Learn 77 common website terms below

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U W

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404 Error

A 404 error message appears when the page you’re trying to visit can’t be found. This can occur when a link doesn’t exist or when a page is taken down but the link still exists somewhere.

A

Accessibility

Accessibility in website design is how users with disabilities access a website and how web pages work with assistive devices used by people with disabilities.

Alt Attribute

Alternate text that is used to describe an image on a web page. This text is used by search engines and screen readers when the image is not visible for a visitor.

B

Backend

Another word for a website’s content management system or server. This is the place you make changes to your website’s content or pages.

Backlink

A link to your website from another website. Google’s ranking algorithm considers backlinks when determining your website’s search rankings. Google considers a backlink as an endorsement of your website and content. Backlinks from high-authority websites with considerable traffic volume carry the most weight for increasing your website’s search rankings.

Blog

A website or section of a website that is regularly updated with new content. “Blog” was originally short for “web log”.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of website visitors who arrive to your website and then leave without visiting a second page. A low bounce rate indicates visitors find your website content interesting and continue to interact with your website. A high bounce rate is generally an indicator that your website has a poor user experience.

Breadcrumbs

A trail of links that shows the hierarchy and location of pages on your website.

C

Cache

A device’s temporary storage space that improves application performance. Your browser keeps a record of the pages you visit so that when you visit them again your browser doesn’t have to spend additional time re-reading them.

CMS (Content Management System)

A CMS allows users to create and change website content through the use of WYSIWYG editors, without knowing how to edit HTML. Content can be published with a single click instead of uploading documents using external programs. A CMS stores the content in a database and combines it with web template files to create web pages.

Cookie

A cookie is a message given by a web server to a web browser. Cookies help to identify website visitors so that customized content can be displayed when they visit for the first time or return.

Cross Browser Testing

Cross Browser Testing is a process in which your website is viewed in all of the common web browsers to ensure it looks and functions properly and delivers a consistent user experience everywhere. This is necessary because websites render differently on different browsers.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheet)

A file that determines how things will look on your website. Font color, font size, page margins, backgrounds, and more are specified in these files. HTML files call CSS files in order to tell your web browser how things should be arranged on your screen.

CTA (Call to Action)

A button, graphic, or text that encourages your visitors to take an action. CTAs are often used on websites for encouraging visitors to subscribe to email lists.

Customer Personas

Detailed descriptions of your ideal customers. Customer Personas are fictional representations of a segment of your target market, which include information like demographics, goals, frustrations, marketing messages, what they read, where they hang out, and more.

D

Database

A database is a storage hub for data.

DNS (Domain Name System)

The DNS translates URL text addresses into a numeric Internet address, called an IP address.

Domain Name

A domain name is a website address. You purchase domain names through a domain registrar and these domain names point to web servers that contain your website. In essence, a domain name is a memorable shortcut visitors can use to view your website instead of using an IP address, which is a series of numbers.

Drag and Drop

The action of moving files from one location to another using a click and drag motion. This is typically used in the website builder space to position elements on a page.

Drop-down

A drop-down can refer to one of two elements. The first is a navigational menu that, when clicked on, sub-menus or categories appear. The second is a field within a form that, when clicked on, requires a user to choose an option from multiple choices that appear.

E

E-Commerce / Ecommerce (Electronic Commerce)

The buying and selling of goods and services, and the transfer of funds, through digital channels.

F

Favicon

The little image that appears in your browser window next to a URL or next to the meta-title in a tab.

Flat Design

Flat Design elements have minimal shadows, bevels, and gradients applied to them.

Flyout Navigation

A navigation menu that contains multiple links to different pages or categories on a website. Flyout Navigations typically contain multiple columns, whereas a drop-down navigation menu only displays one column below the main tab.

Fold

The line past which someone has to scroll in order to see more content on a web page. Everything a visitor can see when the page first loads is considered “above the fold”, while content that loads after scrolling is considered “below the fold” or “after the fold”.

Front End

The website you see when you visit a URL on a computer or mobile device. When a designer creates the front end of a website, they are creating how the website “looks” for visitors.

