The MXMG Website Glossary – Whether you’re building, using or just want to know what SQL is!
There are several routes you can take when it comes to building a good business website. You can bring in the experts and have a web developer put it all together for you; or if you fancy having a go yourself, there are many options available that try to make it as easy as possible. Whichever you choose, you don’t need an in-depth technical knowledge, but it’s worth understanding the common terms. For starters, a good CMS will make the everything much easier, with things like SEO, Metadata, plugins and CSS coming together to create a great UX. As you can see however, you will undoubtedly encounter jargon and acronyms that make little or no sense at all, unless you’re in the know.
This is true throughout the digital industries, where the desire for a (sometimes complex) arrangement of letters is often seen as a great substitute for clear and easy-to-understand words… To help you, we decided to compile a glossary that will cover the commonly-used acronyms, jargon and technical language you will encounter.
Now, we don’t expect you to sit and read it all at once, but please do bookmark and feel free to come back to this page as a reference whenever you need to. If we’ve missed any, do let us know!
Accelerated Mobile Pages
AMP is a free resource that is designed to make (relatively simple) webpages load faster on mobile platforms. Google, Twitter, Facebook and others use AMP to allow their platform to display the AMP content quickly to users. It functions only for reading though, so forms and other interactive content won’t work. The page is loaded as it’s viewed, so the user isn’t waiting for all of the webpage data, such as images etc. to be loaded up front.
Alt Text Alternative Text
This is used to describe image files on your website. It’s always worth making the effort, as alt text forms part of SEO and is used by search engines such as Google. The alt text allows the search engine to determine what is depicted in the image so it can be listed in search results.
The admin area of your website; the part that sits behind the scenes where you make changes, add content, etc.
Links that point visitors to your homepage or content on your website, from another, external website. High quality backlinks are seen as a sign of credibility by search engines and can help with rankings.
You’ll have already seen this on many sites when signing in or submitting responses. Yes, it’s annoying, but it prevents automated bots from filling your comments, or other interactive elements of your website with spam. CAPTCHA is a process that can automatically distinguish between humans and computers.
Content Management System. This is the platform or framework that supports your website. WordPress is the best known CMS. A good CMS will enable you to make changes to content, images and layouts, easily and without any complex technical knowledge.
The languages used by developers to create processes and functions for websites, apps, software, etc.
What you’re reading now! Content is everything that makes up the information available to visitors, including text, product descriptions, images, videos, recordings, and so on… The better your content, the better your visitor experience and potentially, your website’s ranking in search engines.
Content marketing is the use of content on your website as a marketing tool in itself. Blogging is an excellent example of content marketing, as it gives visitors information, whilst also providing material for social media and increasing SEO opportunities. Using content in conjunction with paid online advertising, such as Google Ads, or Facebook promotions and sponsoring Twitter posts can be very effective.
This is the overall aim of any business website. Conversion occurs when a visitor to your website becomes a customer. They have been converted from being someone who is browsing, or looking for information, to someone who has actually spent money – or is likely to spend money with you.
Cascading Style Sheet. This is used to structure the layout of web pages. It includes everything such as sections, columns, page size, fonts, font size, colours, headers, footers, sidebars, etc. CSS allows websites to look different and distinct.
Domain Name System or Domain Name Server.
This is where your URL (as it appears in the address bar) is turned into an IP address, which translates it into the numbers used by the servers.
The name you’ve given your website, such as www.mxmg.com. The bit people type in to get to you; basically, this is your online address. You may register a number of domain names, utilising the ‘.com’, ‘.co.uk’, ‘.org’ variations to prevent copycats. Only one will be your actual URL, but you can set up redirects from the others, in case anyone makes a mistake when trying to find your site.
Duplicate content is to be avoided wherever possible. It’s when content that is identical or almost the same appears on more than one website. The key is to make sure you don’t have any duplicate pages on your site – including your own content, or generic content such as manufacturers’ product descriptions, etc. Google and other search engines don’t like duplicate content and you may find your website being penalised, which will affect your ranking.
