It is easy to get baffled by jargon when talking about web development. When you work in tech every day it's easy to forget that not everyone knows what all the endless acronyms and tech terms mean.
At SimpleClick, we try to leave the techno-babble behind and communicate clearly and directly with everyone we work with. However, if you want to brush up on your web development terms we thought we'd give you a helping hand with some of the terms everyone should know.
A redirect is a way to switch visitors on your site from one page to another or even one website to another. A 301 is a permanent redirect, so it’s used if you want to change the URL or remove a page and replace it. A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect, for short-term situations like holding pages or a redesign.
A 404 page is an error page for when a URL doesn't exist on your website and is a “dead” or “broken” link. It should help a user get back to normal use of the website.
Historically referring to the top half of the front page of a newspaper which is visible when it’s folded. In the context of the web, this is the top section of the web page that is visible without scrolling down.
This is an HTML attribute on images that provide a text alternative for search engines or screen readers to use. They should be descriptive of what is in the image and also outline any text that may be visible.
The measurement, collection and analysis of data on your website, used as a tool for research and development to improve the website’s effectiveness.
Anchor text is the clickable text in a link, used by search engines and users to determine context about where the link may be going.
Backlinks are links from other websites back to your own website, linking the two. They are good from a user perspective to provide a way to find linked content, but also Search Engines can use this to bolster the quality and reliability of your website’s content, or backlinks from unreliable sources could hinder your website.
An internet bot is an automated program that interacts with websites to achieve specific goals. The most common and basic type on the web is a “scraper” that automatically collects information or data, a more complex version may try to do something such as spam comments on a forum.
This is the percentage of visitors to a site that then navigate away from the website after viewing a single page, rather than staying on the website. It can be an indicator of an off-putting design or a user's inability to find the information they want.
A marketing term for any design element that prompts a response from the user to encourage action from them. Typically this could be something like a button with text such as “Buy Now”, “Find Out More” or “Call Today”.
A URL that tells search engines which link should be provided in a search result for the page content. Used for grouping sets of duplicate pages or content so that multiple pages on your site are not competing against each other for search engine rankings.
A ratio or percentage of how often users who view specific content (typically adverts or banners) end up clicking on the content. CTR% = clicks ÷ impressions.
A piece of software that helps manage the creation and updating of digital content, like our bespoke CMS Doddle. This is most typically used for business management or website management.
A ratio or percentage of users that take a specific action. A typical conversion would be users of a website that end up buying something. Conversion Rate % = purchasers ÷ total visitors.
A small text file created by a website to temporarily store data about the user to make a user's experience more efficient. These typically fall into different categories; necessary, preferences, statistics and marketing.
An automated program (a type of bot) that searches for information across the web. Widely used by search engines to index all the pages on a website to use in determining search results.
The style sheet for the HTML of a website, it describes how the different elements of the web pages should be displayed on screen, print or any other media.
The internet’s system for converting website names into their IP addresses, for example simpleclick.co.uk into 220.127.116.11. Without DNS, users would need to type the full IP address to find your website.
A unique name where users can find your website e.g. simpleclick.co.uk this needs to be registered with one of the many registrars in order to be found on the internet.
Content on the internet that appears in more than one place. This can affect search engine rankings as it can be difficult for the search engines to determine which content is most relevant to the user's search query.
Or electronic-commerce is the selling of products online, typically in the form of an online shopping website for goods, but can also refer to data or other services.
These are excerpts from a webpage that feature at the top of Google’s search results to answer user's queries quicker. These are constantly evolving but some common ones are definitions, instructions, and tables of data.
The bottom section of a website that is typically unchanged from webpage to webpage.
A series of actions taken by a user across your website which you expect your users to follow to achieve the goal of your website. Sometimes referred to as a user journey, a funnel consists of a goal page and funnel pages. A common example is a Sales funnel, where the goal page is a purchase page, and the funnel pages are the home, search and product pages that would lead to a sale.
A service provided by Google that captures statistics from your website using embedded JS code within the website’s pages. Can be used to monitor visitors to the website as well as actions like clicks on specific buttons.
A service provided by Google that manages code fragments, or tags, allowing users to create, edit and deploy them to their websites easily.
The top section of a website, which is typically unchanged from webpage to webpage and normally contains the site’s logo and a navigation menu.
A type of HTML markup that ranks text headings in order of importance from 1 to 6. Header tags are used by search engines and increase the readability of the webpage. The h1 is always the main title of the page and there should only ever be one on a page.
A webpage heatmap is a visualisation of the behaviour of a website’s visitors. Information is typically displayed using different colours ranging from red to blue, red being “hotspots” of high amounts of interaction and blue being less. Usual examples of heatmaps can be seen in eye-tracking studies, where data is collected from where users are looking on a webpage, or in click maps, where data is collected from frequency of user clicks on a page.
Or hexadecimal code is a 6 digit code including numbers and letters with a ‘#’ in front to accurately describe a specific colour to a website or computer program. It is a base 16 system so the codes range from #000000 (black) to #ffffff (white).
Sometimes wrongly considered a programming language, it is in fact just a format or markup language that defines the layout of the content of a webpage on the screen.
