Website Design Terms!


Below is a simplified explanation for those relatively new to the internet.
Hopefully this will clearly explain some of the terrminology used by our Geekish speaking colleagues


ADDRESS BAR

The white bar towards the top of your computer screen. There should be something typed in it that starts with http:// This is where you type in the address of a website that you want to visit.

ASP

A coding language for Windows servers. Used for increased functionality on a website extracting information from a database.

BACKLINKS

These are links from other websites to yours. Used to increase visits to your site.

BANDWIDTH

Bandwidth relates to how much a resource is used. When a website gets a lot of visitors, it will use a lot of bandwidth.

BOUNCE RATE

This is the percentage of visitors that come to your website and then leave straight away without looking further than the 1st page.

BROWSER COMPATIBILITY

When you visit a website, you are seeing it on a browser. Websites can look very different in different browsers. As everything is in encoded, a browser is the piece of software that decodes everything so that what you see is an attractive page rather than a lot of coding text. Unfortunately not all browsers decode the same way resulting in visual differences from one browser version to another.

CACHE

Every time you view a webpage your computer stores it in memory so that the next time you try to view the same page it recalls the webpage quicker than having to download it again. The place where it stores all the webpages is called the "cache". Sometimes the cache will load an older version of the page, to see the latest version of the page, you would need to Refresh the page by pressing Ctrl+F5.

CMS

Content Management System allows an authorised person to manage the content and images on a website without needing to know any coding.

CODE

All webpages are coded in one way or another to achieve their exact look, layout and functions. ASP and PHP are coding languages that are used to develop websites.

CONVERSION RATE

Ultimately this is what online marketing is all about because it is pointless getting thousands of visitors if none are buying your product or your services.

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. They can be used to track visitors to see where they come from and how often they come, what they do when they come and other information to help with marketing. Cookies are also used to store username and passwords.

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 stored 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 be changed through a Content Management System.

DOMAIN NAME

A domain is the address allocate for a specific website and is commonly referred to as the name of a website.

DOMAIN NAME 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 will it be assigned a specific location on the internet. A domain name registration is normally only valid for one year, at the end of which it has to be renewed for you wish to continue using it.

EMAIL ACCOUNT TYPES

The two most common types of email accounts are the alias and pop email accounts.
The alias account simply redirects emails being sent to this email address to an alternative existing email address. The stand alone or pop email account requires an email application like Outlook or Thunderbird to be set up with the new user access codes to retrieve the emails being sent to the account.

EMAIL CLIENT

The software programme that you use in order to send and receive email from your computer.

FREEWARE

Software that is made available at no cost whatsoever.

FTP CLIENT

The software programme that you use to upload your website to a host server.

GIF

A type of file used for images. A gif image can be saved with a transparent background, making it ideal for graphic overlays.

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 facilities is your host and you will pay them a fee for hosting your site and or email address.

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 as it can not interact with the visitor other than in the most basic ways.

HTTP

HyperText Transfer Protocol. This is a method used to transfer the website information from the internet to your computer.

IP or IP ADDRESS

Internet Protocol. The IP address refers to the actual number that a web address name translates to. (also see "domain"). The IP number is the real address.

ISP

Internet Service Provider. The organisation that provides you with internet access to websites on the internet.

JAVASCRIPT

Coding languages used to achieve effects and functions on websites that normal html cannot achieve. This coding (or scripts) are normally embedded into a web page and will automatically activate as soon as the page is viewed.

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.

LINK

The internet is made up of millions of resources and computers that all link to each other. One type of link (verb) is a link (noun). This is a small snippet of code that creates an area on a web page that can be clicked on. Once clicked on, the person will be taken to the resource that the piece of code linked to. This is how users on the internet can move from one web page or website to another and download documents, programmes or files. To link to something means to host this piece of code that will take the person to the resource that you are linking to. To have a link from a website means that someone else is hosting this piece of code that will bring people to your website or resource.

MAILSERVER

(Also see "server"). A mail server is a computer that distributes email. Simplest is to think of it as an internet version of your local post office.

