Glossary of Website Terms

 

While the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, there's still a lot of web terminology that can be confusing to a lot of people. We've taken the time to define some of the most common terms that we think our clients (and internet users in general) should know!

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Address Bar:

The address bar is a text box, usually at the top of your browser window, which displays the address of the web page you're looking at, or which a web address can be typed into. With many browsers, the address bar can also be used as a search box.

Anchor Text:

Anchor text refers to the string of text that is clickable in a hyperlink. Anchor text can be as little as one character, or as much as an entire paragraph. In the early days of the internet, the most common anchor text was "Click Here", but users are now much more familiar with links, and anchor text varies greatly across the web.

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Backlinks:

Backlinks are links from other websites 'back' to your own. That could be a link on a Partners page, a Better Business Bureau listing, a reference to your product in a blog post, or much more. Backlinks are considered by Google's ranking algorithm and can affect your search rankings, but there are many specifics, like quantity, quality, and anchor text.

Bandwidth:

Bandwidth is the amount of information your connection to the Internet can carry, usually measured in bits per second.

Banner:

A banner is a graphic that is placed around a website for the use of advertising. Graphics can use static images and text, or even be animated. Banners are a great way to draw attention to special information or offers, whether it's on your site or an external site.

Blog:

Originally short for "web log," the term 'blog' now most often refers to a website (or section of a website) that is regularly updated with new content. They can be used by individuals to share personal thoughts, large corporations for content marketing, and everyone in between. The term can also be used as a verb, meaning to write and post to a blog. "What do you do in your free time?" "I run, swim, travel, and blog."

Bounce:

The digital equivalent of "Return to Sender." Sometimes, emails can't be delivered. This can happen for many reasons, but the most common include: a user's email account is out of storage, you tried sending to an address that doesn't exist (or that has been deleted).

Bounce Rate:

A common metric in analytics programs such as Google Analytics, bounce rate is defined as "the percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page." A bounce rate of 50% means that half of the traffic that arrived on a page of your website left (by hitting the back button or closing their tab/window) without clicking to another page first. This can be a misleadingly high number for bloggers: oftentimes, people will click a link, read an entire article, then leave. Even though they may have spent 5 minutes reading, this would still qualify as a bounce.

Browser:

A browser is the software you use to view web pages - in fact you're using one right now! Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer are some of the more common browsers, but there are others like Safari and Opera. Since each one is different, pages can vary in appearance depending on what browser is used. This has to be taken into account when designing and testing websites.

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Content Management System (CMS):

Short for "Content Management System," a CMS allows a number of users to create and change website content through the use of WSYIWIG editors, without the need for HTML knowledge. Because the CMS is online, there is no need for external programs or uploading of separate page documents, and content can be published or unpublished with a single click.

Compression:

Compression makes files smaller for faster upload/download times, and less disk space usage. JPEGs use compression, making them ideal for web, but can lead to loss of image quality if re-saved multiple times.

Cookie:

A cookie is a message given to a web browser (the application you use to get online) by a web server. Cookies help identify website users who have visited previously, or those that are there for the first time, and can prepare customized content for them depending on those criteria.

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Domain Name System (DNS):

The DNS translates URL text addresses that we use (like www.bkmediagroup.com) into a numeric Internet address.

Dots Per Inch (DPI):

DPI refers to print resolution of an image, or of the output device (like a printer). The resolution for web is 72 dpi, while the standard for print is 300 dpi, which allows for much greater clarity.

Domain name:

A domain name is a name that identifies a computer or computers on the Internet. These names appear as a part of a Website's URL. For example, in www.bkmediagroup.com - bkmediagroup is the domain name.

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E-Commerce:

'Electronic commerce' is the buying and selling of goods and services, and the transfer of funds, through digital communications. More and more businesses are selling merchandise on their websites using intricate programs that allow customers to put items in a 'shopping cart' and check out, and even account for shipping and tax costs.

