glossary of terms
As an entrepreneur, it can be overwhelming to get up to speed on all the different areas of design, marketing, websites, etc. Especially when every industry has its own acronyms. We’ve put together this list of definitions to help you find quick answers to what those letters and lingo really mean. We’re constantly adding to this, so if you have a suggestion, email it to us.
terms used for websites
Above the fold is an old newspaper term that refers to the content users can see at the top of a page before scrolling. This is the most important real estate on your website.
Accessibility in web design refers to best practices to ensure users with disabilities are able to easily use your website. See also the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). See this article for more information and web design standards.
This is a collection of designers, developers and other professionals that work as a team (marketing agency, digital agency, etc.)
An alt tag is a text description of an image on a website, possibly seen while loading, important for SEO and accessibility.
A link that points back to your site from another website, helping to establish credibility with Google. Backlinks are worth more from high-authority websites.
Blog generally refers to an entire website dedicated to writing individual blog posts, or the single page on a website that houses those posts. Blogging started out as something of an online public diary (it’s a shortened version of the word ‘weblog’) but covers any number of topics now. Businesses blog as a way of promoting products or sharing useful information, and frequent posting is an important component of SEO strategy. The individual article is a called a post, or blog post.
The words ‘blog’ and ‘blog post’ are often used interchangeably.
A browser is the the software program/application used to visit websites. Google Chrome, Apple’s Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Microsoft’s Edge or Internet Explorer are all browsers.
Caching is a process that uses temporary storage of web pages to save load time. It helps your site load faster, but if you’ve recently updated a page and it looks the exact same, you might need to clear the cache, meaning remove the stored files so the page reloads from scratch. While incredibly helpful and important, caching is often responsible for breaking things on websites.
The specific action you request from users of your website (“Call for a Free Consultation”).
CDN stands for Content Delivery Network, geographically distributed network of servers that increase site speed (Cloudflare).
CMS stands for Content Management System. This is an easy to use backend system used to manage content on a website. WordPress is a CMS.
Content refers to the overall layout, visuals, copy - the actual information on contained inside your website's framework.
Unlike the mouthwatering smell of homemade sugar bombs fresh from the oven... cookies on the Internet refer to small text files that save information about you on the sites you visit. Due to GDPR and new privacy protections, you've probably experienced cookie warnings while browsing websites with a international presence.
Copy refers to the text content used on your website.
DNS (Domain Name System) is the system that controls how IP addresses are translated into readable text (192.1.424.142 = yourbusiness.com). When you register a domain name, the first step is to update the DNS records to point at your web host (or CDN).
Domain Authority (DA) is how likely a website is to rank on the first page of search results. If SpaceX links to your new rocket science blog, it’s going to do more for your website’s authority than a link from your friend’s personal blog.
To learn more, and see how to find a websites Domain Authority, see this article.
A domain name (or URL) is what users type into their browser to access websites (yourbusiness.com). It's the readable version of your address on the Internet that points to the IP address of your web hosts server via DNS. Domain names have to be renewed annually, and we register, transfer, and maintain domain names for our clients.
E-Commerce refers to buying and selling products or services online; a website with e-commerce capability. WooCommerce is the plugin used to add e-commerce capability to WordPress. While the base plugin is free, there are hundreds of add-ons to add special functionality.
In web design/marketing, the term evergreen refers to a topic that is always relevant, or content about that topic. A long form blog post/resource page that might be updated as your industry changes and continues to bring traffic long after it’s published would be considered evergreen content.
Here’s a great article about evergreen content by AHREFS, which also serves as an example of what evergreen content is. Because this is a valuable, continually relevant article, I’m linking to it. This backlink gives AHREFS’ page (and site) further authority, bringing in yet more traffic.
The favicon is the tiny image that appears next to the website name in your browser tab, or when saving a bookmark on smartphones. It's one of those small details we love to customize when building a website.
A freelancer is a self-employed designer or developer that works for individual clients. Someone who works a full time job could potentially also freelance in their off hours, and this is frequently the first step toward working in their own business full time.
