Welcome to SkyPoint Studios Website Design Glossary! Here is a collection of commonly used terms in web design and an explanation of what they mean.
This is not a complete coverage of every single term in web design, but meant to be an ever growing library of the verbiage used in website design. Terms are added regularly to the website design glossary, so check back often!
A Record – The main DNS record on a domain that points to which server a website is hosted on. When a website is transferred from one server to another, there are two ways to make the change, either through pointing the A record or changing the Nameservers. Changing the Nameservers will set all the records to the new host, whereas changing the A record will keep the current records but just move the website to the new server which is good for not disrupting current email services.
Anchor Text – The text inside a link is called anchor text. It is the part that will send the visitor to a page when they click on the link. Anchor text is an important part of SEO as the keywords in the anchor text are very important to ranking factors.
API – API stands for Application Programming Interface. They are used to port data from one application into another. Have a software program that needs to pull data from a different program to show up to the minute data? You will need an API! Some companies provide APIs free and some have a monthly/annual service fee for access to the API data feed.
ASCII Characters – A set of 128 characters that can make characters online and in HTML using 0-9 and A-Z in a various amount of combinations. It’s a great way to make cool icons, like a phone icon which is & # 128222; ? (note that the & and # need to be put together with the number string followed by the semi-colon to work).
Backlinks – The lifeblood of SEO are backlinks. Basically a backlink is an endorsement of a website’s value from another website. The anchor text of the backlink is really important for the ranking of the keywords a website wants to come up for in Google search. The more backlinks a website has the better it does in search. You can check the amount of backlinks a website has at Moz’s authority checker tool.
Bloatware – Regarding the software that is sold pre-installed on computers and smartphones, bloatware is usually unnecessary and should be removed upon purchase. The manufacturers sell space on the devices to companies who know that some customers will use the pre-installed software thinking it is recommended or best, however, often this is not the case. For example, Norton Antivirus is often installed on PCs but is one of the worst antivirus products on the market. When purchasing a new PC, make sure to uninstall Norton and any other bloatware software products that are not crucial to the PC (a good antivirus product is Avast).
Calls To Action – How do you want a website visitor to take action on your website? That is what the calls to action are to guide the visitor through the site. Buttons, links, pop-ups and more can all be considered calls to action to get the visitor to do what the business would like them to do. Purchase is common as is call the company, but other actions are download our PDF whitepaper, sign up for our newsletter, follow us on social media, complete our intake form, etc.
Cloud – Cloud storage or cloud software refers to a way of storing files on the web that can be accessible from anywhere with just a username and a password. In the early days of the web, each website had to be stored on a local server in one specific location. That meant if the power went out or there was a natural disaster, that website server could be down and not available. Nowadays, most services on the web are cloud based, meaning they are distributed across servers all around the World. This makes them much more resilient to threats and faster to pull up and navigate for users.
Content – One of the most important parts of a website are it’s contents. Content is anything from written text to images to videos and more. The more content a website has that is related to the industry, the better it will do in Google search. Updating content should be done regularly, every month or week or even daily for the very best SEO results. If content is outdated and stale, Google will penalize the website in rankings.
cPanel – One of the most popular web hosting control panel software developed by cPanel, LLC. It’s a great software and we use it here at SkyPoint Studios on our servers. The users and settings for cPanel are managed through a top-level admin area called WHM which stands for WebHost Manager.
CRM – Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a way of keeping track of customers, their purchasing history, contact information and interaction with staff. The system must be updated by staff such as the sales deptartment or customer service department upon interacting with the customers. CRMs are powerful becuase they give a company insight into which customers are the most profitable to the company and which products have the highest overall profitablity for the company. Popular CRMs are SalesForce, Pipedrive, Insightly, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Freshsales & Zoho CRM to name a few.
CSS – The programming language of style, CSS or Cascading Style Sheets, is the way to create design in websites. The way CSS works is it has selectors that reference a style sheet and wrap parts of content and apply a style rule to them. The cascading part of CSS refers to how the closest element to the block of content takes over the style rule. Without CSS, the web would be quite ugly.
CSV – The base format of databases, CSV which stands for Comma Separated Values, is a way to delineating information into a universal format that all databases can recognize and use. CRM systems and other databases such as what WordPress uses, can export the data by way of a CSV file which will allow it to then be updated into a different CRM or a different WordPress installation and all the data will be there still.