Error 404:

A 404 error message means the page you're trying to reach cannot be found. This can happen if you link to a page that doesn't exist, or if a page is taken down and the link remains up.

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Favicon:

Look up! A Favicon is the little image that appears in the browser window next to your URL, or in next to the meta-title if you're using tabs.

Findability:

Findability is an internet marketing term that refers to how easily information on a website can be found, either from search engines and other online directories and resources, or from within the site itself.

Fold:

In web design terms, "fold" is the line past which someone has to scroll to see more content. Everything that shows up when a page first loads is "above the fold" and "below-" or "after the fold" refers to the content further down the page. The term comes originally from newspapers, as the top half of the front page was "above the fold," and is where the major stories and images were placed for maximum effect.

Forms:

Forms use HTML tags that define and label text-entry boxes, check boxes, radio buttons, and/or drop-down menus to create simple ways for someone to collect information from users directly on the site.

Freeware:

Any software that is distributed for free on the web. Some well known examples would be Adobe Reader (for viewing of PDFs) and Skype (video chatting).

File Transfer Protocol (FTP):

FTP allows you to copy or send files (HTML documents, graphic images, spreadsheets, etc.) from one computer to another via the Internet. A user ID and password are needed to use FTP, unless Anonymous FTP is allowed.

 

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Hexadecimal:

A numbering system which uses a base of 16. The first ten digits are 0-9 and the next six are A-F. Hexadecimal numbers are used to determine (and standardize) colors on the web. For example, the hexadecimal equivalent for the color white is #FFFFFF, while black is #000000

HyperText Markup Language (HTML):

HTML a cross-platform language for creating and formatting web pages. Elements and tags are used to affect copy, images, sounds, frames, animation and more.

Hyperlink:

A hyperlink, more commonly called a link, is an electronic connection between one web page to either other web pages on the same website (internal linking), or web pages located on another website (external linking).

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Image Map:

An image map is a list of coordinates related to a image, such that clicking certain areas of the image links to different pages. With a normal image link, the entire image would link to one single page.

Internet Service Provider (ISP):

An ISP is the company that provides you with access to the Internet.

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JavaScript:

JavaScript is a scripting language developed by Netscape that interacts with HTML, allowing for interactive websites. JavaScript can  in terms of graphics and navigation. Some of the most common graphic JavaScript effects are mouseovers, rotating sliders, and Javascript navigation, commonly created using drop-down menus.

JPEG:

Short for "Joint Photographic Experts Group," the group that created the standards for what are JPEG images (JPEG is the type of file, while JPG is the file extension). JPEGs use adjustable compression, meaning you can make them smaller (though at the cost of clarity) for uses such as web.

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Masthead:

A masthead is a graphic image placed on top of a web page helps to easily identify the current page to the user. Masthead images can contain photos, text, shapes, and/or image maps.

Metadata:

Metadata is a confusing and somewhat ambiguous idea. Straight from Wikipedia: "Metadata is defined as data providing information about one or more aspects of the data, such as: Means of creation of the data, Purpose of the data, Time and date of creation, Creator or author of data, Location on a computer network where the data was created, Standards used." In basic terms, it's behind the scenes information on your site that describes the site itself and content housed within.

Mouseover:

Mouseover refers to any kind of action that occurs when a users places their cursor (that arrow you move around your screen) over a button, but before anything is clicked. The actions can be anything from a simple change in color to an intricate animation.

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Navigation:

Navigation refers to the process by which users accesses information on the internet. Usually when we use the term, we're talking about the menus, links, icons and buttons on your site, along with where they are and where they take a use.

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Open Source:

Freely distributable and modifiable software to which the source code is available to the public. Open Source Software often comes with the benefit of a widely supported network of web developers and web designers that contribute to the application, make updates, and troubleshoot application glitches that would otherwise take much longer in a proprietary situation. Mozilla Firefox and Wordpress are two examples of open source software, which is why you see so many different themes and extensions for each, most created by the public.