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. A way to access a server to upload/download files when working on a website.
SFTP stands for Secure File Transfer Protocol.
Analytics is Google’s system/dashboard used to track the visitors to your website. After creating a free account at analytics.google.com, you’ll install the tracking code on your website. You’ll then be able to view information about your website visitors on the analytics dashboard. This is a standard install for every website.
Web hosting is server space where files are stored/retrieved for users who visit your site. Plans are paid either annually or monthly, and cyclone press hosts the sites we build (with maintenance included).
HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is the primary language used to write web pages (mostly content).
Hyperlinks (generally just called Links), are clickable text that takes you to another page of the same site, or a page on another site. They are often underlined, but they don't have to be.
An IP address (Internet Protocol) is a unique number assigned to each device or server connected to the Internet (126.96.36.199). This is what your domain name/URL points to via DNS.
A landing page is where a visitor first enters a site, or a specialized page for traffic from a Google ad or other campaign.
In website design, the menu refers to the pages listed in the top, side, or footer of a website for easy access (the navigation). On a mobile device, this is often displayed as a 'hamburger' icon. You can have multiple menus on a website.
Meta data is the hidden information in the code of a page that you might see as the snippet under a Google search result. The meta title is what displays on Google, and the meta description consists of the 160 characters underneath.
Google will auto-display a snippet of the first 160 characters that show up on the page, but if those words happen to include the menu titles, subtitle, and other information, it's not very attractive. For best results, you always want to manually write meta titles and descriptions.
Open source software refers to source code made available to the public (often free), usually worked on by teams of volunteers. WordPress is open source software that can be downloaded from WordPress.org and installed and run on your own website server (note that this is different from WordPress.com, which is the same platform, but packaged as a cloud solution instead with less customizability.
For blogs/WordPress, a permalink is a stylized link to access a page (youbusiness.com/about-us).
A plugin is a package of third party code that extends the functionality of a website, often used with a CMS like WordPress.
Plugins are one of the greatest things about WordPress. Want to share recipes on your blog? Choose a plugin to format them and add print options. Need to compress images so your site loads faster? No problem. Many of these plugins are free or offer freemium options, and on self-hosted WordPress, you can use them to extend the functionality of your website to do almost everything you could possibly need.
Read about our 5 Must-Have Plugins for Every WordPress Website.
A registrar is a company that sells, registers and renews domain names. This might be all they do, or they might be a web hosting company that offers domain name registration as an additional service.
The registrar you use, while still important, is less of a risk than your web host, because you can point a domain anywhere (usually). If you registered your domain at GoDaddy (although we recommend you never use GoDaddy), you can point it to an outside hosting option.
In website design, responsive refers to a website framework that adapts to the device it’s being viewed on; mobile-friendly for tablet or phone. With more traffic coming from mobile devices this days, this is a must for every website.
SEO refers to Search Engine Optimization; technical and copywriting practices used to get your site on the first page of Google.
SERP stands for Search Engine Results Pages, and is the page of results you see after typing a keyword into Google and hitting Search.
A server is a computer with software and networking that enables it to host web pages for access elsewhere on the web.
See also web host / web hosting.
A sitemap is a list of all pages/posts on your site. This is submitted to search engines for SEO via Google Search Console, and it's something we do for every website as part of our post-launch checklist.
A slider refers to the sequence of large header images often used on home pages that slide between different photos/content. While they've certainly had their time in the spotlight, they're actually not a good design from a performance standpoint, as they tend to slow down page load times.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) refers to a digital ‘certificate’ that encrypts traffic between browsers and servers (https:// and adds the padlock icon).
Read this article to learn why SSL is now a must-have for all websites.
The website theme is the framework used as the base of a website; it holds all design elements (the clothes hanger to a shirt).
UX standard for User Experience and refers to how a user interacts with all the different elements and flow of your website.
A vlog is a blog but in video format, often with a transcript.
A web designer is focused on the front-end and designs the website aesthetic; layout, colors, fonts, etc. (think creative).
