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How to Capitalize When Writing for the Web (Grammar Lessons)

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You sit down to write an amazing post for your blog.

Everything feels right.

Your creative juices are flowing.

Your mind is forming sentences faster than your fingers can type them.

You feel excitement building.

And then you hit a snag.

It’s small, but it slows you down.

Should you write it “internet” or “Internet?”

Is it email or e-mail?

SERPS, SERP’s, or SERPs?

You go online to search for the answer. Spend 20 minutes reading grammar rules. When you come back to your blog post, you’ve lost your vibe.

How can you prevent this from happening?

The best way is to learn the basic capitalization rules for online writing.

You don’t want to appear sloppy and ignorant of the basic capitalization rules sophisticated bloggers use.

But you also don’t want to seem stuffy and overly traditional.

Keep these four simple capitalization rules beside you each time you sit down to write.

Lesson 1: Don’t Capitalize Terms That Have Entered Common Usage

Brand new words are usually capitalized when they’re introduced into a language.

For instance, take the word scuba.

In 1952, SCUBA was coined as an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

Later, as the word became common and generic, it was changed to lowercase and became “scuba.”

Here are two examples of online words that have been changed to lowercase because of common usage.

Is It “Internet” or “internet”?

When the word “internet” first appeared, it was capitalized.

“In its generic sense, internet is a common noun, a synonym for internetwork; therefore, it has a plural form and is not capitalized. In its specific sense, it is a proper noun, and therefore, without a plural form and traditionally capitalized.” – Search Engine Journal, March 18, 2011

According to this Computer Hope, we should capitalize the specific “internet” we’re using to distinguish it from other internetworks.

internet capitalization

However, as the word became a huge part of language and everyday life, experts began arguing that it should be lower cased.

should internet be capitalized?

After serious debate, style guides began adopting the popular trend.

In 2016, the AP Stylebook announced it would no longer recommend capitalizing “internet”.

AP Stylebook no longer capitalizing internet

On March 23, 2017, The Chicago Manual of Style followed suit.

So, while “internet” is technically a proper noun and should be capitalized, common usage and the evolution of grammar allows us to write it in lowercase letters.

Is It “Web” or “web”?

The word “web” stands for “World Wide Web.”

Like “internet,” it was capitalized when it first appeared in the English language.

However, it was changed to lowercase at the same time as “internet.”

Lesson 2: How to Spell Words with “E” (Short for Electronic)

Is it E-mail, Email, or email?

Is it E-commerce, Ecommerce, or ecommerce?

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the correct spelling is “e-mail.”

The same goes for e-commerce, e-store, and e-business.

When two words are joined to form a compound word, a hyphen is required.

However, style guides take another view and suggest removing the hyphen because of popular usage.

So, should or shouldn’t you use a hyphen when you spell words with “e” for electronic?

According to Grammarly, both spellings are correct.

What it boils down to is how you want to appear online.

Do you want to be thought of as a scholarly grammarian? Or do you want to be techie, relevant, and mainstream?

Also, if you’ve chosen a style guide to follow, make sure you know how it spells these words.

For instance, if you follow the AP Stylebook, you should drop the hyphen in words with “e.”

Remember, consistency is key when choosing how to spell words with “e.”

If you don’t follow a style guide, choose one spelling and stick to it.

Lesson 3: Capitalizing (& Pluralizing) Common Online Terms

As you blog, you’ll bump up against common internet language and be unsure about their capitalization.

For instance, is it Keyword or keyword?

Is it SERP or S.E.R.P?

How do you pluralize acronyms?

Is It “Blog” or “blog”?

Words like “keyword,” “blog,” “website,” and “data,” are all common nouns.

Use lowercase letters when writing them unless they come at the beginning of a sentence or as part of a proper compound noun.

Is It SEO or S.E.O.?

If you abbreviate the United States of America using periods (U.S.A.), it’ll feel natural to use periods when abbreviating terms like search engine optimization.

Don’t do that, however.

According to APA style, periods or spaces shouldn’t be used in abbreviations unless they’re proper names.

APA style abbreviations guidelines

So, it’s always SERP, SEO, and PDF.

Is It SERP’s, SERPS, or SERPs?

Making an acronym plural is tricky. Do you add a capital S to match all the capital letters of the acronym? Or do you use an apostrophe?

Here’s the general rule:

Add a lowercase “s” to form the plural of an acronym.

Examples of correct usage:

  • PDFs
  • SERPs

Examples of incorrect usage:

  • SERP’s shows possession
  • SERPS is just confusing.

However, there’s an exception.

To assist readability, you can use an apostrophe in acronyms.

For instance, SOS’s is easier to understand than SOSs.

Lesson 4: How to Capitalize Brand Names

You’re writing a blog post and want to mention a brand.

How do you capitalize it?

To be honest, visiting its website can be confusing.

For instance, look at this.

SEMrush logo

The logo uses all lowercase letters, so do you say “semrush” when talking about it in your blog?

As you’ll notice, the URL also uses lowercase letters: semrush.com.

The trick is to scroll to the very bottom of the page.

Look for the company’s copyright sign.

Next to it, you’ll see the correct capitalization of the brand’s name.

SEMrush proper name

SEMrush is the right way to do it, not semrush or Semrush.

How to Keep Updated with Online Grammar Rules

Both online and offline, grammar rules are not set in stone.