G

GIF (Graphical Interchange Format)

A type of image file that has lossless compression and supports animations.

Grid System

Grid systems are comprised of columns and rows and are used to place and lay out the content on a page.

H

Head and Body

A page on a website contains two sections: the head and the body. Elements in the head are not visible to visitors and include meta tags, links, and tracking pixels. Elements in the body are visible to visitors and include text, images, hyperlinks, tables, and lists.

Hero

The main image on a home page or landing page.

Hosting

In order to show your website to the public, you need to host (save) your website files on a web server, which is a computer that is always hooked up to the Internet. There are three types of hosting: shared, managed, and dedicated. Shared hosting means your website is on a server with other websites. Managed hosting means a hosting company has server engineers available to manage your server for you. Dedicated hosting means your website is on its own server.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

A simple web programming language that tells web browsers how to render the words, pictures, audio, and video on your website.

HTTP/HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure)

HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, which is the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website you’re visiting. HTTPS requires a certificate to be issued to prove there is a safe connection for your website.

Hyperlink

An electronic connection between one web page to either other web pages on the same website or another website.

I

Information Architecture

The organization and distribution of content on a website so users can easily find and understand the content and its relationship.

J

JavaScript

A scripting language developed by Netscape that interacts with HTML, which allows for interactive websites. Some of the most common graphic JavaScript effects are: mouseovers, rotating sliders, and navigation.

K

Keyword

The words and phrase that identifies the content on your website page and is typically what potential visitors to your website will type into search engines in order to find your website.

L

Landing Page

A landing page can refer to one of three things. Some people consider the home page of a website a landing page because that is the first place visitors land on your website. In advertising, the page on your website that a visitor lands on as a result of clicking on an advertisement is considered a landing page. In marketing, a landing page is a page that has a single purpose, which is to try to get someone to fill out a form in order to become a lead. Marketing landing pages can be for things like a free download, signing up for a webinar, or signing up for a demo.

Lead Form

Forms that can be placed on a page of your website that visitors can fill out in order to download something or request information. When someone fills out one of these forms they become a “lead”.

M

Metadata

Data that provides information about one or more aspects of the data on your website, including means of creation of the data, purpose of the data, time and date of creation, creator or author of the data, location on a computer network where the data was created, and standards used. It’s the behind the scenes information on your website that describes the website itself and the content housed within it.

Meta Tags

Snippets of text that describe a web page’s content. Two common types of meta tags that people refer to are “Title Tag” and “Meta Description Attribute”.

Mobile First

A website that is designed by considering the mobile experience first and then the desktop experience. This methodology is the opposite of the subtraction method in which a website designer starts a design for a desktop and then subtracts lower priority features of the website as the screen gets smaller.

Mockup

A picture of how your website will look on a screen when it’s finished. This is not a working version of the website, it’s just a picture of what it will look like. High fidelity mockups have exact wording, photographs, and are literally how your website will look when finished. Low fidelity mockups may have placeholder words or photographs with the purpose of only showing where certain elements will be placed on the screen.

N

Navigation

Menus, links, icons, and buttons on a website, along with where they are located and where they take a user.

O

Open Source

Software that has source code that is available to the public and is freely distributable and modifiable. WordPress is an example of open source software.

Opt-In

Opting-in means someone has specifically requested to receive emails regarding a particular topic or from a particular entity.

Organic Search / Organic Results

Organic search occurs when someone enters search terms as text into a search engine. The resulting listings are considered the organic results.

P

PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor)

A server-side programming language used to develop fluid websites and connect to databases.

Pixels and Tags

A tracking pixel, or pixel tag, is a graphic with dimensions of 1×1 that is loaded when a user visits your website or opens an email. Typically, pixels from popular tools like Facebook, MailChimp, and Google Analytics are used by marketing teams to track activities.

Q

QA (Quality Assurance)

The process of testing different features of your website to ensure they work as intended. This also includes testing the functionality of your website on different web browsers.

R

Responsive Design

A website design approach that determines that the website will automatically change its appearance based on the screen size it is being viewed on.

Rollover

An action that causes an element’s appearance to change to a different image, color, or font style when a user places their mouse over it.