META TAG

Included in the head section of an html web page and is visible to search engines but not human visitors. Meta tags provide information about a webpage, like the topic (title), keywords, description and also instructions to search engine robots and visitor browsers.

OPERATING SYSTEM

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

OPTIMISE

Has two possible meanings in web design. The first is website/page optimisation. This relates to how the page is structured (both code and content) with regard to search engines. A well optimised website is search engine friendly.
The second meaning relates to graphics and pictures that are used on websites. An optimised 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

A domain name that sits on the same server space as another. If someone types in the address of either the main domain or the parked domain, they will arrive at the same website.

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.

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. This "small amount" can however go quite high, depending on the deemed value of the link. This is a very simplified explanation, but the principle is that you ostensibly "pay for what you get", which is not entirely accurate. False clicks can in fact make this much more expensive than a fixed advertising cost.

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. There is a second meaning as well, more commonly used with regard to marketing and SEO and related specifically to Google. Each page of a website is given a ranking by Google, from 1-10. This ranking is the value that Google places on that particular page in relation to its subject matter and how relevant it is. The more relevant a page is believed to be the higher its ranking.

RECIPROCAL LINKS

When website A links to website B and B links back to A and both link to the other on condition that they receive a link back, this is reciprocal linking. The principle is that if site A ever removes the link to site B, site B will remove its link to site A and vice versa. This is a (not great) tactic for gaining more links pointing to a website in the hope that Google will increase the site's ranking as a result.

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. It is most commonly on a website and used to find other websites - much like the yellow pages is used in the brick and mortar world.

SEARCH ENGINE FRIENDLY

This relates to how well a site has been put together. A search engine friendly website is one that search engines can easily read and find all the links on AND which search engines "like" because it is properly optimised 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. A critical consideration in having your website found on the internet.

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 Optimisation" and very simply refers to the practice of tweaking website coding and content to achieve the highest possible search engine ranking. SEO practitioners are people who specialise in this (or claim to).

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.

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. There are different types of shareware. With some you have limited use (not everything works) before you pay, with others you have full use but for a limited time. Some shareware has both limited use and limited time.

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.

SPAM

A somewhat controversial word which has different extremes of meaning to different people. Very simply, spam is junkmail, normally sent out in bulk and normally with no regard as to whether you want to receive it or not. Serious spammers will in fact use your protests as proof that you are seeing their emails and spam you even more.

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.something-else.yourdomain.co.za The "something-else" is the sub domain.

THE NET

A shortened version of "The Internet". Refers to the entire network that exists worldwide, making communication and information accessible to anyone with a computer and connection.

TIMEOUT

If you try to connect to any server on the internet - to view a website or collect email - and it takes too long, you will have a timeout. It purely means it has taken too long, so the process was aborted. This is often what has happened when you get an error while trying to send or receive email, or when you try to visit a website and instead get a page that tells you the site cannot be found. Often just trying again immediately fixes the problem.

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. Traffic is also often spoken about when it comes to hosting. If a host tells you that you are allowed X amount of traffic, they are telling you how much of the server resources you are allowed to use. This is also called "bandwidth". Please see the explanation of "bandwidth" for more information about "traffic" in the context of hosting.

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 allows for finding the exact location attached to it. http://www.websitemagic.co.za is this website's url and http://www.websitemagic.co.za/website_terms.php (the extra part after the .co.za/). is this exact page's address.

WEBMAIL

Email that you can check from any computer anywhere in the world through a web address.

WEB PAGE

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. We set the width of our pages between 800 ~ 1000 to allow for propper display on smaller devices. The page length is set to be no more than twice the width of the page for user practicality.

WEBSITE

The actual website itself. The website creates the content as to what what people see and do when they go to your website address.

WEBSITE ADDRESS

This is the location of your website and is normally typed as www.websitemagic.co.za

WINDOWS

The most common type (make) of operating system.

WWW

World Wide Web. Another name for the internet.

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