Website Terminology: A Glossary of Web Jargon

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Adam Cook

A

Above the fold – When a page first loads, the content seen on the screen before scrolling down is what is commonly referred to as above the fold content.

Alt tag – An alt tag or alternative tag is used for accessibility purposes on images to describe what the image contains or appears to look like. This is to help a range of disabilities including sight impairment. An alt tag can also help search engines like Google understand your image.

Anchor text – The text used to create a hyperlink is anchor text. Often this will be seen as “Click here” with here being a link to a different page. Using anchor texts can help describe what the link is about so users know what the link will be about if they were to click on it, so this is helpful to users.

B

Back end – The back end of a website often refers to the admin side. This is usually the CMS like WordPress; the software on the back end helps a webmaster manage and make changes to their website. This is hidden from web visitors as these are advanced features for the owner of the website to make changes.

Backlink – A link to your website from another website is called a backlink, as they are linking back to you. You can give other websites backlinks by linking to their website from your website content. Backlinks are often used to share content that the other website thinks it’s visitors might find useful.

Blog – A section of a website to publish ‘posts’. You can write blog posts for any reason, to write about a topic for your users, to update them about your business. Some websites may be exclusively a blog website, whereas, it’s also possible to have a blog section on any website.

Blocked by robots – You may see this error if your website cannot be crawled by search engines. This is a warning to say that your website can’t be crawled (or indexed on search engines) because you’re blocking robots. To check if you’re blocking robots you can usually type /robots.txt to the end of your domain name to see this file on your website. You can also find a fix for this by unchecking “discourage search engines” in the settings of your website.

Below the fold – We’ve mentioned above the fold being website content that loads on the screen without scrolling. Well, below the fold is the content seen after scrolling down once the page has loaded. This is content lower down on the page.

Breadcrumb – A breadcrumb on a website is a feature that shows the navigation user has taken to get to the page they are on. Breadcrumbs tend to be above or below the title of a page and appear like so:

Browser – The web browser is the web application you are using to access the internet. For example, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and Firefox are all web browsers.

C

Cache – Cache refers to layers of saved data on a website. This means some changes you make to your website will not display right away, as the internet might be using a saved version of your website that is now outdated. When clearing cache is talked about it can often mean browser cache, by which you would have to clear your internet and cookie history. Some websites have their own cache plug-ins to help the website load faster for users. This is considered another layer of cache that might need clearing. Cache is infamous for causing display issues for website owners, but is essential for a fast loading website.

Cookies – Websites might use cookies to track users who visit their website and track them for purposes of marketing and advertising. It’s common for websites to declare if they are using cookies when you land on their website. You will also be given and option to accept or reject cookies. Accepting cookies on websites can in time, slow down the speed of your internet browser and your browsing so it’s always a good idea to clear cookies to keep your web browser working quicker.

Comment spam – Spam is a common occurrence on websites without sufficient defences. If you allow user-generated comments on your blog posts or web pages, then it’s likely you will come into contact with comment spam. Most CMS systems can help you manage this by letting you moderate comments before they are published.

Content management system – A CMS is the platform your website is built upon. For example, the common CMS platforms are WordPress, Shopify, Magento etc. These are designed to make building a website easier for webmasters. The tools on a CMS helps a website owner add content, make changes, and design changes for their website.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets is a coding language used to add design elements to content on a website. CSS is used in conjunction with HTML and JS that plays a role in the designing and styling of a website.

D

Ddos – A cyber attack that uses up your website’s hosting bandwidth to cause a denial of service (dos) to anyone trying to access the website. This is done by sending fast bursts of short server requests (packets), thus taking up all available server resources so no more requests to view the website can be made. This can be a short or sustained attack.

DNS – Domain name servers or dns records are technical bits of data that link up a website to various items like hosting, emails, servers, spam filters, and more. 

Domain Name – The websites domain may look something like https://www.example.co.uk/. It is the main name in the URL bar that is consistent across your website. 

Domain Transfer – A domain transfer is needed when moving a website’s hosting to a new provider. The new company will need to request a domain transfer which starts the process of moving a website’s domain over to a different provider.

Drag and Drop – Commonly referring to page builders, drag and drop is an intuitive design feature that lets users drag items like widgets or files and simply drop them into the place they want them to go. This makes a lot of internet processes very simple to do.

