The terminologies used within the web industry can be a little daunting for business men and women as well as for professionals because many these terms are not used in our everyday language. To have a better understanding of how the web works, you will need to become familiar with terms that you may not fully understand the meaning of. Below is a list of them and their meanings:
ACCESSIBILITY: Relates to web design/coding standards and refers to how easy it is for everyone to use your website, including people who are visually impaired or in any way physically handicapped, or limited by older or less common computers and software. These days with the smaller screen sized tablets and smart-phones, accessibility for use on all devices is important; especially with the growing number of people using smaller screen devices to go online.
BANDWIDTH: It may help if you read “traffic” first, but very simply, bandwidth relates to how much a resource is used. An analogy would be a freeway. The wider the freeway, the more traffic (users) it can handle. The narrower it is, the less people can use it at once (without problems).
When a website gets a lot of visitors, it will use a lot of bandwidth.
BCC: Means “Blind Carbon Copy”. An email feature. If you send someone a BCC email, their email address will not show in the “to” field.
BELOW THE FOLD: This term is a carry-over from newspaper publishing days. In newspaper terms, “below the fold” means content was on the bottom half of the page (below the physical fold in the paper). In web design terms, “below the fold” refers to the content that is generally going to be below the point first viewable to the average website visitor in their browser (in other words, viewers would have to scroll down to see the content).
BLOG: An online journal or diary and a very popular current method of sharing your thoughts with the world. It is also very popular as a marketing tool. This article is found within QUICKPROX’s blog.
BOUNCE: When you send an email to someone and it comes straight back to you with an error message, it is said to have bounced. It’s like the internet version of “return to sender” except it is a computer or piece of software automatically sending it back to you, not a person. Emails can bounce for many reasons. The most common are: you made a spelling or typing error in the address, making the address invalid; the person you are sending to no longer has that email address; the person you are sending to has let their mailbox become too full to accept new emails; a piece of software on the receiving end thinks that your email is spam or that it includes a virus and sends it back to you.
CC: Means “Carbon Copy”. An email feature. Use this to send a copy of an email to one or many other people at the same time that you are sending it to the main recipient/s.
CHAT: In the context of the internet “chat” is a feature that allows users from all over the globe to communicate in real time or almost real time. Conventional chat is communication via typing which then appears on the recipient’s screen. This is done via a piece of software that exists on a server. In some cases you need to install complimentary software onto your own computer as well. Complete chat communities exist that allow people to join in on general conversations with many other users at the same time or with a single person at a time. These “meeting places” are referred to as “chat rooms”. One on one chat can also take place privately by using a piece of software on your computer called a messenger. This has to be especially downloaded and installed from a website that uses this technology. Some of the more common, advanced chat facilities are provided by yahoo, msn and icq.
CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: Also known as a CMS, the content management system is a back-end tool for managing a site’s content that separates the content from the design and functionality of the website. Using a cms can make it easier to change the design of a site independent of the site’s content or pages. A content management system can also make it easier for pages and images to be added to the website for people who aren’t programmers, saving on the cost of hiring a programmer because you can add/edit/delete content yourself.
CONVERSION: A marketing term that refers to how many website visitors convert to buyers. If 1 out of every hundred visitors to a site end up buying something, there is a 1:100 (or 1%) conversion rate. Ultimately this is what website marketing is all about because it is pointless getting thousands of visitors if none are buying your product, your services, your ideas or whatever it is you are selling (every website is selling something, even if the only payment is an ego-boost to the site owner).
DATABASE DRIVEN: With a normal static website, the information that you see is on the page itself. It does not change unless someone manually edits the page. On a database driven website, the information is not stored on the page, but in a database. Every time someone visits a particular page, the information is drawn from the database in order to display it on the page. Information can therefore be easily cross-referenced and the same information applied in many different ways, using formulas and different variables.
DIRECTORY or SEARCH ENGINE DIRECTORY: Much like the Yellow Pages, a directory is a place where information about hundreds, thousands and millions of websites is stored to allow people to easily and quickly find information and/or resources. Yahoo is an example of a search engine directory, Trades Check for example is a directory website for people wanting to find local licensed tradesmen.
DOMAIN: A domain is a person or organisation’s unique space on the internet. In layman’s terms, it is commonly used to mean the name of your website.
DOMAIN NAME: A domain is identified by the number assigned to its unique space. To make it easier to use however, the number is given the name of your choice an this name is assigned to the number. In this way, people do not need to remember the number (IP) in order to visit a website, but can use the easier-to-remember domain name. This website domain name is www.quickprox.com.ng.
DOMAIN REGISTRATION: In the same way that you have to register a business name, so you need to register a domain name. Only once it is registered do you have the ability to assign it to a specific number so that it has an actual location on the internet. A domain name registration is normally only valid for one or two years, at the end of which it has to be renewed for you to continue using it. Some domain names must be registered for 2 years minimum.
DOWNLOAD: When you transfer information from a website or server to your computer, this is called downloading. Collecting email is therefore a download, as is saving a document from the internet to your computer or installing a software programme directly from the internet. Every time that you visit a website you are also downloading, because the information is passing from the server to your computer and often saved there without you even knowing (see “cookies”). This becomes quite important if you are using something like ADSL to connect to the internet, where you have a limit on bandwidth because you use bandwidth every time you download anything. The bigger the download, the greater the bandwidth that you are using.
