It was Will who pointed out to me awhile back that “website” is not the proper spelling. Ever since he let me know, I’ve noticed the doofy spelling “Web site” everywhere, and it annoys the hell out of me.
“Website” is better. It’s faster, and doesn’t look stupid. People who actually have websites use “website”, I promise you.
A Google search for “website” gets 1,080,000,000 hits, while a Google search for “Web site” (as a phrase) gets 888,000,000–and Google asks me politely, “Did you mean: ‘Website’“.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition has this usage note:
The transition from World Wide Web site to Web site to website seems to have progressed as rapidly as the technology itself. The development of website as a single uncapitalized word mirrors the development of other technological expressions which have tended to evolve into unhyphenated forms as they become more familiar. Thus email has recently been gaining ground over the forms E-mail and e-mail, especially in texts that are more technologically oriented. Similarly, there has been an increasing preference for closed forms like homepage, online, and printout.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary chimes in:
It always takes a little time for new words to settle to a standardized form. Our most recent dictionary, the revised 11th edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary, published in July 2004, shows website as the standard form, and future dictionaries will reflect this.
We recommend capital initials for Internet, World Wide Web, the Web, but not for individual sites.
So, you see, the spelling is more than accepted. I think it’s only the AP Stylebook that’s living in the freaking Dark Ages.
My copy of the AP Stylebook (The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, 2002), donated graciously to me by Kevin, states the following under its “AP Internet Guide” entry for “World Wide Web”:
The shorter the Web is acceptable. Also, Web site (an exception to Webster’s preference), and Web page.
But webcam, webcast, webmaster.
I have no idea what the current AP Stylebook states, but if news articles are any indication, the “exception to Webster’s preference” hasn’t changed.
Give up your sad devotion to that ancient spelling, Associated Press!
(It’s funny how I develop these spelling prejudices…ever since I was a teenager I’ve railed against the generally accepted spelling “alright”, because to me it looks lazy. [See, it’s wrong!])