E

eCommerce – eCom is an online shopping or retailer. You can sell or buy products through an eCommerce website. Common features of an ecom include a basket, checkout page, and returns policy.

Embedded – If something is embedded in a website then a code has been added to display an external feature on a website. Commonly seen embeds are google maps on contact pages, as this is being pulled from google maps using an Iframe.

F

Favicon – On web browser tabs you’ll find most websites have their title with an image to the left. This image is called a favicon and tends to be a business logo or the logo of the website.

Featured Image – This image is used to display when sharing a web page on social media. It is also shown on mobile search results on Google and can increase the relevancy of a page if the image does indeed represent what the page is about.

Footer – A global element found on a website. The footer is at the bottom of a website and can host website links, contact forms and more. This helps a user navigate a website and find important information easily.

Font family – These are similar fonts that share similar characteristics, which is why they’re a part of the same font family. Using the same font family throughout a website creates a branded and coherent approach to design your website.

Front end – The front end is the client side of the website. This is what web visitors will see when they visit the website as they don’t access the backend.

H

Header – A global element found on a website. The header is found at the top of every page and the design and display should look the same across every web page on the site. The main use being to provide navigation for users throughout the website and give the website clear structure.

Hex number – Used for declaring colours. Hex numbers have an assigned colour/shade/tone to each number. As the name suggests, it’s a 6 digit number sometimes prefixed with a #. Using hex is standard in most styling tools, and makes communicating colours precise and useful for brands.

Hosting – Web hosting is needed for every website to keep them online. Hosting providers have servers across the world the accommodate domains and the data associated with individual websites. The means when your website is clicked on/requested by someone online, your domain will load your website. Without one your website won’t load anything as it will be offline or ‘down’.

.htaccess – An important file is used to tell servers to load your website. Errors in a htaccess can cause a white screen to appear on a website. Redirects can also be added to the htaccess to change the course of a link in the website.

HTML – hypertext markup language structures websites on the internet. This is the core coding language all websites are built on acting as the foundation of every website design.

Http  – The unsecure version of https, http is the standard hypertext transfer protocol that prefixes a URL. As times are progressing http is becoming more outdated, websites turning more favourably to https to secure their websites against hackers and spyware.

Https – As mentioned, https is the secure version of http. Any data passed over https is secured using an SSL certificate that employs 128-bit encryption (which makes it incredibly hard for hackers to exploit) thus, protecting yours and your customers data.

I

Iframe – A common embed, the irame is an inline piece of code that allows users to embed a document onto a web page.

Inline – Writing code inline means writing code on the website, opposed to having it load from a file like a .js or .css file, this means the code is loaded as the web page loads content rather than how any scripts are loaded.

IP Address – The IP Address is where your website lives on the internet. Individual servers are given IP addresses to locate websites on the internet. Shared hosting is an example of when IP addresses are shared between a number of websites. Note: cheap hosting services often cause issues because of this as spammers often use the same IP address as you – which can get penalised, thus penalising you too by service providers.

J

JS – JavaScript adds functions to a website design. With animations and effects, a website can be brought to life using JS. This helps gives a much better user experience to visitors of the website.

L

Landing Page – A landing page refers to any page a web visitor lands on when they enter your website. This term has also been adopted to describe pages used for sending paid web traffic too, especially from advertisements.

Link Farm – A website used to create backlinks to thousands of websites, with the purpose of exploiting search engine algorithms in favour of higher rankings. Though, in recent updates, search algorithms have grown wise to this kind of exploitation and so has less effect on rankings.

Lazy Loading – This is a feature that enables pages to defer the load of content until the user has scrolled down onto it. Thus making the page load give as it only has to focus on above the fold content.

M

Metadata – This data is used by search engines to display a title and description for each web page. Metadata is important for SEO and communicates what the web page is about to search engines.

Mobile-Friendly – This means a website is optimised for use on a mobile device and performs optimally. 

O

Open Source – open source means the creators behind something i.e a software or technology, is solely community-based and open for all to add to, and use as needed.

P

Pageview – each time a web page is viewed, it is recorded as a page view. This is the name given to the action in Google Analytics. Pageviews help web marketers or webmasteres assess which pages have a higher visibility over others, and make inferences over how these pages are performing.