See Online Engagement
A name that is attributed to each file you upload to your website. It’s advisable to change the names of image files, from the number your camera automatically allocates to it and use a name that describes the image, for example, desk-coffee-macbook.jpeg. This will enable search engines to include your images in their results.
What the visitor sees when they click on your URL. This is the visual, online, published part of your website.
GIF Graphics Interchange Format
An image file commonly-used online. Like PNG, GIF can compress a file without losing quality, however, it is limited, as it only supports a maximum of 256 colours.
Google’s complete platform for website analytics and advertising. There are several different functions and uses that help you to get the most from your website. For more information, see our post here: http://mxmg.com/google-adwords-has-left-the-building-what-this-means-for-your-business/
See Google Ads.
Google Search Console
Google’s free toolkit for making the most of your website in search results. You can monitor your website’s performance and manage how it is seen in results.
H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6 H tags are headings on a webpage. When text is assigned to an H Tag, you are letting the search engines know that it contains important information. H1 is the main page heading, with sub-headings labelled from H2 to H6, depending on their priority.
These are the numbers that appear next to the hash sign #, when designating a colour. They ensure the same colour is displayed, no matter which screen settings are in use!
Your website’s host is in effect your online landlord. You’re renting space in much the same way that a shop owner rents a storefront on the High Street, so that people can visit your site and do business with you. Every website is hosted and there are a lot of options to choose from. Do your research and see which will best suit your needs.
HyperText Markup Language. HTML code is used to format and display data – it’s the most used code for building basic websites. HTML uses a relatively simple format which allows you to assign labels to designate them as titles </title>, to format text style <font=”Arial”> to make it appear in bold </b>, or italics </i>. You can indicate line breaks </br> and paragraphs </p>. Many platforms allow you to add text, format it and they will automatically translate it into the HTML code for you.
A list of websites, pages and content kept by search engines to enable them to retrieve search results quickly. Search Engines use web crawlers to identify new content and add it to the index.
An image file that is used to compress the file size by deleting very fine detail. Not usually with any discernible difference in visual quality. JPEG supports 24-bit colour, meaning it can display more than 16 million colours.
Cramming keywords into text, image tags, Meta data, etc. Nowadays this tactic is more likely to get you penalised by search engines, as it’s considered to be spam.
Keywords are words and groups of words (see also long-tail keywords) that influence a website’s ranking in search engines. For example, some the most important keywords for a florist would likely be ‘florist’, ‘flowers’, ‘flower delivery’, and the geographical location they serve. It’s important to properly research which keywords will help you to feature more highly in results and to make sure these words and phrases are used across your site – in both visual content and within the metadata. Getting onto page 1 is the aim, so see which websites appear when you search for things you would like to be found for and make sure you’re targeting correctly.
Also known as a Lead Generation Funnel, Sales Funnel, or Conversion Funnel. This is a process built into your website directing visitors that are likely to become customers. At the widest point of the funnel, you have all visitors then as they progress through the funnel, it narrows, filtering people out until you have your most valuable sales leads remaining.
A process used to encourage potential customers to give you their data. This can be via a contact form, newsletter sign up or in return for a free information download, etc.
How quickly your webpage loads. This is especially important for mobile devices, where more than 50% of browsing now takes place. Google offers a free check, where you can test the mobile load speed of your page: https://testmysite.withgoogle.com. Longer load speeds will mean losing visitors, so it’s important to address anything that causes your page to load slowly.
A phrase or multiple words that act as keywords, for example: ‘flower delivery’ is a highly competitive keyword search, but ‘flower delivery in Cheltenham’ is more specific and less competitive, meaning it’s easier to rank higher for that search.
Metadata is information that tells search engines what they need to know about your website so it can feature in results. Metadata can include descriptions of your business, services, target customers, geographical information and more. It’s very important to ensure your metadata is optimised for best results. See our post on how to create meta data here: http://mxmg.com/how-to-write-the-perfect-meta-title-and-description/
It’s important to create an individual meta description for every page on your website – this is also called a snippet. Google will display the snippet in search results to tell potential visitors what the page is all about. It’s very important to create a good meta description as this is what will make someone decide whether to click onto your page… or not.
