Here is a list of commonly used words we will be using as we work together. This is only a partial list of Internet terminology. Another great source for computer and Internet definitions is Webopedia.
This has to do with how accessible your site is to all people, regardless of ability or disability. For example, blind web surfers have a browser that reads web pages to them. Websites must be coded a specific way to ensure that any image (especially text that is actually an image) can be read to them. If you plan to do business with the government, your website may be subject to Section 508. Even if you have no plans to do business as a government contractor, these guidelines are a good start for basic accessibility to your website. A knowledgeable web developer should understand what it takes to make your website accessible.
This refers to how much data is moved from one computer to another. You may notice ISPs offer packages involving different types of bandwidth. Web hosts allow sites to have only so much bandwidth on a shared web hosting package.
This stands for Business to Business. This refers to businesses that sell goods and services to other businesses.
This stands for Business to Consumer. This refers to businesses that sell goods and services to consumers and individuals, not to other businesses.
A blog is a website or a component of a website. When you write in a blog, typically it displays the most recent thing you have posted at the top of the blog. A blog can include text, images, and video. WordPress is one of several blogging platforms (software that runs a blog) and is the most popular. LiveJournal is also a blog, and from a certain standpoint Facebook could be seen/used as one too. There are also vlogs, which are video blogs.
This is software used to look at a website. It may be on your computer or on your phone. Some of you may think of it as the “big blue E,” or as AOL. Browsers come in a lot of flavors, and there are more out there than most people have heard of.
Be aware that your website probably won’t look or act the same in all browsers, especially as you add more functionality to your website (such as slideshows, dropdowns, forms, and so on). This is because all browsers interpret the same code differently. Or, we may have to add extra code to make it behave the same way across multiple browsers. In fact, it won’t look or act the same on the same browser on different devices.
For example, something may look or act different between Internet Explorer on Windows vs. Internet Explorer on a Mac. The website may be different on various versions of Safari, depending on whether it is used on Windows, a Mac, an iPad, or an iPhone.
A knowledgeable web developer knows how to plan for this and will test in what I think of as The Big Five: Internet Explorer, FireFox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. Developers will also test on smart phones and tablets, and on browsers that are designed for people with special needs (such as screen readers that read websites to blind visitors).
Not just another word for “customer.” In the Internet and software industries, this can mean “software” or “a program.”
Content Management System. This is software used to run your website. It may be a blog or a wiki. There are hundreds of CMSs out there. This is best for larger sites that will have a lot of information, or can be good for sites with only a few pages that you want the ability to edit yourself.
From the Creative Commons site: “Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.” Additionally, “Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of ‘all rights reserved’ to ‘some rights reserved.’ ” Learn more about Creative Commons at creativecommons.org.
Do not expect or demand your site to be identical across all browsers, especially with regard to font size and choice, color, or “making this image line up just so.” This is often a futile effort, or at the very least, a waste of time and money. Instead, work toward having a site that looks and works well across all browsers, if not identical across all of them. This is what we call a cross-platform website and is one of our goals in good web design and development.
Short for web developer. A dev is a person who specializes in writing website code. Many web designers are also devs.
Your own dotcom, or any dotcom, is only an address. It is not your website. It is not your email. It’s just your address. Think of it like the address on your house. When other people want to find you or send you postal mail, your home address identifies you from your neighbors next door.
The act of selling products online. If you sell products people can order directly from your site, that is an e-commerce website.
Software you use to get email, such as Outlook or Thunderbird.
Stands for File Transfer Protocol. This is generally software you (or your web developer) use to move files from your computer to your web server, and vice versa. There are both free and paid FTP programs out there. Some even come as browser plugins.
The Net is a collection of computers that talk to each other via telephone, satellite, cable, and fiber optic. Websites are on the Internet; your email travels through it. When you turn your computer on, it isn’t just connected to the Internet, it becomes a part of it. And remember: Internet is always spelled with a capital “i.”
ISP (Internet Service Provider)
This is the company you signed up with to get Internet access. It may be your phone company. It may be a cable or satellite company. But if you are at home and reading this online, you have an ISP.