Dashboard – In software, a dashboard refers to the admin area where the software is managed and updated. Right now on this website I am adding this content through the WordPress dashboard. All software has a dashboard, as well as all CMS (Content Management Service) products. Custom software will need a custom dashboard built so that the client and admins can manage users, content, and more.
Developer Tools – Both Google and Bing offer developer tools to manage websites and how well they rank in the search engines. Using these free tools, a webmaster can check on the indexing status of the website to see how well it shows up in search. Also, there are reports on any issues such as broken links, malware infections and more. You can visit Google Developer Tools here and Bing Developer Tools here.
Drive – Google Drive is a cloud based service that allows storage of files on a servers that are accessible anywhere in the World just be logging in to a Gmail account. When files are too big to be sent through email, they can be added to Drive and sent that way. Permissions for sharing will need to be turned on for the receiving end or the file needs to be set to public for the receiver to be able to download and access the files.
Domain Extension – The extension of a domain is the last part after the name, for example .com or .net are considered domain extensions. There are many, many domain extensions these days, some are for locations like .vegas or .ca for California. Some are for specific case uses like .club which is for Clubhouse or fun ones like .ninja. The most popular and valuable domain extension is .com, which offers the highest level of SEO and brand optimization.
Elementor – One of the most popular website builders for WordPress, Elementor allows web pages to be easily built and managed. The software comes with a lot of functionality in the free version but has a lot more customization options in the paid version. Check out the plugin’s website for Elementor ->
Favicon – A combination of Favorite and Icon, the Favicon is the icon on the top of a website that shows you which site is which when there are lots of tabs open. It is important for branding purposes to have a logo or other brand related icon at top of the website for the favicon. These icons should be very small at 40X40 pixels.
Fintech – The combination of two words financial & technology, fintech is an industry that represents the future of money. Cryptocurrency is a part of fintech as well as blockchain and NFTs. Companies working in this space need to have strong programming and development teams as well as financial regulators and attorneys (for example: Coinbase).
FTP – The standard for moving files into and out of a server, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is used by many web developers. One of the most popular FTP software services is FileZilla, which can be downloaded for free at https://filezilla-project.org/
GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation is a law passed to protect users of websites from the collection of personal data. All websites need to inform the user what data they collect in advance and allow the user to opt in or opt out of data collection on the site. This law started in Europe but has extended across the globe. There are plugins for WordPress that enact proper GDPR rules quite easily with the installation, the plugin is called GDPR Cookie Consent.
Hamburger Menu – On mobile devices, the typical link based menu for desktops is not advised and most mobile friendly websites use an icon called a hamburger menu, which is 3 horizontal lines. When the user clicks on the 3 horizontal lines, a menu will pop open with the page links for the website.
HTML – The backbone of the web is HTML, which stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. Every single website on the web has HTML at the core, there are many other languages used on the web, but at the very basic level they all output HTML. It’s one of the easiest languages to learn and education is starting to realize that it should be part of general education similar to math or English.
MySQL – The most popular open source database software in the World. MySQL powers many aspects of the web, including WordPress. MySQL stands for My and Structured Query Language and is written in the coding language C and C++. It’s a common database language for every computer science student to learn and something they will most likely be working on throughout their career.
MX Records – MX stands for Mail Xchange which are settings on a domain to point to which email account settings should run on that domain. They usually come in sets, for example Pro Gmail MX records come in a set of 5, with the first priority #1 and then 2 at priority level #5 and then 2 at priority level #10. The reason for this is to have redundancy in case the first level doesn’t work, then it goes on to the second level, then the third, fourth and fifth. When changing the DNS settings on a domain, it is important to only change the A record if there are existing emails in place that don’t want to mess with. Otherwise the Nameservers can be changed to the new server if the email is going to be changed or is nonexistent.
Plugin – Plugins are software adapted to a specific content management made to make functionalities easier. For example, in WordPress the most popular content management software, there are thousands of plugins that do all kinds of functionalities such as contact forms, sliders, analytics, security, and much much more. What’s neat about the open source nature of WordPress is that anyone can create a plugin for the software and make it work for their website. If it is quality software, they can even upload it to the main WordPress database of available plugins for others to download and use on their website.
Propagation – The time it takes on the web for a domain to point to a new server location and files to come up online. When changes are made on the web the time it takes to move from a registrar to a website server is called propagation. Some registrars are very quick with releasing information and keep propagation times low such as 30 – 60 minutes, however other registrars take a lot longer like 24 – 48 hours.