According to William Strunk Jr. in his book “The Elements of Style”:

“…language is perpetually in flux: it is a living stream, shifting, changing, receiving new strength from a thousand tributaries, losing old forms in the backwaters of time.”

To make sure you don’t commit any grammar gaffes, you can:

  • Choose a style guide (AP, Chicago, Microsoft) and follow its updates.
  • Read the blogs of industry experts and note how they spell and capitalize words.
  • Know (or create) your own style. You can either be traditional or trendy, depending on your audience.

Drawing the line between uneducated and outmoded is not always easy.

However, if you follow these three steps, you’ll never again be confused and slowed down when you’re writing content for the web.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, March 2020

Searchenginejournal.com

MARKETING

How to Use UX Research to Help Your Company Grow: 3 Proven Tips

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How to Use UX Research to Help Your Company Grow: 3 Proven Tips

Who knows your target audience better than your team? Your clients themselves. Users with their demands, likings, and desires are mostly the voices that go unnoticed as companies seek to have a smooth user experience.

Having a good team’s commitment, enthusiasm, and hard work will not compensate for the gap in knowledge between what your customers need and what your team believes they will require.

User experience (UX) research overpasses this imbalance throughout the UX design process, making sure that your company ends up saving resources, expanding loyalty, and providing the best UX for each and every user. Discover more about UX research, its solid business importance, and what to test first.

How can organizations employ UX research?

User experience research focuses on ensuring that your customers have a pleasurable interaction while using your service or product. It is critical to consider UX research from the start of any project, as making changes later can be costly and time-consuming.

Here are some ideas for how businesses can perform UX research:

  • Ensure that you know who your intended audience is and what they require from your service or product.
  • Spend some time learning about the user journey — what actions do they take to accomplish a task? Where do they become perplexed or disappointed?
  • Data and feedback should be used to continuously enhance the user experience. Check your product or service with actual users on a regular basis and take note of their feedback.
  • Don’t start from the beginning. To get started, there are various off-the-shelf methods and digital options for UX research.
  • Ensure that your project has adequate resources.

Three useful practices in UX research

The UX research method plays an important role in your analysis. You need to consider the pros and cons of different techniques. For example, there are methods that are cheap and easy but can take a lot of time when it comes to analysis.  Another limitation is your available resources, which will dictate when, how much and what type of UX research you can do. We selected  a couple of methods for you that combine affordability and quality at the same time. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Usability testing

The process of evaluating a product or service by checking it with actual users is referred to as usability testing. Throughout a test, respondents will typically attempt to finish basic tasks while observers witness, listen, and take down notes. The goal is to pinpoint any design flaws, gather qualitative and quantitative data, and assess the person involved in overall product satisfaction.

Usability testing allows both design and development teams to discover issues prior to them being programmed. The sooner problems are discovered and resolved, the less pricey the modifications will be in aspects of both staff time and potential schedule impact.

UX survey

Among the most widespread UX research methods for gathering both qualitative and quantitative feedback from your customers is the UX survey. It assists you in better comprehending customer habits and determining what appears to work and what does not, allowing you to prioritize adjustments to your product’s UX.

UX surveys provide a cost-effective way for a SaaS business offering long-term growth to gather customer feedback and make data-driven judgments. UX surveys can help you identify conflicting points in your product’s UX design and provide you with the information you need to improve the user experience.

Session Recording

Session recording is a descriptive research tool that records website visitor surfing sessions in real-time, allowing you to observe the recordings afterward to gain a deeper visitor behavior perspective. It allows marketers to comprehend a user’s entire route on their website, which includes clicks, scrolls, and mouse movements, among other things.

Session recording enables detailed evaluation and study of visitors’ browsing activity, the realization of experience breakage, and the identification of friction sectors, which then aids in the repair of what is damaged and the optimization of UX, resulting in higher conversion rates.

Session recording records your users’ actual life cycle on your webpage so you can find out which parts of it lure them the most, pushes them deeper into the sales funnel or causes them to fall out, diverts attention from a page’s primary CTA, resulting in low sales, and so on. Such information allows you to make confident, data-driven strategic decisions.

What are the consequences of skipping UX research?

Companies recognize the consequences of bad decisions: lost money, time, brand image, and occasionally even the entire organization.

Trying to skip user research will frequently result in poor corporate strategy based on anything other than factual customer feedback, such as:

  • Preoccupation with fashion and design trends. Designers are frequently enamored with the newest trends and believe that if they do not implement them, they really aren’t in tune with the times.
  • Emotional commitment. Creators and product owners frequently allow their own emotions to affect their capacity to recognize where enhancements could be made.
  • Personal views. Many executives generate decisions based on deeply held values and allow their egos to take precedence over acknowledging user needs.

In the end, it is clear that implementing UX design can benefit companies in a variety of ways. In addition to increasing customer satisfaction and conversions, it can also contribute to lowering support and product production costs.

Moreover, satisfied clients are more likely to participate in favorable word-for-word marketing, which can support attracting additional business. As a result, companies that invest in UX design can anticipate seeing remarkable long-term growth.

No time to underestimate UX

In this blog we have considered a simple but important part of UX research. There are many other methods of conducting this analysis, but you can start with the basics. There is no need to doubt the importance and usefulness of UX research, so we advise you to start implementing it today!

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