RSS Feed (Really Simple Syndication)

A type of web feed that gives users the ability to get immediate updates from a website in a standardized, computer-readable format.

S

SaaS (Software as a Service)

Software that is licensed on a subscription basis and distributed to customers via the Internet.

Search Engine

A program that searches documents for specific keywords and returns the list of documents. It has two parts: a spider and an indexer. The spider fetches the documents and the indexer reads the documents and creates an index based on the words or ideas contained in each document.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

The optimization of a website for better ranking on search engines. SEO can be affected by a number of factors including adding keywords to content, page titles, and headings. Links to your site from other sites (backlinks) can also affect your search rankings.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

The page displayed by search engines as a response to a query, which lists results related to the keyword entered by a user in an order the search engine determines is the most relevant to the user’s query.

Servers

Servers are computers that store huge amounts of data, process requests, and deliver data to other computers over the Internet or a local network.

Sitemap

An outline of the organization of your website’s content. Sitemaps show the high-level naming structure and hierarchy for a website and where pages live under the structure. They come in three forms: graphical, an HTML/human readable list, and an XML sitemap. Graphical sitemaps are used during the planning phase of a website’s design, an HTML/human readable list is displayed on a website for navigational purposes, and an XML sitemap is a structured listing for web crawlers, like Google.

Skeuomorphic Design

Skeuomorphic design elements incorporate shadows, colors, and bevels in order to make them look three-dimensional. The elements mimic their real-world counterparts in how they appear and/or how the user interacts with them. It’s a way to make interface objects familiar to users by using concepts they recognize. An example of an object that incorporates skeuomorphic design is the recycle bin icon on your computer, which is used to discard files.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

A protocol that enables encrypted communications across the Internet. SSL provides privacy, authentication, and message integrity. It is often used in communications between browsers and servers. “https” at the beginning of a URL indicates an SSL connection is used on a website. SSL connections work by each side sending a Security Certificate to the other, each side encrypting what they send, and then only the intended recipient is able to decode the information requested.

Style Guide

A document that includes colors, fonts, and branding guidelines for a website, company, book, or other type of content.

Subdomain

A domain that is part of a larger domain. For example, in “blog.yourwebsite.com”, “blog” signifies that it is a subdomain.

T

Title Attribute

The text in the top of the browser window that describes the page on your website. This text is recognizable by search engines and is displayed in search results for the title of a page listing.

TLD (Top-Level Domain)

The last portion of the domain name; the letters immediately following the final dot in a web address. “com” is the most common TLD. Other common TLDs are “org”, “net”, “io”, and “co”.

U

UI Design (User Interface)

Designing the way visitors see the pages on your website. Aesthetics and layout are part of UI design.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

Also known as web addresses, URLs are addresses for any and all documents on the Internet.

User Flow

The path taken by a user on a website to complete a task, from entry-point to completion.

UX Design (User Experience)

Designing the way visitors interact with the pages on your website. Needs and abilities, the technology or device, and the actions you want a visitor to take on your website are part of UX design. UX design is about optimizing the desired path you want your visitors to take on your website.

W

Web Browser

A software application used for accessing information on the web. Popular web browsers include Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

Web Server

Used to store, process, and deliver web pages to clients (web browsers).

Website Content

Photographs, graphics, and text that are on a website.

White Space

The amount of margin around a piece of content on a webpage.

Widget

Components that can be added to a site without having to write code. Common examples of widgets are weather, stock tickers, social media, email marketing signup forms, calendars, and commenting.

Wireframe

A visual guide that shows the skeletal framework of a website. It depicts the page layout, including interface elements, navigational systems, and how they work together. Lines, boxes, and words are used in wireframes. No photography or colors are used.

WordPress

An open source software that is one of the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS). It’s popular because it’s flexible, community supported, easy to use, and has a large number of extensions available.

WYSIWYG Editor (What You See Is What You Get)

Usually refers to HTML editors that display text and images as they will appear on your website. When making changes to content on your website, WYSIWYG editors produce the code based on what you create, removing much of the need for knowing and coding in HTML.

Further Reading on Website Design & Development