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Simple Explanation of Common Website Terminology

Simple explanation of common website terminology

When I designed my very first website back in 2010, I was overwhelmed with all the website terminology and jargon. I was frustrated with constantly trying to figure out what all of these foreign terms meant. I mean what do UX, HTML and CSS actually mean and did I really need to know?

I’m all about making things simple for my website design clients and speaking to them in non-techie terms.

So, I thought it would be helpful to provide a simple explanation of common website terminology as a resource. Now the next time some website jargon is thrown at you, you’ll have something to reference so you will know what it means!

Above the Fold
Above the fold refers to the content on your website that is visible before needing to scroll down. This makes the area above the fold prime real estate on your website and is where your most important information should go – what you do, who you do it for and a call to action.

Back End
A website’s back end refers to a it’s content management system or server.  This is where you log in and make changes to your website’s content, pages, add images, make updates, and write blog posts.

Cache
Cached files are those that are saved or copied (downloaded) by a web browser so that the next time that user visits the website, the page loads faster.

Call to Action
A call to action (CTA) is a simple instruction presented to a visitor to your website to encourage them to take some kind of action. 

Cookies
Cookies are small files that websites send to your device that the sites then use to monitor you and remember certain information about you — like what’s in your shopping cart on an e-commerce site, or your login information.

Domain Name
A domain name is your website’s name.  For example, my domain name is www.rdwdesignstudio.com.  It’s what you would type into a browser search bar to visit your website. In order to have a website, you must have a domain name. 

Favicon
A favicon is a small icon that serves as branding for your website. Its main purpose is to help visitors locate your page easier when they have multiple tabs open.

Footer
A footer is an area located at the bottom of every page on a website, below the main body content. It’s a good place to display copywrite information, legal pages and additional information such as a social media feed, a sign-up form and contact information.

Header
The header is the top section of your website. It’s generally consistent through each page. The header usually includes your menu and name or logo.

Hosting
Hosting is the actual computer, or server, where your website’s files are stored. In order to have a website, you must have hosting. I recommend Siteground for website hosting.

Image Optimization
Image optimization is about reducing the file size of your images as much as possible without sacrificing quality so that your page load times remain low. 

Keywords
Keywords are the words and phrases in the content of a website that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. A website that is well optimized for search engines will use keywords that its potential clients would type into a search engine to find them

Mobile Responsive
When a website is responsive, the layout and content respond (or adapt) based on the size of the screen it’s presented on. A responsive website automatically changes to fit the device you’re viewing it on.

Navigation
Website navigation allows visitors to flow from one page to another without frustration. The most common type of website navigation is the menu. Your website’s navigation structure has a huge impact on conversions, sales, and bounce rates.

Plugin
A plugin is a software component that adds a specific feature to a WordPress website.  Plugins are great because they can extend functionality or add new features to your website without having to write or edit any code. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your website’s content so that a search engine (Google, for example) will show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.

SSL Certificate
SSL stands for secure sockets layer. You’ll know a website has an SSL certificate by two things: 1.) The URL says https and not http and 2.) You’ll see a padlock icon in the URL bar. That extra ‘S’ means your connection to the website is secure and encrypted and that any data you enter is safely shared with that website.

White Space
White space allows the eye to take a break; it’s like visual breathing room.  It’s the amount of space around different design elements such as text and images. A cluttered website is the opposite of a website with plenty of whitespace.

When I work with my website design clients, something I pride myself on is taking care of all the techie stuff without the techie talk. I want my clients to have a clear understanding of their website and how it works, and I want the same for you as well.

If you found this information on common website terminology helpful, I hope you’ll share it with others who may benefit from it using the links below.

If you’d like to start the conversation about working together, please fill out the client application form and I will be in touch to schedule a complimentary introductory call.

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