Web Glossary – Web Design Terminology

Our Web Glossary outlines a list of commonly used web terminology in the web and computer world. There are so many that we decided to provide this list to you as a resource so you can become familiar with them.

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. A responsive web design is where most web applications are heading to which allows these individuals with different devices to access your site and view it accordingly.

ADDRESS BAR: This is the white bar towards the top of your computer screen. It will normally have something typed in it that starts with “http://” This is where you type in the address of a website that you want to visit.

ANCHOR TEXT: Thisis the text a link (Link) uses to refer to your web page. Utilizing Anchor Text will make a difference in your search engine results.

ASCII: American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A code that represents English characters as numbers, ranging from 0 to 127. Commonly used by computers and browsers, ASCII codes make it possible to transfer data from one computer to another computer

ASP: A coding language that is compatible with Windows servers. Normally used for increased functionality on a website or to work with a database. It works in conjunction with html and html variants.

BACK LINKS: These are Links from other website pages to yours. Back links are used to increase a site’s popularity with search engines and to get more people to visit your site. the quality of a back link and its anchor text is factored into Google’s algorithm when deciding how much importance to place on it.

BANDWIDTH: It may help if you read “traffic” first, but very simply, bandwidth relates to how much a resource is used. When a website gets a lot of visitors, it will use a lot of bandwidth.

BETA: A term used for software that is in a “live” testing phase. People can use it but can expect some hiccups.

BINARY: A numbering system that consists of only two numbers, 0 and 1. Everything that you type or input into a computer is converted into binary – a unique combination of the zeros and ones. Screens and printers then convert this binary code back into what you inputted.

BLOG: A blog is an online journal and a very popular current method of sharing your thoughts with the world. It is also very popular as a marketing tool.

BOUNCE RATE: A website’s bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave the site from the same page they entered the site, without clicking through to any other pages. This can be a good indicator of how good a website’s navigation is, as well as an indicator of the quality of the site’s content.

BROADBAND: Relates to a type of internet connection. When someone says they have a broadband connection it means they are connecting using a service that provides a faster speed.

BROWSER: When you visit a website, you are seeing it on a browser. Websites look very different in reality to what you see when you visit it. Everything is in fact encoded. A few popular examples of browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome.

BROWSER WINDOW: The browser window is the actual screen that the software displays everything on. If someone tells you to open a browser window, they are telling you to activate your browser so that an internet window opens up on your computer.

BROWSING: Going to different websites on the internet and looking around.

CACHE: Every time you do anything on your computer, it stores this in memory so that the next time you try to do the same thing, it happens quicker. The place where it stores all this is called the “cache”.

CASCADING STYLE SHEETS: Also referred to simply as CSS, Cascading Style Sheets are used to define the look and feel of a web site outside of the actual HTML coding of the site. CSS has replaced tables and other HTML-based methods for formatting and laying out websites.

CMS: “Content Management System”. A dynamic website that is normally database driven and which enables the owner/user to manage the content of their own website without needing to know any coding at all.

CODE: Nothing that you see on the internet is what it appears to be. Everything is coded in one way or another to achieve the exact look, layout and functions. There are different types of code and coding languages that are used to develop websites as well as all computer programmes and software.

CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: Also known as a CMS, the content management system is an administration tool for managing a site’s content that separates the content from the design and functionality of the website. Samples of CMS’s are WordPress and Joomla.

CONVERSION: A marketing term that refers to how many website visitors convert to buyers. If 10 out of every 100 visitors to a site end up buying something, there is a 10:100 (or 10%) conversion rate.

COOKIE: A small piece of information that certain websites store on your computer when you visit them. Cookies are normally harmless and the reasons for using them vary. Sometimes it is to make sure that their website loads quickly when you next visit, by drawing the saved information from your own computer rather than from the website itself. Another use is to track visitors to see how often they come, what they do when they come and other information to help with marketing.

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: A Search Engine 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. Google is an example of a search engine directory.

DOMAIN: A domain is a person or organization’s unique space on the internet.

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 and 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 websites domain name is www.web-marketing-masters.com

DOMAIN NAME EXTENSION: Often referred to as Internet top-level domains (TLDs). The official list of all top level domains is maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

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.

DOWNLOAD: When you transfer information from a website or server to your computer, this is called downloading.

DNS: Stands for Domain Name Service (or Domain Name Server). Basically, it’s the thing that converts IP addresses into domain names.

DOCTYPE: The doctype declaration specifies which version of HTML is used in a document. It has a direct effect on whether your HTML will validate.

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.

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.

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 programme that you use to upload your website to a host server. A sample of a FTP client is Filezilla.

GIF: A type of file used for images, especially animated graphics and line-drawn images (as opposed to photographs).

HEXADECIMAL: Also referred to a “hex” numbers, they are a base-16 numbering system used to define colours online. Hex numbers include the numerals 0-9 and letters A-F.

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 web tools is your host and you pay them a fee for hosting your site and or email address typically each month.

.HTACCESS: The .htaccess file is the default directory-level configuration file on Apache servers. They are also known as “distributed configuration files.” Configuration directives contained in the .htaccess file apply to the directory in which the file is placed as well as all of its subdirectories. Within the .htaccess file things like authorization and authentication, rewriting and redirecting of URLs, cache control and customized error responses can all be specified.

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.

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.web-marketing-masters.com).

HTTPS: Similar to HTTP, HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol over SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or, alternately, Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.

HYPERLINK: A hyperlink is a link from one web page to another, either on the same site or another one.

HYPERTEXT: Hypertext is any computer-based text that includes hyperlinks.

and more from our web glossary ……….