HyperText Transfer Protocol is the protocol used to connect different web servers on the internet. It is used to transfer data about your webpage to the user’s browser. Https is the secure or encrypted version of the protocol, increasing the security.
An HTML element that allows different HTML to be inserted into the page. It is constructed as a window frame that can be scrolled within itself, sometimes used for videos or forms from external sites.
An impression is a single view by a user of specific content. Most commonly used to refer to visitors on a “landing page” or viewers of an advertisement. This is typically used to measure the CTR.
The process carried out by a search engine to catalogue data on the web and group pages based on key content. A common example is using keywords and excluding common words such as “the”, “and”, “this" etc. It allows search engines to retrieve their search results much quicker.
The internet protocol address is the address of any device connected to the internet. Every computer, mobile, printer, scanner, router, tablet, smartTV is connected and has an IP address to tell data where to go.
A widely used programming language that can be used within web pages to increase interactivity and functionality. Commonly used for things like interactive dropdown menus, and scroll to top buttons, but also can be used for analytic capturing purposes.
Specific word or group of words used to perform a text search. These can be utilised by website content creators to get their content ranked higher in search results for specific terms.
A webpage that has been shown to the user after clicking a link or advert. The most common landing page is a website’s homepage, but another example may be a clicking on a product advert and being taken to that product’s webpage; that product page is then their landing page.
Typically referenced in terms of analytics, a medium is how a visitor to your website got there i.e. organic traffic, paid traffic, referral, email etc.
The unseen data on a webpage that gives important information to search engines i.e. page title, a short description, the official link the page should be found at and even whether the search engine is allowed to visit that page.
Creating the most basic functioning version of your product, website or app and then continually reiterating the product based on users’ reactions and feedback. This is an approach to building a product quickly and on a smaller budget initially.
Website links can be classed as “nofollow” which tells search engines to ignore that link and not continue through that link to map the website’s structure. When used in conjunction with backlinks this can have positive or negative results on search result rankings.
Users that arrive at your website without the aid of a paid for advertisement or being referred from another website. If a user did a search on a search engine and clicked your website in the non-sponsored listings as a result, that would be classed as organic traffic.
A method of marketing where an advertiser pays a fee each time their advert is clicked. Search engine advertising is the most popular form of PPC and allows advertisers to bid for a slot in the sponsored links section of a results page.
A module of software that can be installed into an existing application to increase or enhance functionality, these can be free or paid for. Other terms that are commonly used are “add-on” and “extension”.
A method of turning a responsive website into a hybrid mobile phone application. They have the look and feel of an app including some app functionality, like use of the camera and GPS but without having to code and maintain something separate from your website.
A word or set of instructions that are used to perform a search of some description. This can be as simple as typing a single word like “jumper” or as complex as multiple checkboxes when shopping for “type”, “size”, “colour” and “price range” simultaneously.
Users that arrive at your website by being referred or linked from another website instead of from a search engine or an advertisement.
Creating a website that displays nicely on a variety of devices and screen sizes, i.e. mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers. True responsive websites make their content flexible to adjust to any size, but more basic approaches just implement multiple stylesheets and potentially show different content at each level of device.
A way of marking data for search engines to use more effectively. Schema.org lists many different types of data and how to list details of it. A good example is a Recipe, where the website can define data such as cooking times, method steps, ingredients lists, yield and diets which search engines have developed a featured snippet to show off the recipe as a card in the search results.
The practice of a website owner increasing the quantity and quality of its content and traffic to the website through organic search engine results.
The page the user sees after performing a query on a search engine e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo. Designs can be very different and can vary from plain text and links to full feature snippets for quick searching.
The period of time a user is active on your website or app. In the context of cookies, it is a temporary storage that is then deleted when the user closes their browser.
A list of pages within your website. They can be human visible and structured hierarchically or they can be a structured list for use by search engines to help find and rank website content.
A URL slug is the part of the URL that is unique and identifies the webpage that is typically readable by the user. It’s the part of the URL that comes after the domain name e.g. ‘/blog’ in simpleclick.co.uk/blog
Typically referenced in terms of analytics, a source is where a visitor to your website came from i.e. Google, Facebook, Instagram, Bing etc.
A digital certificate that authenticates a website’s identity used with a security protocol on the internet to create an encrypted connection.
The number of users that visit the website.
The website’s address that you type in to get to the specific webpage in your browser.
A term used to describe how a user feels when using a website on various devices, normally focused on how easy it is for the user to perform the tasks they want to do easily and without stress. UX tends to be very subjective.
The way a user interacts with a website, looking at how easy it is for a user to navigate and perform the tasks needed to use the website. This can include tasks such as using the screen menus or how easy it is to search for a product or add to basket etc.
An Application Programming Interface for a web application. This consists of a series of endpoints that are publicly accessible for multiple programs and applications to interface with.
Making a website available on the internet by storing all the files for your website on a web server - a computer that has the software to connect your website to the internet.
A general structure or layout of your webpages, it is a rough design and generally contains placeholders instead of images and rarely uses colour.
A way of displaying text and graphics the same as you see them in print. Typically they look like a text box with formatting options such as font-size, bold, italics, underline, colour etc.
The most widely used structured data format, designed to store and move data between programs and people. XML is very similar to HTML but is more descriptive about the data it is carrying.