DNS: Stands for Domain Name Service (alternately Domain Name System or Domain Name Server). Basically, it’s the thing that converts IP addresses into domain names. DNS servers are provided with the IP address of your web server when you assign your domain name to those servers. In turn, when someone types your domain name into their web browser, those DNS servers translate the domain name to the IP address and point the browser to the correct web server.
EMAIL: The internet equivalent to post and mail, email is an encoded message that is sent instantly to someone else’s computer. It is however a “best attempt” facility and not foolproof, largely because of the complexity of the internet itself and the vast number of things that can cause the process to stall or fail.
EMAIL CLIENT: The software program that you use in order to send and receive email from your home computer, tablet or smart phone. All devices with Windows installed come with 2 email clients to choose from: Outlook and Outlook Express. I recommend people use Outlook for it’s functionality.
FAVICON: Favicons are tiny (generally 16×16 pixels, though some are 32×32 pixels), customizable icons displayed in the web address bar in most browsers next to the web address. They’re either 8-bit or 24-bit in colour depth and are saved in either .ico, .gif or .png file formats. The favicon used by QUICKPROX is the first letter logo.
FIXED WIDTH LAYOUT: A fixed width layout has a set width (generally defined in pixels) set by the designer. The width stays the same regardless of screen resolution, monitor size, or browser window size. It allows for minute adjustments to be made to a design that will stay consistent across browsers. Designers have more control over exactly how a site will appear across platforms with this type of layout.
FOLD: The fold is a term carried over from newspaper design and pagination (where the fold referred to the physical fold in the paper). The fold in a website is the point on the web page that rests at the bottom of someone”s browser (in other words, to see anything below the fold, they would have to scroll down). There are varying opinions on how important the fold is in web design but more websites including Yahoo and msn are increasing their page length to get more information displayed on each page.
FONT FAMILY: Font family is a group designation for defining the typefaces used in CSS documents. The font family tag generally lists multiple fonts to be used, and usually ends with the generic font category (such as “serif” or “sans-serif”).
FTP CLIENT: The software program that you use to upload your website to a host server.
HIT: Contrary to popular belief, a hit does not represent a single visitor to a website. A hit is actually a request for a single file from your web server. This means one page can actually generate multiple hits, as each page generally has more than one file (an html or other base file, a css file, multiple images, etc.) and each one is requested from the server whenever the page is loaded. Some marketing people like to quote hits to unknowing consumers as the number makes their site sound like it”s getting a whole lot more traffic than it actually is.
HOST / HOSTING: In order for you to have an email address or a website, a computer somewhere, with all the necessary software, has to provide you with 3 things: an IP (domain) address, physical space to store the information and bandwidth that accommodates the flow of information that is taking place on your behalf. The company that provides you with these facilities is your host and you will pay them a fee for hosting your site and or email address.
HTML: Hyper Text Markup Language. This is the base language that s used for creating websites. Common uses of the term are, “html coding” and “html website”. A website created in pure html is also referred to as a static website. In other words, it does not interact with the visitor other than in the most basic ways. It stores no data and can not return data other than what is consistently on the page itself. Emails that use different fonts, colours, borders, backgrounds and graphics are also generally coded in html, with the alternative being plain text.
HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol. This is a method used to transfer information on the internet and normally precedes the “description” of the actual resource being accessed and transferred. For example, web sites and web pages are one type of resource, identified by their domain name (www.domain.com.au).
HTTPS: Similar to HTTP, HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol over SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or, alternately, HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. Like HTTP, it”s a set of rules for transferring hypertext requests between browsers and servers, but this time it”s done over a secure, encrypted connection.
IP or IP ADDRESS: Internet Protocol. Very simply, the IP address refers to the actual number that a web address name translates to. (also see “domain”). The IP number is the real address.
ISP: Internet Service Provider. The company that provides you with internet access (connection) and related services is your ISP. Internode is very popular in Adelaide, South Australia
KEYWORD or KEY PHRASE: An internet marketing term that refers to the main topics or subjects of your web pages in relation to how people would phrase them when searching for your products or services on the internet. For example, your topic may be “Quantifiable Analysis of the Strategic Business Model” but the average person searching for your exact information may simply search for “planning business strategies”. Your key phrases are at the core of any website marketing strategy and needs to relate to your target market’s thinking rather than your own.
LANDING PAGE: A landing page is the page where a visitor first enters a website. Oftentimes, a special landing page is created to elicit a specific action from the new visitor (usually in connection with an advertising or marketing campaign).
LIQUID LAYOUT: A liquid layout is one that is based on percentages of the browser window’s size. The layout of the site will change with the width of the browser, even if the visitor changes their browser size while viewing the page. Liquid layouts take full advantage of a person’s browser width, optimizing the amount of content you can fit on screen at one time.
