each author listed.

Place the title of the article reference in a set of quotation marks. End the title with a period, also contained within the quotation marks.

List the Web site in italics, ending it with a period.

Insert the date of the article, or the last date that the article was updated. The format should be the numerical day first, the written out month and then the numerical year followed by a period.

List the organization or publisher associated with the Web site, if applicable. End this with a period, as well.

Include the date that you accessed the article for your reference. The format is also a numerical day, the written out month and a numerical year ending with a period.

List the URL link enclosed within a set of angle brackets. Be sure to include all parts of the URL. An example would look like "http://www.example.com/link_citation" without the quotation marks.

About the Author

Caleb Schulte has been a professional writer since 2007. His contributions include online content and press releases for commercial production companies in Los Angeles County, as well as numerous screenplays for television and film. Schulte earned a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design from the University of Advanced Technology in Tempe, Ariz.

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