As a scientific researcher and blogger, I sometimes need to cite papers in my blog posts. Maybe list out my publications too. Managing citations and publications with text editors is extremely annoying and messy, not only for the publisher but also for the readers. Hence, the need to utilize some tools that facilitate scientific blogging.
Additionally, applying for a scientific grant or being granted one requires creating a website regarding the granted project, at least for European projects. However, it is time consuming to build an outstanding scientific website, in addition to being distracted from your research. In this post, I will share my secret for building such a website in less than an hour. The focus of the post will be on building a website for a scientific project as it has more requirements than a personal academic blog. Nevertheless, you can build any scientific website without programming skills by following this post.
Before I start creating any website, or doing any-work, I write down all the requirements. For a scientific website, the requirements I defined are:
- Static pages describing the project
- Listing project news
- Multiple researchers should be able to register and collaborate, i.e. a multi-user platform
- Blogging while being able to cite papers scientifically
- Listing the publications resulted by the project
- An event calendar showing the up-coming important dates (e.g. meetings and code-campes)
- A forum for researchers in the project to discuss topics
Once the requirements are clear, I research the most suitable and convenient approach to meeting them. Here are my research outcomes:
Steps to Create the Best Scientific Website:
1) Use WordPress
WordPress is a great open-source CMS and blogging system. It is the most used blogging platform and many well known websites have utilized it (e.g. LinkedIn, TED, and PlayStation). Additionally, it is secure and safe to use as it has been there for long time and maintained very well. WordPress is easy to setup and use, yet, very powerful. Not only It provides the ability to host static pages, blog and news posts, but also allows users management out-of-the-box. As a result of just using WordPress, we have met our requirements from 1 to 3.
2) Utilize WordPress Plug-ins
Given the popularity of WordPress, many developers have created great plug-ins for it, not to mention that most of them are open source and free. During my research for the best plug-ins to use for the requirements, I have stumbled upon these great plug-ins which we will need:
Academic Blogger's Toolkit
Allows adding academic papers and citing them in posts and pages. The plug-in also allows importing a full bibliography from your favorite reference manager. To read more about the features this plug-in provides click here!
techPress is a great plug-in for managing publications and courses. You can import, export, and list your publications easily with its user-friendly dashboard interface. Read more about what this plug-in provides by visiting its webpage!
The Events Calendar
The Events Calendar is the events calendar. It is highly customizable and offers numerous features including, but not limited to, widgets for up-coming events, events search, Google maps, and exporting to Google calendar. By using The Events calendar you are assured to have a high quality plug-in. If you require more features, the plug-in has a PRO version. Go ahead and check it out!
When it comes to easy-to-set-up and simple-to-use forums, bbPress is your first choice. With few clicks you would have a forum ready where all collaborators can discuss great topics along with sharing their ideas. Obtain bbPress from here
3) Chose a great theme
An important aspect of any website is its user-interface, its face to the globe. Given the lack of time to design my own themes, I would install a premade theme. The process of finding a suitable theme that meets the style of the project, in itself, is time consuming. Which is why I mostly would purchase a premium theme. In addition to saving my time, premium themes come with customer support, various great features, drag-and-drop editors, responsive layouts, multi-language support, and many more for a very affordable price.
To save you time, here is a list of the best five premium WordPress themes I have seen during my research. Check them out and choose the one with the features that meet your needs. Typically all of them will!
Nothing beats customers satisfaction, and this is why Enfold theme is the most rated theme on themeforest. It has an advanced layout and content editor. Moreover, it is extremely easy to use. Click here to check this theme out.
BeTheme knows well how to save you time. It comes per-configured with more than 230 websites that you can install by 1-click. Each website demo included in this theme is made for an entirely different purpose, just to illustrate the wide customizations this theme provides. To see all the +230 websites this theme provides, click here.
Using the 750+ theme options that are provided in The7 allows you to build your dream website without breaking a sweat. See all the other features this theme provides by clicking here.
Like BeTheme, Bridge comes with +200 complete demos to facilitate building your website. An essential feature this theme has, at least for scientists, is to build stunning inforgraphic elements to include in your posts. To view the demos and read all the features and plug-ins this theme has visit click here.
To view other premium alternatives, visit themeforest as they offer a wide collection of themes for all purposes. However, if you had a tight budget and cannot afford buying a premium theme, the following themes are FREE and seemed good for a scientific project’s website: Sparkling, Accelerate, GeneratePress, Alizee, Revera, Virtue, Dazzling, Flat Theme, Enlightenment, and Nisarg.