Accessibility – Accessibility refers to the usability of a website in the context of users with disabilities or impairments. It covers a range of matters: the visuals being clear to people with colour blindness; correctly ordering the HTML so that visually impaired users can use screen readers effectively; or making the buttons and link hit zones big enough that users with impaired motor skills can successfully click where they intend.
Bandwidth – Bandwidth is used to measure the speed of your internet connection. It refers to the amount of data that can be transferred at any given time (usually measured in kilobits and megabits per second). A broadband internet connection is therefore a high speed connection, usually offering a minimum of 256 kb/s. A dial-up internet connection – the predecessor to broadband (remember that loveable screeching ringtone?) – is only capable of 56 kb/s.
Blog – Abridgement of “Web Log”. Your blog is a section of your website (or can be a site in itself) where you can regularly publish news, comment, diary entries – almost anything you want your users to read. It’s different from a news page in that it can be written with a personal voice. Corporate blogs have become popular for being able to give a company a more accessible, personal tone.
Breadcrumbs – Breadcrumbs, or breadcrumb trails, are navigation features of a website that improves its usability. They allow the user to see the structure of the site as they progress through it, and retrace their steps if they find themselves lost in its murky recesses. For example, an online store might display breadcrumbs at the top of its page as follows:
Browser – Your web browser is the software that allows you to view web pages. The most common browsers are Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
CMS – Abbreviation of Content Management System. CMS software allows the owners of a website to easily organise and edit its content (text, images, media files) without having to delve into a site’s code. It’s also useful for allowing staff to update the site from different locations.
Cookies – Web cookies are little bits of text sent between a server and your browser. When you visit a website again, these pieces of text are sent back to the server so it can recognise who you are. When a site remembers your password, preferences or the items in your shopping basket, this is all thanks to cookies. They also allow pages you revisit to load faster.
CSS – Abbreviation of Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is a language that allows you to shape the style and appearance of a web page. While HTML (or a similar mark up language) is used to create the content of a page, CSS determines its presentation (colours, fonts, layout, skins etc.)
Domain –Your domain name is the name that appears before the extension (.co.uk, .com, .net) of your web address. It is basically an IP address that is easier to read and remember, identifying your computer, or your host’s computer, on the web. So in the same way that your friend’s phone number is 07123 456 789, but you have them in your mobile as Phil Mob, your website’s IP Address might be 123.456.78.910, but your domain name is www.phil.com.
Ecommerce – Ecommerce is the practice of selling goods and services online. Simple as that. An ecommerce site is a site with the functionality to display a catalogue of items and accept payment for them (with credit cards, PayPal etc) online.
Favicon – A favicon (“favourite icon”) is a small thumbnail image that acts like a website’s logo, appearing at the beginning of the URL, at the top of tabs and on your favourites list. Approved Index’s favicon, for example, is the white and blue tick you can probably see above.
Flash – Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) is a type of software used for creating and viewing animation and videos on a web page. While you have to pay to get the Flash Authoring Tool, Flash Player is free to download (anyone with the player can view sites containing Flash). A “Flash site” is a web site composed predominantly of animated and interactive components.
Functionality – The functionality of a website is simply the number and type of technical functions it is able to perform e.g. having the ability to take online payments, or to perform a “search” on stored data or content. Not to be confused with usability (see below).
Hosting – All websites need to be hosted. Hosting a website means storing all its component files on a server (a computer permanently connected to the internet). Web hosting companies have huge banks of servers where you can host your site in a secure environment.
HTML – Stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. HTML is the language used to write and structure text and links on a webpage.
Hyperlink – Usually just called “links”, hyperlinks can connect any piece of information to any other piece of information on the internet. The most common form type of hyperlink is the embedded link (usually underlined) – you will have clicked on an embedded link to get to this glossary.
IP address – Your IP (Internet Protocol) address is a set of 4 numbers that identifies your computer. If you’re hosting your website through a hosting company, your site’s IP address will be the IP of that company’s server. Every site also has a unique domain name that matches up to your IP address.
Keywords – Keywords and key phrases are the terms that users type into search engines. These are the words that should appear in the titles and content of your website so search engines know that it’s relevant.
Metatags – A metatag is a piece of HTML code that allows search engines to more accurately determine the content of a webpage. Metatags aren’t actually visible on a webpage, but do appear in the search engine results as a description of what the page is about. They can also be a list of keywords visible only to search engines, although this type of metatag is generally no longer used.
Navigation – Web navigation is simply the process of finding your way around a website or around the internet. The navigation bar is the bar at the top of your browser containing the “Back”, Forward”, “Stop” and “Home” buttons.
Organic Search – Organic search results are all the pages that are indexed by search engines purely on the content of the page. Non organic (or paid) search results are the sponsored links you see in the yellow box and down the right hand side of the Google results page.
Permalink – A permalink (“permanent link”) is a hyperlink that is used like a bookmark. They are usually used for linking to a specific blog post so you can keep track of it when the blog is updated.
PPC – PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising is a type of online marketing that makes use of search engines. A PPC campaign involves paying search engines to show a link to your site when users search for a product or service that you provide. Whenever a user clicks on your ad, you pay a fee to the search engine. The sponsored links you see in the yellow box and down the right hand side of Google are all PPC ads.
They also appear on web pages that search engines deem relevant to what the advert is offering. So if you’re reading a page that has something to do with saxophones, you might see PPC ads offering discount brass instruments.
SEO –Stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This is the practice of improving the relevance and value of your website to achieve higher organic search positions. This is done through improving content (e.g. by adding keywords), and most importantly through link building (getting related sites to link you and hence make your site seem more relevant).
Server – Your server is the computer on which your website is hosted. Servers store data and allow it to be accessed and shared at all times over the web.
URL – Stands for Uniform Resource Locator. A webpage’s URL is its full address, e.g. http://www.approvedindex.co.uk/indexes/WebDesigners/default.aspx
Usability – A website’s usability is a measure of how easy it is for visitors to understand a website, find their way around it and successfully achieve their goals. Not to be confused with accessibility or functionality.
Web Design vs Web Development – Technically web design and web development are two different areas of expertise (although “web development” is often used to refer to the whole process). Web designers are responsible for creating the front end of your website (everything you can see when you go to the site, and the way the information is organised and inter-related), while web developers work behind the scenes on the nuts and bolts of the site’s functionality and coding.