Website jargon, understanding basic website terms
Designing and building effective websites often means bringing in professionals. However, having a good grasp of some common website terms will make it easier to talk to web designers with confidence and clarity.
Especially as digital acronyms can seem like some sort of secret language for ‘techies’!
You may find yourself in a meeting to discuss digital marketing strategies and website updates, and it will pay to know your front end (website design) from your back end (website functionality and build).
We have highlighted the top ten most commonly used website terms to help you cut through the digital jargon and give you a better understanding of basic website terms.
HTML is an abbreviation of Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is the standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser.
It’s a type of digital language that allows users to organise, improve the appearance of, and link text with data on the internet.
HTML code acts as the packaging around content which dictates how that content is displayed on a website. For example, different HTML codes can alter different elements of a web page, like font size, spacing, density of colour and links.
It’s also a key feature in SEO, to make sure you have enough headers to make pages more ‘searchable’.
This website term digs down even further on how pages are designed and built. Script refers to the coding used on an HTML page, to dictate how the Content appears and performs.
This is another word that’s a must, in any guide to website terminology. Good navigation is the difference between a website that looks great and one that looks great and also works brilliantly.
As the word suggests, it’s the features and functionality of a website that guide users around swiftly and seamlessly.
Poor navigation is one of the leading causes of high bounce rates (see below).
Your bounce rate tells you how many visitors look at a page, then leave your site from that point. A high figure suggests that a page is performing badly and needs some rapid improvements to User Experience (UX) and brand statements.
A low bounce rate would suggest that users have found a web page to be helpful and have stayed on that page.
A Favicon is a small square image used in web browsers to show a graphical representation of the site being visited at the left side of the browser’s address bar. Each symbol (usually 16×16) will sit along side a web address in some browsers, in your tabs, and in your browser extensions. They are also known as short-cut icons or bookmark icons.
This is a fascinating website term, as it links back to the days when most of what we learned about the world came from newspapers!
The news on the bottom half of a page was ‘below the fold’ and classed as not so important. The newspaper reader’s attention generally peaked above the fold, so that’s where the juicy stuff was placed.
When designing or updating websites, a similar principle applies. The top half of a page will be the most impactful, so keep the strong brand positioning content ‘high and unmissable’!
This is another common website term with a long history. Just as breadcrumbs were used in fairy stories to leave a trail for someone to follow, breadcrumbs on websites aid navigation.
A series of links or references can show visitors where they’ve come from and where they can now go. For example, on the page about beans it could read:
Top supplier>bulk food orders>tinned goods>beans.
One click, and they can go back to see more information.
Fluid design helps optimise websites for different devices and browsers. However, even a responsive website could contain some ‘permanent links’.
Permalinks ‘bookmark’ a specific piece of content, so website visitors can return to it at any point. A good example would be an interesting blog.
A permalink helps a user locate that content even when it’s archived or simply moved down the page.
Website design toolboxes are getting bigger, especially thanks to creative developers who originate new ‘plug-ins’. These are separate features or functions – usually from third parties – you can add to your chosen website platform.
Don’t get carried away! Too many can slow the site’s load speed and navigation (see above).
A well-functioning website saves some visitor information in a ‘cache’ – like a virtual storeroom. The next time the user logs on, the information reappears to make pages quick to load and personalised. Think ‘buy again’ or ‘also available’ suggestions on websites, that are specific to you.
There are many other website terms you need to know. Some are more commonly understood. Such as ‘Content’, which is text and imagery used to inform, influence and guide site users.
Accessibility is also a pretty straightforward term that refers to making your website empathetic to people with disabilities such as visual, or hearing impairments.
If there are any other terms you are unsure about, give us a call, we are always happy to help out.