Opt-In:

In email marketing, you need to make sure your recipients want to get your messages, or you could get marked as spam. Opting-in means that someone has specifically requested to receive emails about a particular topic or from a particular entity.

Outbound link:

Outbound links refer to links from your site to an external (somebody else's) site.

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PDF:

Short for "Portable Document Format," they were first developed by Adobe. The idea behind the PDF was to create a file format that did not dependent on applications, software, hardware or software for proper viewing. Every PDF file has a complete description of a document, including the text, fonts, graphics, and other information needed to display it.

PNG:

Short for "Portable Network Graphics," (but you can just say "ping"). PNG is an image format used for lossless compression and displaying images on the web. PNGs allow for millions of colors, as well as transparent backgrounds, through that can sometimes result in larger file sizes.

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Radio Button:

Also called an option button, radio buttons allow users to choose one of a number of predetermined options. Common radio buttons could be yes/no questions, or age ranges (18-24, 25-30, etc.) A radio button is different from a check box, which can accept multiple checked items at a time.

Resolution:

The number of pixels in an image, given in a WxH format. Usually, the more pixels in an image, the longer it will take to load.

 

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Search Engine:

A search engine is a program that searches documents (i.e. web pages, which are HTML documents) for specified keywords and returns the list of documents. A search engine has two parts, a spider and an indexer. The spider is the program that fetches the documents, and the indexer reads the documents and creates an index based on the words or ideas contained in each document.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

Short for "Search Engine Optimization." Refers to the design of a website for better ranking on search engines. This can be affected through techniques like site submission to major search engines, keyword aggregation, site code modification/optimization, link-building, injection of Google Analytics site-wide, and some content modification to accommodate selected keywords.

Sitemap:

A sitemap is a representation of the complete architecture of a website, usually in hierarchical fashion and based on the site's navigation.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL):

A protocol designed by Netscape to enable encrypted communications across the Internet. It provides privacy, authentication, and message integrity. SSL is often used in communications between browsers and servers. A URL that begins with "https" is a clue that an SSL connection will be used on the website. During an SSL connection, each side sends a Security Certificate to the other. Both sides then encrypt what they send, ensuring that only the intended recipient can decode it.

Subdomain:

A subdomain is a domain that is part of a larger domain. Makes a lot of sense, right? Sometimes when BKMedia Group is updating an old site, we need to put the new one live on the same domain, without disturbing the old site. In those cases, we create the new site on a subdomain like beta.bkmediagroup.com. The "beta" in place of "www" is a different subdomain, just like could make a blog.bkmediagroup.com, or any number of other subdomains.

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Text-Entry Box:

In an online form, text-entry boxes allow a user to type in them. They can be limited to a number of lines or characters.

Thumbnail:

A small version of a graphic image. Usually serve as a 'preview image' in an image gallery on the web.

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Upload:

Uploading is the action of sending data from a local computer (yours) to a server or website. When you have an image on your computer that you want to use on your website, you upload it. When you transfer something from the web to your computer, it's downloading.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL):

Commonly referred to as web addresses, URLs are just that - the addresses for any and all documents on the Internet. http://www.bkmediagroup.com is the URL for BKMedia Group's home page.

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Website Content:

Photographs, graphics and text are the main content needed to develop and design an effective website. The first page of a website is known as the home page, and is often an overview of the website content. Each new web page within a website has its own URL and after each web page is created, the content is typically linked together using a navigation menu and hyperlinks.

Widget:

Widgets are various components that can be added to a site without having to write the code. Weather and stock tickers are two common examples of widgets.

WYSIWYG Editor:

Short for "What You See Is What You Get," and pronounced "wizzy-wig." WYSIWYG usually refers to HTML editors (like the ones in Joomla) that display text and images as they will appear on your site, with styling, colors, etc. Using WYSIWYG editors removes much of the need for knowing and coding in HTML when making simple changes to content, as they produce the code based on the visual representation you create.

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