Two meanings: Intellectual Property OR Internet Protocol.
Intellectual Property: Original creations that can be bought and sold. This can include non-physical things such as music, art, written words, or schematics.
Internet Protocol: This is a unique number assigned to websites and computers online. It can look something like this: 18.104.22.168. Some computers and websites can share an IP address.
An image that is an example of what a website may look like. Images are used by web designers to determine what a customer does and does not want, and are made before coding happens. These are static images (non-interactive) and will sometimes include sample images and dummy text. Basically, it is a rough draft. A mockup will be used to create a final mockup that is approved by the customer, before coding begins.
This phrase means “free.” However, it does come with restrictions. Additionally, “open source” does not mean “junk.” There is a lot of open source software that is excellent and widely used, even among very large corporations. Platforms such as WordPress and Drupal are but a few open source products that are reliable and widely adopted. Learn more about open source at opensource.org.
An e-commerce service provider that authorizes credit card payments. This is a third party business that a website owner pays to process credit card orders for the website. PayPal, Stripe and Authorize.net are among the more well-known providers among the many payment gateways available.
In web design, we’re talking about monitor (or smart phone) resolution. This refers to the number of pixels on the screen. Resolution can be adjusted on computer monitors to be lower or higher, depending on a person’s needs. For example, some may use a resolution of 800 x 600 while others prefer 1024 x 1280, or even 2560 x 1440.
To understand how this works, imagine looking at a large painting on a wall. If you stand right in front of it, you can only see part of the painting. This is what some websites look like on lower resolution monitors if a website hasn’t been designed to adapt for lower resolution monitors. Now imagine stepping back so you can see the whole painting. This is what a web page looks like on a higher resolution monitor. If you step back from the painting even further, you can see the painting and the wall around it. This would be the equivalent to a very high resolution monitor setting.
Why would someone change monitor settings? Some people use low resolution (can see the painting up close) because they can’t read text at a higher resolution (stepping back far away). These are important things to take into consideration when making a website.
A small piece of software designed to be added to a bigger program that adds extra functionality to the larger program. For a website, this is something that adds extra features and functionality to it. For example, a website may have a plugin designed to cut down on spam. Generally, open source website software has hundreds or even thousands of plugins available, with each plugin providing a different type of function. You may have many plugins for your website. For example, you may have a spam blocker, a SEO plugin, and a plugin to easily link social networks to your website.
A search engine is a website that allows you to find other websites. It’s not just Google or Yahoo or AOL. Those are the better-known search engines, but there are hundreds out there.
This is what is purchased to create a Secure Socket Layer (see SSL defined below). This is generally paid for annually.
Search Engine Optimization. SEO means (and used to only mean) the way we wrote code so a site would increase its search engine rankings. Now the meaning has evolved to include activities such as how we name site pages, and how we structure the website. Many people include getting links to your site as part of SEO, what key words are used, and how they are used on your site, just to name a few activities that most people think of as SEO. Also, a person who does SEO can use SEO as a job title.
Search Engine Marketing. To many people, SEO and SEM are the same thing. People are often asking for SEO when what they really mean is SEM. Some see SEO as falling under the umbrella of SEM. For most people, it means additional activities to increase traffic from search engines, such as setting up online advertising on search engines.
If you want a website, you must have a special computer to serve it up for the world to see. This type of computer is called a server. Trying to set this up yourself is not really an option. Having a friend or relative do it for you usually isn’t a good idea either. This is why you want to hire a web host.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer)
If you have a website with a login, you want this. If you are selling products online, you’ll need this or at least the site that is processing your payments online should have it. You can tell a site is secure if you look at the address bar, and instead of seeing http, you see https. The S stands for “secure.” You may also see an icon that looks like a padlock or a green bar. It all depends on your browser and the type of certificate that the site owner purchases.
Terms of Service. This is a contract created by a website owner or site owner’s attorney. The TOS can cover a wide range of subjects, including but not limited to:
- what a user is and is not allowed to do with a specific website
- fees a website may charge
- how a company and user will resolve legal conflicts if a legal conflict occurs copyright
These two terms are often confusing for people. Upload means the file moves from your computer to another computer. Download means pulling something down from someone else’s computer (think of pulling a book off of a shelf). When someone FTPs a file, they may either upload or download it.