IFRAME: Short for Inline Frame. An iframe is used to display one or more web pages within another normal web page.

IP or IP ADDRESS: Internet Protocol. Very simply, the IP address refers to the actual number that a web address name translates to.

ISP: Internet Service Provider. The company that provides you with internet access (connection) and related services is your ISP.

JAVASCRIPT: Coding languages used to achieve effects and functions on websites that normal html and its variants cannot achieve. These bits of coding (or scripts) are normally embedded into a web page and will automatically activate as soon as someone arrives on the page. Please note that JavaScript is distinctly different to Java.

JPG: A type of file used for images, especially photographs. Images used on web pages work best as jpg or gif.

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.

LAN: Local Area Network. A method of connecting a small network of computers to each other. Using LAN enables file sharing amongst different computers and the ability to connect multiple computers to the internet using the same connection.

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).

LINK: The internet is made up of millions of resources and computers that all link to each other. This is how users on the internet can move from one web page or website to another and download documents, programmes or files.

META DATA: Meta data is the data contained in the header that offers information about the web page that a visitor is currently on. Meta data is contained within meta tags.

META TAG: Included in the head section of an html web page and is visible to search engines. Meta Tags provide information about a web page, like the topic (title), keywords, description and also instructions to search engine robots and visitor browsers.

NAVIGATION: Navigation refers to the system that allows visitors to a website to move around that site. Navigation is most often thought of in terms of menus, but links within pages, breadcrumbs, related links, pagination, and any other links that allow a visitor to move from one page to another are included in navigation.

OPERATING SYSTEM: The type of software that you use to run a computer is the operating system.

OPTIMIZE: Has two possible meanings in web design. The first is website/page optimization. This relates to how the page is structured with regard to search engines. A well optimized website is search engine friendly. The second meaning relates to graphics and pictures that are used on websites. An optimized 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: This is a domain name that sits on the same server space as another and has simply been reserved for someone.

PERMALINK: Short for “permanent link.” Generally used only on blogs, a permalink is a link that is the permanent web address of a given blog post.

PHP: A programming language that is Linux based rather than Windows based. Normally used for increased functionality on a website or to work with a database. It works in conjunction with html and html variants and allows for functions to be run from the server rather than the visitor’s browser.

PLUG IN: A plug-in is a bit of third party code that extends the capabilities of a website. It’s most often used in conjunction with a CMS or blogging platform. A Plug-in is a way to extend the functionality of a website without having to redo the core coding of the site.

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.

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.

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 is most commonly used on blogs. RSS also allows visitors to subscribe to a blog or other site and receive updates via a feed reader.

RECIPROCAL LINKS: When a website links to another website and that site links back to the originating site; this is reciprocal linking.

ROOT: This relates to website hosting and the main folder you want to install a piece of software to work on (or run) your site; you will need “root access”.

SCRIPT: A piece of code that creates or enables a specific function on a website.

SEARCH ENGINE: A programme that collects, stores, arranges and normally ranks the various resources available on the internet.

SEARCH ENGINE FRIENDLY: A search engine friendly website is one that search engines can easily read and find all the links on and which search engines like it because it is properly optimized and not breaking any of their rules.

SEARCH ENGINE LISTING: When someone searches for something using a search engine, all the sites that are listed in response to that search have a search engine listing.

SEARCH ENGINE RANKING: Different to a search engine listing because a listing means the site appears anywhere on the list. Ranking relates to exactly where on the list it appears. Closer to the top means it has a higher ranking. This is so important when you want your website to be found by potential clients.

SEARCH RESULT: When someone searches for something using a search engine, the list of websites and links that the search engine responds with is the search result. The aim of any website is to appear high in the search result.

SEO: Stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and very simply refers to the practice of creating website coding and content to achieve the highest possible search engine ranking.

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.

SERVER SIDE: Server-side refers to scripts run on a web server, as opposed to in a user’s browser.

SHAREWARE: Shareware is a piece of software that you can use free of charge for a set period. After that you have to buy it or pay a license fee in order for the software to keep working.

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.

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.seo.web-marketing-masters.com The “seo” is the sub domain.

TAG: A tag is a set of markup characters that are used around an element to indicate where it starts < > and ends . Tags can also include HTML or other code to specify how that element should look or behave on the page.

THE NET: A shortened version of “The Internet”.

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.

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.

VALID: Valid web pages are those that return no errors based on the type of HTML/XHTML specified in the doctype declaration at the beginning of the file. In other words, the code used on the page conforms to the specifications for that version of HTML/XHTML. This can be checked through various validation services, most commonly the one from W3C.

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.

WEB STANDARDS: Standards are specifications recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium for standardizing website design.

WEB PAGE: Just one page rather than a complete website. 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.web-marketing-masters.com

WINDOWS: The most common type (make) of operating system. Windows is built by the software company Microsoft.

WORM: A type of computer virus that looks for security loopholes in a system and uses that to replicate itself. It then scans the internet for other computers that have the same flaw and spreads to them, often creating a new identity for itself in the process so that it evolves. Where a virus uses a host file to spread, a worm is imbedded in an actual document, like a Word or Excel document.

WWW: World Wide Web.

XHTML: Stands for Extensible Hypertext Markup Language. Basically, XHTML is HTML 4.0 that has been rewritten to comply with XML rules.

XML: Stands for Extensible Markup Language. XML is a specification for creating other, custom markup languages. It’s an extensible language because it allows for the user to define the mark-up elements.

We hope you found our list of web glossary helpful and if you find that we missed a web term or two, be sure to let us know through our contact form.

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