Online Engagement is the process of encouraging an interaction with your website visitors – or social media followers. This could be as simple as them responding to a post, making a comment, sharing content, or getting them to complete a quiz or fun activity on a webpage. It could also lead to them giving you their contact details via an online form, so you can send them information or add them to your company mailing list.
Results Results from search engines that are achieved purely through SEO, good use of keywords and the relevance of your website to the terms being searched. Results achieved through paid advertising are NOT organic.
A universal colour system used to match colours used in print documents to those on screen.
A file format often used for downloadable content. PDFs enable documents and presentations to be reproduced in uniform style across platforms and applications. PDF Viewer software may be necessary on some devices.
Pixels are the smallest building blocks of an image. All images on screen are made up of pixels – the more pixels, the greater the detail and larger the file-size. The balancing act between pixels and file-size will torment you.
A plugin is a pre-written piece of code that you add to your website to perform a specific function. For example, if you want to create a data capture form, you can usually find a plugin that will do the job and install it yourself.
Portable Network Graphics. An image file that uses different compression methods to JPEG, meaning less loss of quality. PNG images support 24-bit colour, meaning it can display more than 16 million colours – making it preferential to the GIF format, which only supports 256 colours. PNG also allows for editing, such as removing background.
(Pay-Per-Click) Online advertising that charges you when someone clicks on your advert. It can be cost-effective, as you only pay when someone is interested enough to click-through to your site.
A redirect that you have put in place to take your visitors from one of your webpages to another. This could be because you have changed your business or domain name, amended a specific URL, deleted a page and want to avoid a 404 error. The redirect could be permanent – 301, or temporary – 302.
Designing your website so that it automatically adapts to optimum display, depending on the device being used to view it. This means it will change size and format to account for all screen sizes. If your website does not have a responsive design to make it mobile-friendly, it will be penalised in search results.
Search Engine Optimisation. This is how you make your website more likely to be seen by search engines and presented in search results, without having to pay for advertising – also see organic search results. The higher your website features in the listings, the better your ranking for the keywords being searched.
Put simply, your web server is a big computer that exists purely to host and run websites. When a user types a URL into the address bar, or clicks on a link, the server processes that as a request for data and delivers the target web page, which is then displayed on the user’s screen.
A list of all the pages on your website, including files, images, videos, etc. and the relationships between them. This enables search engines to easily crawl your site and catalogue information. It can be useful to create a sitemap if your website is large, with many pages, has a big archive, or is new and hasn’t yet built up external backlinks that lead to it.
Structured Query Language. Used for accessing information contained in a database and executing commands to change, delete or add to it.
Platforms such as WordPress have ready-built templates that enable a new website to be built quickly and easily, without the need for in-depth technical knowledge. Commonly used templates are free, or there are more detailed templates available if you pay a fee.
UX UX = User eXperience
This is how easy and enjoyable it is for visitors to navigate your website. It’s based on everything from how appealing the visual layout, colour scheme, fonts and images are, to how easy it is to find what they’re looking for and complete the reason for their visit, whether to find info or make a purchase. It’s vital to ensure your website visitors have the best user-experience possible, or it can adversely affect your business.
Someone who designs the look and feel of a website, interactive content, etc. Often works in conjunction with a web developer.
Someone who writes code for a variety of uses. Developers can specialise in front-end or back-end development and often work in conjunction with a web designer to create a finished product.
WordPress is the most-used CMS; mainly because of its easy-to-use system. There are two versions, WordPress.org, which is a free, open-source platform you can use to create your website – you can use any themes and enjoy complete freedom over your content and website functionality. It does not include any hosting, so you will need to source that elsewhere. WordPress.com also allows you to create a website, but has hosting included. There are free and paid options, but the free option is very limited and not usually suitable for business use.
eXtensible Markup Language. A programming code, similar to HTML, XML transports data and requires additional software to display it.
A compressed version of a file, enabling it to be shared more easily. Zip files take up less memory and can be uploaded and downloaded more quickly.
If someone tries to access an incorrect URL, or a page that has been deleted, they will reach a 404 error page. For this reason, if you remove any pages on your website, make sure you always create a redirect to avoid the 404.