Web site or website: Breaking old habits

April 21, 2010

Last week, AP announced that it is changing the official AP style from “Web site” to “website.” I guess it has caused quite a stir with those who are more conscious about language than I am.

The change will affect me. It has been a least a couple of years since I embraced “Web site.” One of the main reasons that I embraced that change was because of AP. The AP Style book is a bible to many content creators. From the way I understood it, the reason why Web was capitalized because it is an proper noun or object that is short for World Wide Web. This made sense to me as to the capitalization. I decided to take my cue from this authority of style. Once I embraced this style, I have stayed very consistent with it throughout my writing.

Before that change, I used “website” for at least 3 years. I had been reading several of Gerry McGovern’s books and in The Web Content Style Guide, his usage was “website” as one word. I am not sure what style I was using before that, but I thought it would be a good idea to embrace some sort of standard and be consistent. I had determined that instead of deciding on my own what style to use, I would take the advice of those who had a more professional opinion. I respected Gerry’s work so I embraced this style until I came across the AP style.

My background is not as a journalist major or English enthusiast. I do care about language and content and look to others to take my cues on proper usage. I find this issue interesting in that a recognized authority embraced a change and how that affects those who care about language and usage a lot more than I do.

For me, I am going to embrace the change. It will take me a while to feel comfortable with the change but I will get use to it. I have debated on whether I am going to make changes to content on my Web site, oops (old habits are hard to break), I mean website to reflect this change of style. I think my strategy will be to change the content on my “pages” but keep the style in my “posts” to reflect my accepted usage of the style at the time I shared my thoughts.

While we are on the subject–is it “e-mail” or “email?” My preference for years has been the latter.

Shout goes out to Kristin at Covenant Communications. Her post who gave me the idea for mine.

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