Paywall – Not all content on the internet is free. A paywall is a web feature put in place to force users to purchase access to hidden content. This is common on newspaper sites, where publishers require a subscription fee in order to show you their content. This can be used for various content forms.

Permalink – Is the link you sent a URL to when creating and publishing a web page.

Pixels – A measurement of screen resolution, pixels tell us the size of an asset on the web. Using pixels helps understand the size assets will appear in relation to other assets. Pixels may also refer to Facebook Pixel. This is a tracking code used by Facebook to track user behaviour on your website.

Plug-in  – Websites can take advantage of using premade plug-ins to add features and functions to their website. These third-party plug-ins can do a wide range of things for your website and can be designed to perform a range of uses. Most CMS systems will house a Plug-in section to make adding these to your website really simple. 

R

Redirect – Triggered in the htaccess, a redirect or 301 redirect allows a webmaster to have a link redirect to another link. This is useful where links have been created throughout a website for an old web page that has been deleted, and you want to redirect uses to a new page about the same topic. This makes it much easier to fix broken links without going through the entire website changing the old links one by one.

Responsive – Website design done using a framework or ‘grid’ format that can resize and reposition itself based on the screen resolution of devices it’s viewed on. Making optimal viewing across a wide range of modern day devices like mobiles.

RSS – Really Simple Syndication is an embeddable feed for websites wanting to display their updates on social media like Facebook, Twitter etc. Making it easy to display these updates using RSS.

S

Screen Resolution – This is the size of screen a website is being viewed on. Resolutions differ between make and model of devices like computers, laptops, mobile, and tablets.

Schema Markup – A markup language designed with the backing of leading search engine Google, Schema makes marking up website content easy to describe to search engines exactly what each piece of content is representing. You can view the whole range of schema at schema.org.

Server – The internet is hosted on servers. This is where all information is stored and sent from. Servers can be shared, private, or open. Servers aren’t created equal and some can send data faster than others.

SEO – Search engine optimisation is a digital marketing tactic used to manipulate search engine rankings in favour of your website for certain keywords web users would type in. It is free to rank on search engines so this tactic is considered ‘organic’.

SSL – An SSL Certificate can be purchased and installed on a domain to encrypt the transmission of data through the website. 128-bit encryption is standard and protects a website from hackers and any malware.

Slug – refers to the URL path on that appends the domain name.

Sitemap – The sitemap is a file on a website that helps direct both users and web crawlers through all website pages. This helps with indexing your web pages on search engines and is commonly placed in the footer of a website.

T

Template – A templated website is a site built upon a pre-designed shell, in which a website can be formed. Templates are often sold online to offer a product for those not wanting to build a website from scratch. 

U

URL – This is the full address of a web page found in the address bar of a web browser. URLs represent a unique page.

V

VPN – a VPN or virtual private network refers to an internet connection. If you have a VPN you can select where you would like your internet connection to be passed through, giving the illusion of a different IP address than the IP you;re actually using. This comes handy when using public internet connections that could be hacked as you would be protected from network hacking if you had a VPN enabled. Other uses include being able to spoof your location in the world – handy when restrictions have been placed on a website for internet connections from a specific country, as this can be bypassed.

W

Web crawlers – These are automated operations coded into a server to operate in a certain manner. This manner is to sift through websites collecting data, usually for the purpose of placing that data through a ranking algorithm to decide where to place your website on search engines. Blocked by robots is used to block this crawling if you do not want robots to crawl a website.

Website down – a website down means the hosting, or another critical issue has occurred and the website is not online for some reason or other.

Webmaster – Webmasters are commonly the owners of the website or those in charge of keeping it running. They manage all that happens with the website.

WordPress – The internet’s most common CMS WordPress is an open source software that can be installed on a domain in order to build and manage content on a website.

WYSIWYG – “Wizzy-wig” or What You See Is What You Get is a page builder that makes building web pages easy via drag and drop features.

#

404 – This error means that page cannot be found. This could mean the page has been deleted. It is bad user experience to keep 404 errors on your website so replace these links if you find them with links that go to similar content.
301 – A 301 redirect is placed in the htaccess to work. They redirect links for one page and automatically direct users trying to access that page to a different link.

website terminology guide for web jargon