RSS – One of the early parts of blogging and websites on the web was RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a way of importing information from a website into another website easily with a connection string. Blogs and news websites very commonly would provide an RSS feed that could be plugged into a website to show the content as it was updated on the original site. These are less popular today, but are still around. Note that content imported with this method will not rank for SEO.
SEO – A popular term for improving a website in search engines such as Google or Bing. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is a methodology of actions related to content, structure, domain choice, backlinks, social media, profile websites, code, speed and many more factors. Most web developers and marketers are familiar with SEO, but do not specialize in it. It’s important for businesses who want to make gains in SEO to go with a specialist who has done it for their own business and others. SkyPoint Studios offers an exclusive backlink club for businesses looking to improve their search engine optimization.
SEM – The cousin of SEO, SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing and is ads purchased and ran on search engines such as Google or Bing. The ads are targeted to a specific audience and keywords and appear at the top of searches when people are looking for products or services. Ad clicks are priced based on competive-ness of a search phrase, where more people purchasing the keyword will cause each click to cost more. This is similar to how plane tickets or hotel rooms are more expensive during busy travel times like Thanksgiving.
Sitemap – A hierarchy of the pages throughout a website. Sitemaps are usually placed in the footer of a website and shows how the structure of a website is orientated from the top level pages like Home, About, Contact, etc. to the sub pages that are below those. Sitemaps are especially important in very large websites and do play a role in SEO.
Spam – The unsolicited often commercial messages online or in email are called spam. They got this name from a Monty Python sketch where the characters shouted “Spam, spam, spam!” over and over again in a restaurant and a waitress and other patrons shouted “shut up!” this became a metaphor for the annoying messages that started to pop up online where users are bugged to do something they don’t want to do.
SSL – Secure Socket Layer or SSL is a way of encrypting data from websites to servers in a way that is secure and cannot be read by a middle man. Websites that do not use SSL certificates can suffer from what is called a man-in-the-middle attack where a hacker will “listen” to the data transmission between websites and servers to look for credit card information or other secure information to steal. It’s super important to have an SSL on websites that have secure data on them. Additionally, Google provides a boost in SEO to websites that use an SSL as they want to have the most secure websites in their search results.
Subdomain – A subdomain is a way of having a website inside of another website. Subdomains look like sub.domain.com where the “sub” part is the subdomain. It allows websites to have different software on the main website and sub site. For example, on the domain.com part of the site, it might have WordPress installed, whereas on the sub. part there might be Bootstrap.
Trust Flow – TF or Trust Flow is the score that was developed by the company Majestic to show the total value of trust a website has. The score is based on how many links a website has from high ranking and trusted websites. The higher the score, the better the website will rank on Google and Bing search engines.
TXT Record – One of the important records that is a part of DNS on a domain that allows any text string to be associated with a domain. It is used to verify ownership or authentication of a domain in many systems across the web. For example, when adding a domain to Gmail Pro, the system will generate a random string of numbers and letters as a TXT record that needs to be added to the domain DNS. Once added and the propagation occurs, the system will be able to detect the TXT record and authenticate the connection.
Web Design Glossary – This entry of website design glossary is thrown in to balance out the amount of keywords required for text of this length. Hopefully if you are reading this you understand what a website design glossary is about lol. This website design glossary is updated regularly with new terms.
WHM – WebHost Manager is a top-level software for managing cPanels that run on servers. The website hosting management software is one of the most popular in the web development space. We use WHM at SkyPoint Studios to manage the servers for our clients.
WP Admin – The dashboard management area for WordPress is called WP Admin, or WordPress Admin. It is the common entry point for all WordPress websites to go to the wp-admin. Inside the dashboard is a large menu covering parts of the website such as Pages, Posts, Appearance, Settings, Tools & more.
WYSIWYG – An acronym that stands for What You See Is What You Get which is an editor in website content platforms that allow users to edit content similar to how a Microsoft Word document is edited. Without a WYSIWYG, the editing has to be done in HTML and is much more challenging to work on for most users who are not web developers.
XML – eXtensible Markup Language is a programming language similar to HTML but rather than pre-determined tags, XML has tags that can be created by the user. It is popular for data feeds and exports and for apps and databases to talk to each other. It is more of a computer language like binary than a human focused programming language like CSS.
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Have any more terms to add to the website design glossary? Drop it in the comments below!