It’s really hard to write a story these days without referencing a website, so here’s a recap of AP style website rules – and the Associated Press spells “website” just so – one word and lowercase W.

According to the AP stylebook, you should always follow the spelling and capitalization of the website owner. AP style also says to use the name of the website rather than the Web address.

For example: YouTube, not YouTube.com. (Your paper may have its own rules on how to refer to websites, so the important thing is to remain consistent.) However, sometimes the name of a company includes .com, such as Amazon.com or Overstock.com.

AP style also says to include the protocol command at the beginning of a website address — the most common one is http://, which stands for hypertext transfer protocol and tells the Internet to transfer to a different location on the Web — but, again, your paper may prefer to omit it.

If the Web address falls at the end of a sentence, always use a period. If a Web address breaks between lines, AP style says to split it directly after a slash or a dot, but never use a hyphen. If you start a sentence with eBay or eHarmony, always start it with a capital letter.

Other common words to keep in mind: webcam, webcast and webmaster — note that they are all one word and get a lowercase W.

However, when referring to the World Wide Web — which is where the ‘www.’ comes from in the front of a URL — capitalize the W on all three words. The same rule applies to the Web.

These common words also get the capital W: Web page, Web feed and Web address — note they are all two separate words.

Internet gets a capital I, and when you mention email, note that AP style eliminated the hyphen as of 3/18/11.

The URL, mentioned above, stands for uniform resource location, which are Web addresses. Internet addresses can be email addresses and website addresses. Some more popular sites: Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia.

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