Think of the times you’ve been to a website and were frustrated in your attempt to locate information. Remember the times you gave up and hit the “Back” button on your browser. Those websites may not have been very usable. The term usability has to do with how easy your website is to use. Ease of use can vary by target demographic. What one group of people finds easy to use may not be so easy for another group. Usability also has to do with site visitors’ ability to find what they want or accomplish a certain goal (whether their goal or the one you want them to have). However, there is a difference between usability and user experience.
There’s a lot of confusion about this term, so let’s start with what it is not. It’s not user interface design. It’s not usability. How do you feel on a website? Is the experience fun and playful? Or is it dry and boring? Do visitors feel as though they can trust you and that you are qualified to do what you say? User experience is about user perception and response to a website, while usability has more to do with how easy or difficult it is to accomplish goals on a site.
Video blog (see blog)
This definition, coined by Tim O’Reilly in 2004, can best be boiled down into “what we’re doing with the web now.” The definition has changed a great deal since 2004, and for many it now means anything from an interactive site to a certain design style. The definition has a broad range of meanings and generally can mean something different from one person to another. When it comes to website terminology, there’s really no such a thing as a Web 2.0 site, so asking for it only baffles the person you are asking to make a site for you.
A person who focuses on creating the look and feel (design) of a website. This has also come to mean (to most people) professionals who make websites. Web designers can often also write web code.
A person whose specialty is coding a website. This is an important distinction for a corporation to consider when hiring people to make its website, especially when its management wants to have an internal team. Larger organizations will want a person (or group) who creates the look of the site while working with another person (or group) who codes it. Smaller organizations may be fine with having one or two people who can handle both. Even smaller businesses looking to get a site made may hire hybrid web designers/developers, like me, who do both design and development.
A web host is a company that has a lot of computers dedicated to serving up websites. It is more cost-effective, and makes more sense time-wise, to hire a company to be your web host. They understand website security. Web hosts understand what to do if a security breach does occur (see Chapter 9 on Damage Control). They are also available full-time to do things like patch software, stay current on technologies and best practices, and keep your website up when traffic is high. Will you have time to do all of that?
According to the AP Style Book (Associated Press’ Style Book, aka The Journalist’s Bible), website is spelled as one word. Your website is basically your house or business location. It has a structure made by code. It is a collection of web pages and images (and these are all types of files). A website is not a domain. A website is not a web page, though it is a combination of these two things. Think of all the web pages as being rooms in the house.
Web coding standards are generally set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Knowledgeable developers take their cues from the W3C in terms of how to write their code. There are other standards that evolve over time that have become a generally-agreed-upon method of doing things from a design standpoint, a coding standpoint, usability, online shopping, and so on. This doesn’t mean there won’t be debate about the standards, but designers and developers who keep up with standards know what they are, what is generally debated, and what is widely agreed upon as best practice.
This is a sample website (that is a rough draft) used to get a feel for functionality on the site (what happens when you click something) and to get an idea of what the layout of the site will be. Some web designers do this instead of, or in addition to, creating a mockup. The wireframe is showed to the customer for approval before the site is actually coded.
Two other Useful Pieces of Information
How Email Works
When you send an email, it leaves your computer and goes to a computer at your ISP. From there the email may pass through half a dozen (and usually more) mail servers before it gets to the recipient. This is important to understand if you have problems getting mail, or someone has a hard time getting yours. Pinning down the exact cause of an email problem is sometimes quick, and sometimes not. Bear in mind that the Internet Superhighway has its share of dead ends and potholes, just like any other road. By and large we manage to avoid them, but sometimes they happen.
The Difference Between www and @
The @ sign means you are looking at an email address. The www means you are looking at a web page address.
Things You MUST HAVE to Have a Website
The Difference Between www and @
The @ sign means you are looking at an email address. The www means you are looking at a web page address.