Website Term Glossary

by Sydney Cooke

Here’s just a brief overview of our terminology to help you understand our process better.

We want you to feel comfortable with and understand the language we are using

We get it, if websites were your “thing” you would not be working with us. And for that we are grateful! We take our responsibility to educate you seriously which is why we have built a glossary of terms below (and will be writing more blogs to dig deeper into some of these terms). This is not so that you can become an expert but just so as we work on your project, you feel comfortable with and understand the language we are using.

Anchor Point

Anchor link, or jump tag, enables you to create a hyperlink to a part of the same page. You’ve seen them. It’s when you click on a drop down menu thinking you’re going to go to a different page on the site and it just scrolls down the same page to a different section of content. This is a great way to navigate information especially when you don’t want to have a lot of pages, particularly short pages.

Back End

Consists of a server, an application, and a database. It dictates what happens when a user interacts with a site. A visitor to your site cannot actually see the back end of the site – site managers and admins can log into the back end to edit the site’s content and/or code.

Backup

A saved version of your site so that is something ever happens/breaks, we can revert back to a recently saved, properly functioning, version. We backup all of our hosted sites daily so nobody has to worry.

Content

Text and visual content that is part of the user experience. It includes text, images, sounds, videos, etc.

Conversion

Getting your visitors to do what you want them to do, whether that is to buy your product, sign up for your newsletter, register for a webinar, download a whitepaper, or fill out a lead/contact form, etc.

Design

Part of the process of creating websites. It encompasses several different aspects, including layout, content production, and graphics/media. While the terms web design and web development are often used interchangeably, web design is technically a subset of the broader category of web development.

Development

The main non-design aspects of building websites like writing code, creating functionality, and, configuring the back end.

DNS Records

Control where all the traffic goes to and from your domain. Think of DNS like a traffic cop, directing everyone where they need to go. Similarly, DNS records tell all inbound & outbound traffic where to go.

Domain Name

Your website address or URL. (i.e. yourname.com). Think of it as your home address on the web.

Domain Registrar

Where you purchased your domain name. There are hundreds of domain registrars out there, but the most common ones are GoDaddy.com, NameCheap.com or NetworkSolutions.com.

E-commerce

 Electronic commerce or internet commerce refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions.

Email Provider

Like hosting (below), but for your email. It’s where you go to login and access your email messages. The most common providers are Google/GSuite, Outlook.com or free email through your hosting provider.

Front End

What users see and interact with from fonts to colors to content.

Google Analytics

One of the most popular digital analytics software. This free web analytics service allows you to analyze in-depth detail about the visitors on your website. It provides valuable insights that can help you to shape the success strategy of your business from the number of visitors to where they live, how they accessed your site, what pages they visited, and how long they stayed on each page.

Homepage

The main page a visitor navigating to your website will see; it is sometimes to referred to as a landing page. The homepage is a visitor’s first impression.

Hosting Provider

Hosting is what allows your website to live on the web. Hosting is like your landlord — it’s who you pay monthly or yearly to keep your site online.

Good UX has an understanding of what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations.

Header

Used to reference items at the very top of your website. Often it is used to only reference the first large image (or header image) that most websites have but it can also include the smaller top menu and navigation bars.

Integration

Can be used in many ways when it comes to websites but we are specifically referencing when another entity (software, social media, program, database, etc.) is placed inside of or made to work with a website.

Layout

A website layout is a pattern (or framework) that defines a website’s structure. It has the role of organizing the information present on a site both for the website’s owner and for users.

Menu (or Navigation Menu)

A collection or list of links. The most common placement of a menu is in the site navigation area or navigation bar at the top of each website page. This is where your main pages are listed and child or internal pages can be listed as a drop down.

Plug-in

A piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress.

Responsive

Adaptability of a website to respond to the size of screen it is being viewed on. A responsive site will render well on a variety of screen sizes using flexible layouts.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

The practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. It is how you get Google, and other search engines, to notice and list your website as search results.

Slider

A slideshow added into a web page, often as a rotating header image either on the homepage or at the top of interior pages. You can also add sliders as lower sections on a page; it’s basically just a rotating image. There are many WordPress plugins available which allow you to create your own sliders and add them to your home page, landing pages, posts, or anywhere you want.

Template (also called a child-theme)

The layout or blueprint of your site; it helps structure your website, giving you areas to place pictures and text, or things like navigation bars and other widgets. Your template should vary depending on the kind of page you are creating, but will share similar patterns across your site. A layout for a gallery page will differ to the layout for your blog page, which in turn, will differ from your contact page; however, they will also have things in common, for example, the location of your navigation bar. The template is like the walls and furniture of your house. Read our other article about WordPress, Divi, and Child-themes.

Theme

A builder for your site. You can almost relate a theme to an architect for your house.  Some themes are highly customizable and some are not. Themes dictate how you can build your site and what you can change. They can have set layouts you can build with, but others have smaller pieces you can use how you want. We use mainly Divi. We love Divi because of the custom design abilities, the easy-to-use visual builder, and the functionality/versatility of the modules.

Updates

Referring to WordPress and plugins. They need to be updated! Most updates keep improving plugins by adding new features, improving code quality, and keeping them secure. You should always keep your WordPress plugins up to date to ensure that those changes are applied on your site immediately. When WordPress itself has an update, it’s probably a good idea to let a developer take care of that update as it can impact everything on your site especially if the update isn’t compatible with a plugin. We manage all updates as part of our maintenance plan.

Uptime

Simply the amount of time your website is live. Ideally, it is 100% of the time!

User Experience (UX)

Literally how a visitor or user interacts with each element of your website. It is important for visitors to have a great experience or they will leave. Good UX has an understanding of what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations. Three keys to successful UX: effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction. UX is structural whereas UI (often used interchangeably) is more aesthetic.

User Interface (UI)

Focuses on anticipating what users might need to do and ensuring that the interface has elements that are easy to access, understand, and use to facilitate those actions. UI brings together concepts from interaction design, visual design, and information architecture. UX is structural whereas UI (often used interchangeably) is more aesthetic. (Want to dive deeper into UX & UI?)

Website Strategy

Deserves a much longer narrative but for a very high-level overview, a website needs a strategy to be successful. Some elements of a web strategy are: knowing your goals & objectives, understanding user, knowing market and competitors, knowing what tools are necessary, and having good messaging. Here are some questions to get you started.

Website Functionality

All the things your website can do both from a macro (i.e. blog, events calendar, forms) to a micro level. On one level it is the ease with which a viewer can navigate your site and obtain the information they are seeking. It is also the steps and actions that they take to get from one point to another, i.e. buttons, calls to actions, links, page navigation, etc. But from a macro level, it is specific functions you want your website to perform like have a form or an events calendar or maybe integrate with your CRM system.

Wireframe

A schematic, blueprint or skeletal framework of a website. A wireframe typically uses boxes and dummy text to show where and how content and other elements will be laid out on a website. Wireframes are used for a quick mockup of the arrangement of website elements for accomplishing a specific purpose, be it aesthetic or usability.

Widget/Snippet

A small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user.

We had help writing out these definitions – thanks to techterms.com, techopedia.com, WordPress, webstrategist.com, wpbeginner.com.

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