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How to Cite a Website in AP Style


If you're in the process of learning about AP style, you're smart to do a double-take. AP stands for Associated Press; it is not a much shortened version of APA style, or the American Psychological Association, which sets style guidelines for academic papers written in the field of social sciences. Most newspapers, magazines and periodicals follow AP style, which is why it's often referred to as the “journalist's Bible.” AP style addresses grammar, spelling, punctuation and usage to breed consistency and accuracy in the use of the written word.

Simple Style

Cite a website in AP style by capitalizing the name, just like a proper noun. As an example, you might say, “Journalists have many resources available to them, including My Dictionary.” If you want to direct readers to the website, use lowercase letters and include the hypertext transfer protocol at the beginning of the address. For example, you might say, “Become a believer by checking out http://mydictionary.com.”

Change is Constant

AP continues to evolve, especially with regard to technological terms. For example, when websites began to flourish, AP style dictated that the term was two words: “Web site,” with a capital “W.” Now it is one word, with a lowercase “w,” while “Web page” remains two separate words with a capital "W." Another example: “email” used to contain a hyphen – as in, “e-mail.” AP eventually dropped the hyphen, as is its tendency when readers become accustomed to seeing certain words paired together. One day, the same rule may govern “e-reader” and “e-commerce.” But for now, AP style calls for the inclusion of a hyphen in both words. The point is, it pays to stay up to date on style rules.

About the Author

With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.

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