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So Which Is It: Web site or website?

Jim ScaglioneToday’s guest post was written by Jim Scaglione, a User Interface (UI) Specialist here at Pongo Resume. Jim holds a B.S. in Communications/Media and is known to indulge in the occasional orange soda. This blog topic was inspired by his real-life quest to find the definitive answer to the Web site vs. website quandary.


Website AddressHave you ever wondered what the correct spelling of Web site really is? Those of us who specialize in the field of Internet Communications and Web Development have often pondered that question, especially when writing a resume. Is it one word or two? Should the W be uppercase? How about a hyphen between the two words? Oh, what a tangled Web we’ve woven.

A Google search reveals that many people have questioned its spelling and given their opinion on which form is correct. Many sources—ranging from Yahoo! to Merriam-Webster to the Associated Press (AP)—have stood by their own variations. 

Let's talk about the AP Stylebook for a minute. Journalists have long referred to it as their bible for proper grammar usage. The AP had always said the proper term was two words, Web site, with the letter W capitalized. While this was accepted among journalists, the single-word, lowercase website had become the standard spelling for many online and print publications. 

However, it appears that just recently, the AP officially changed its guideline from Web site to website. Furthermore, the recently published Yahoo! Style Guide, which is being touted as the new bible for writers and editors in the digital world, agrees that website is the way to go. (But both of these sources still capitalize the W when referring to “the Web.” Go figure.)

Now, one might argue that if you are not in the field of journalism, the AP Stylebook is not the proper source for such questions. Some literary purists may prefer the good ol’ fashioned dictionary for their spelling and grammar questions.

In the interest of those who prefer using a dictionary, I’ve consulted Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary and found its main entry for the word was the AP Stylebook’s former spelling: Web site.

So what’s the verdict? Is it Web site or website? I would say both are acceptable for now, but the single-word website seems to be winning out. If you’re looking to get hired as a reference librarian, perhaps Merriam-Webster (or is that web ster?) should be your guide. If you’re a journalist or content writer trying to land a job, I’d consider using the AP- and Yahoo!-sanctioned spelling.

Now, what if you were referring not to a collection of pages on the World Wide Web, but to the location of an arachnid’s place of residence? I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.

Have you encountered any similar spelling or word usage controversies in your job search or on the job? Leave a comment below.

RELATED LINKS
Resume and Cover Letter Words That Can Trip You Up
How Do YOU Spell Resume?
Quiz: Are You Smarter Than a Spell Checker?

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