A web developer is focused on the website back-end. They build a functional, working website, possibly from a prototype provided by a web designer (think programmer).
A web page is the individual page on a website (yourbusiness.com/contact - /contact is a single page).
Contrast this with a (blog) post. A blog page (/blog) might contain a list of multiple blog posts on that page. Clicking the post will open it in a new window, which is its own page. In WordPress posts and pages are different items in the backend of the website, and it's important to understand this distinction.
Back-end (or backend) is the term referring to the infrastructure a site is built on; code, programs, CMS, etc. (a developer’s natural habitat). A visitor to your website will never see this area.
See also: front-end
Front-end (or frontend) refers to all the components of a website the user can see; the design/layout of the site (a designer’s natural habitat). This is everything a visitor to your website would take in as they browse through the pages of your website.
See also: website back-end
A wireframe is a skeletal outline of a website that shows basic layout and content placement before building the site.
WordPress is open source website building software (CMS).
2 Types of WordPress:
- WordPress.com is a cloud hosting system that is similar to Squarespace. You sign up for a cloud account but options are limited and everything requires a cost/plan upgrade. You're still locked into their system like any other website builder platform.
- WordPress.org is where you download the software to install on your own server. This is known as self-hosted WordPress. This option is limitless: your choice of hosting, themes, plugins, custom functionality etc., and you can take it anywhere. This is what we build for our clients.
With self-hosted WordPress, you own everything. If you happened to sign up with a terrible website host, you can package up your website files and database and easily migrate to a different vendor.
If you're afraid self-hosted WordPress is too technically complex to set up, check out our DIY WordPress package. It's self-hosted WordPress that launches more easily than something like a limited Squarespace site, and it's preconfigured and ready to customize.
WYSIWYG stands for “What You See Is What You Get” and it refers to front-end style or drag and drop page builders/software. We offer BeaverBuilder as a website page builder that allows you to edit your website on the frontend.
terms used in business
A customer avatar, or Ideal Client Avatar (ICA), is a detailed description of your target customer, with a name, age, hobbies, where they live, their pain points, career goals, etc. It's a made-up person, but one that sounds real enough to help you target your marketing.
MRR stands for Monthly Recurring Revenue, which is the consistent monthly income you would make on something like a software subscription.
# of customers * average billed amount = MRR
If your app is $10/month, and you have 100 customers, your MRR would be $1000.
SaaS refers to the business of software development. Think of cloud-based software you pay for monthly, like your project management system. ClickUp, for example, is a SaaS business.
terms used in marketing
CPC is a term used in online advertising, generally Google AdWords. It stands for cost-per-click, which is the amount you pay every time someone clicks on your ad.
If you choose to run a campaign with Manual CPC Bidding, you’ll choose the Max CPC value. If you choose to run a campaign with Automated Bidding, Google will allocate your budget to different areas based on your overall campaign strategy.
- Max CPC = the most you’ll be charged for a click
- Actual CPC = the final amount you’re charged for a click
- Manual CPC bidding = you choose your maximum bid amounts
- Automatic bidding = you let Google set bids to try to get the most clicks within your budget
See also PPC (pay-per-click).
Keywords are the words and phrases users are most likely to type into a search engine to find your website. It's important to be thoughtful about what keywords to focus on, and keywords can be inspected to see how hard it is to rank for them.
Organic search results are those naturally found on the first page of Google because of good content/practices, not ads. The top 3 or so listings on Google are usually paid ads, so the organic search results are everything listed underneath. This is the holy grail of digital marketing, and it's hard to achieve and even harder to keep.
PPC, or pay-per-click, is generally used to refer to the type of online advertising campaign you are running. CPC, cost-per-click, is the cost for each ad in that particular campaign. Occasionally these terms are used interchangeably.
- PPC = the type of campaign
- CPC = the cost of ads in that campaign
See also CPC (cost-per-click).
A search engine is a site that aggregates all other websites (Google, Bing and Duck Duck Go are search engines).
User flow is the path users take while navigating through your website.