OPTIMISE: Has two possible meanings in web design. The first is website/page optimisation. This relates to how the page is structured (both code and content) with regard to search engines. A well optimised website is search engine friendly. The second meaning relates to graphics and pictures that are used on websites. An optimised graphic is one that has been compressed as far as possible without sacrificing acceptable quality. This allows the image to load more quickly when someone visits a website.
PARKED DOMAIN: A domain name that sits on the same server space as another. If someone types in the address of either the main domain or the parked domain, they will arrive at the same website.
PPC: Pay Per Click. A common term in internet advertising where you purchase advertising space on someone’s website, but instead of paying a flat monthly rate, you pay a small amount each time someone clicks on your advert – which is a link that takes them to your website. This “small amount” can however go quite high, depending on the deemed value of the link. This is a very simplified explanation, but the principle is that you ostensibly “pay for what you get”, which is not entirely accurate. False clicks can in fact make this much more expensive than a fixed advertising cost.
RANKING: Ranking is a term related to search engines. When someone searches for something using a search engine, the will receive pages and pages of results. Where a specific site appears in those results is its ranking. There is a second meaning as well, more commonly used with regard to marketing and SEO and related specifically to Google. Each page of a website is given a ranking by Google, from 1-10. This ranking is the value that Google places on that particular page in relation to its subject matter and how relevant it is. The more relevant a page is believed to be the higher its ranking.
REALLY SIMPLE SYNDICATION: Also referred to as RSS. RSS is a standardized XML format that allows content to be syndicated from one site to another. It”s most commonly used on blogs. RSS also allows visitors to subscribe to a blog or other site and receive updates via a feed reader.
RESPONSIVENESS: This refers how your website will display or appear in different platforms. A website is said to be responsive if the website can adjust itself to appear appropriately in both the desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Since these platform have different display widths, most websites tend to “break”. An example of a responsive website is our website. Try to view the website on your mobile phone browser and notice how the contents of the website adjust to suit the width of the browser.
SEO: Stands for “Search Engine Optimisation” and very simply refers to the practice of tweaking website coding and content to achieve the highest possible search engine ranking. SEO practitioners are people who specialise in this (or claim to).
SERVER: A server is a computer that is used to house websites and provide a physical storage area for websites and emails. Without a server, your website would not be viewable to the world. Servers are normally provided by hosting companies who keep the servers in special premises, under special conditions and with permanent connections to the internet.
SITEMAP: This is an index to all the content on a website. It is normally accessible from at least the front page of the site and is used for two purposes: to help people find what they are looking for on the site and to help search engines find all your links.
SPAM: A somewhat controversial word which has different extremes of meaning to different people. Very simply, spam is junk mail, normally sent out in bulk and normally with no regard as to whether you want to receive it or not. Serious spammers will in fact use your protests as proof that you are seeing their emails and spam you even more.
SUBDOMAIN: A domain that is behind another, but totally separate. Using sub-domains you can effectively have multiple “domains” on a single registered domain name and hosting account. A sub domain address would be written like: www.something-else.yourdomain.com.au The “something-else” is the sub domain.
TRAFFIC: Much like the physical world, traffic refers to all the people and computers that are using a particular route at a given time or who access a specific resource. The number of visitors to a website, for example, is also referred to as traffic. Traffic is also often spoken about when it comes to hosting. If a host tells you that you are allowed X amount of traffic, they are telling you how much of the server resources you are allowed to use. This is also called “bandwidth”. Please see the explanation of “bandwidth” for more information about “traffic” in the context of hosting.
UPLOAD: For a website to be visible to the world, it has to be put on the server that is hosting it. This process is called uploading because you are literally loading your information, pages, pictures, etc. up onto the server.
URL: Uniform Resource Locator. (Allows all resources on the internet to be located in a uniform manner). A URL is a website address that has all the pertinent information for finding the exact location attached to it. http://www.quickprox.com.ng is this website’s url and http://www.quickprox.com.ng/common-website-terms-and-what-they-mean-for-business-people-professionals is this exact page’s url (notice the extra part after the .com.ng).
VIRUS: A computer programme that reproduces itself and that is frequently malicious. The most common terms that are heard with regard to viruses are Worms (not really a virus, but often referred to as such) and Trojan Horses, because these are the most commonly experienced amongst internet users. A good firewall or anti-virus programme can offer protection from viruses as long as the programme is regularly updated and consistently used. It is a good idea to install software such as Trend Micro’s Maximum Security Titanium or similar to keep your computer free of viruses, especially if you are uploading files to your website.
WEBMAIL: Email that you can check from any computer anywhere in the world using software on a server.
WEB PAGE or PAGE: Just one page rather than a complete website (see below). A page is not the same as, for example, the page in a book. The length is not limited by a fixed height and width, but by user-friendliness, good practice and practicality.
WEBSITE: The actual website itself. The website is the content that dictates what people see and do when they go to your website address, normally containing a number of web pages not just one page.
WEBSITE ADDRESS: This is the location of your website and is normally typed as www.the-name-of-the website.com.au
WWW: World Wide Web. Another name for the Internet.
If there is a website term you are unsure the meaning of, or you maybe you have found conflicting definitions of a term, feel free to add a comment below. We will reply to you and post an accurate definition of that term.