The Essential Guide to Understanding Website Terminology
If you’re a small business owner who is just getting started with websites, you may be feeling overwhelmed by all of the new terms and acronyms that come along with it. Don’t worry! This blog is here to help.
I’ve pulled together a glossary of some of the most important website lingo (and also based on my client questions) that every small business owner should know.
Your domain name is your website address, like www.yourbusinessname.com (aka URL). I like to think of a site as a street address but in the online world as this is how people will find you on the internet and access your site.
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator…still not clearing it up what it means though! Essentially the URL identifies you/your business and allows customers to find it.
Hosting refers to where your site lives on the internet. I like to think of hosting like a building; each level (aka website) has its own address (aka domain name), but they all live in the same building (aka hosting provider).
You can choose from a variety of web hosting providers, such as shared hosting (where multiple websites are hosted on one server) or dedicated hosting (where each website has its own server).
Here are two that I recommend to my clients – VentraIP (this is an Australian based company) and Siteground (who hosts my site!).
Note: if you make a purchase from clicking the above links, I will receive a small affiliate commission.
An SSL certificate stands for “Secure Sockets Layer”. This helps protect sensitive information that is sent between users and servers by encrypting it. This means that it cannot be seen by anyone else online. They are really important for e-commerce sites as it protects customers personal information when purchasing from your site, but really any site as it helps create a sense of trust when people visit your site. so that it can’t be seen by anyone else online.
A sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages, videos and other files on your site. It allows search engines like Google to read this file to crawl your site more efficiently and what pages are important on your site eg: when a page was last updated.
A backup or website backup is a copy of ALL of your data on your website. It is important that all websites are backed up (the frequency will depend on the number of changes that occur and how often) and ensures your information and data is safe and secure in case of any uncertainty such as incompatibility when doing plugin updates or hacks.
These are individual services that extend the functionality of your site. You might use them to change visual elements; add additional content or information or have smoother integrations between your site and another tool.
Some of the common WordPress plugin’s that may be used include UpDraftPlus (for website backups); Woocommerce (for adding products and creating a shop); payments (eg: Stripe) or Forms so you can customise contact forms enabling customers to send you a message.
This is the foundation of a websites complete design. It manages the front-end design, establishing the overall appearance and functionality including colour palettes; backgrounds; layouts; headers; footers; sizing and typography (to name a few!).
A child theme is the exact replica of the parent theme that has all functionalities and styles from the parent theme.
The main use of the child theme is to allow customisation in the theme files.
Also may be called page speed or website performance and is a measure of how quickly your website can load content and make it available for users. It is important to ensure visitors to your site get the information fast and responsively otherwise if it takes a long time to load, it may turn them off and they can leave and go elsewhere.
These help identify the big topics that your blog/article covers. For instant, my blog talks websites, email marketing, marketing, social media, productivity and virtual support.
A tag is more specific topic that you want to use to associate related content from within the blog/article.
Search Engine Optimisation s a process that can be used to improve the ranking of your website in search engines.
Understanding website terminology is essential in order to properly manage your site or even having the understanding if this task is manged by someone else. You’ll have a better understanding of what’s happening behind the scenes with this glossary in hand to ensure your site is running smoothly at all times!
Is there a term that’s not listed here? Send me an email and the term that you would like an explanation for and I will let you know.