Website terms

Here are some common terms, phrases and definitions relating to websites and the World Wide Web. Podcasts and blogs are published and downloaded through the Web, so becoming familiar with these items can be very useful.

AJAX – (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) A Web scripting technique for increasing a web page’s interactivity with a user. Ajax allows data to be retrieved from a webserver and displayed in the page without reloading the whole page every time. For example, you may click a link that looks up some information from the server, and a certain area of the page will update with the new information, but the rest of the page will not change.

Checksum – A checksum is a value that is used to check the integrity of file. Checksums are often used to verify media files that have been uploaded for distribution.

Click-Through – When someone clicks an online advertisement to get to the ad’s destination.

Click-Through Rate – The average number of clicks per hundred ad impressions (views), used to determine which keywords are used and the marketing that attracts buyers.

CMS – Content Management System – A system that allows one or more people to easily manage the static content, images, audio files, documents, etc. of a website, without needing to be familiar with HTML, Javascript, and other scripting technologies. Some also may provide a limited ability to manage the style and structure of the website. Blogs and Wikis are examples.

Creative Commons License – A copyright license that specifies how online content created by a person or entity can be shared, distributed, reused, or changed.

Directories – A listing of websites generated by human efforts rather than automated scripts. These websites may be given a short description and placed in a category.

Forums – Discussion boards on the internet that allow people to post messages or respond to existing messages. Messages are grouped by topic and usually displayed in chronological order. The group of messages relating to a topic is referred to as a ‘thread’. Forums are usually public (anyone can view) and anonymous (users can post messages without logging in first).

Google Analytics – A free service to analyze the performance of a website, such as user activity and site usability, by providing statistics on the users of the website. It can be used to measure the success of online marketing campaigns.

Hit – A complete request to and response from a web server for a specific item on a web page, such as an image. Each page request may record many hits. See also: Impression

Impression – A single view of an item on a webpage, such as an advertisement. This does not mean someone has to click the item, just simply view it.

Inbound Link – All the links pointing to a particular webpage. Usually the term refers to links that exist on a completely different (external) website/domain.

Keyword – The word or phrase someone enters in a search engine’s search text box. Can also refer to the words someone uses to describe their content item and believes searches using the words will lead to their item. Also known as a query.

Landing Page – The webpage someone reaches after clicking an item from a search engine result or an advertisement. Marketers attempt to make this page as attractive to users as possible, to keep them from navigating away from the page.

Meta Tags – Descriptive terms used within the HTML of a webpage (not displayed) that can provide a description or keywords about the page to search engine crawlers. Web masters in the early days of the Internet have abused the Meta tags by adding words unrelated to the website in the hopes of getting more traffic. Due to this abuse, the Meta tags are rarely used by search engines when indexing the content.

Metrics – Measurements, assessments, and comparisons of data gathered from activities, resources, downloads, etc.

Open-Source Software – Software created by a person or collaborative group which allows others to view, change, and improve the underlying source code, and share or distribute the modified or unmodified version to others.

Page Rank – The placement of a particular webpage or website in a search engine’s listing or results. A page may be described as being listed in the results of a search, but ‘page rank’ refers to either the page it appears on, or which item of the results it is, e.g. The first or fifth item among all results.

Permalink – A human-readable URL (website address) that most commonly is used for pointing to a specific blog entry, but can also point to any other type of web page. The permalink usually contains words or phrases relating to the content, and is beneficial in Search Engine Optimization.

Query – See Keywords.

Robots.txt – A file which specifies which pages or folders should NOT be indexed by search engines. This is used for Search Engine Optimization to exclude content that doesn’t need to be indexed and might confuse the search engine crawlers.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization – The process of increasing traffic to a website by optimizing it for the searches a user performs. This involves choosing specific and relevant keywords, emphasizing the topics that appear, making the pages more accessible, and many other factors. A knowledge of how search engines work is very beneficial. Generally, the higher a website’s page rank using a desired keyword, the more likely it will get traffic.

Site Usability – An assessment or evauation of how easy it is for visitors to use the site, navigate, and understand the content. For example, it may involve a study of how users interact with the site and then improving the navigation or structure so that a desired result is achieved.

Social Networking – Refers to the services offered by many websites that help connect friends and colleagues with similar interests, skills, or geographic location. They also allow people to search for new friends based on these criteria. Examples are and

Social Tagging – The practice of creating and managing tags on social websites to categorize online content such as pages, images/photos, and blogs. These tags or keywords are simply a word or phrase that describe the content. People can then search by a specific tag to retrieve all the content with that tag.

Spider – (Crawler or Robot)- Usually refered to the automated script a search engine uses to gather references to webpages. The script will follow the links to webpages, so it can be said to ‘spider’ or ‘crawl’ the web. It can make copies of the pages it finds and create indexes.

Tagging – A method of assigning keywords or phrases (tags) to online content such as websites, pages, bookmarks, photos, and blog entries.

Viral Marketing – The promotoion of a product, brand, or service by generating interest in relevant public social networks, blogs, and forums, or by word-of-mouth to family, friends, and colleagues.

Web Analytics – Refers to the assessment of website traffic and performance. See Google Analytics for a free service that offers analytics.

Web 2.0 – The second-generation web services and communities such as social networks and wikis that facilitate online creativity, collaboration and sharing.

Widgets – Small tools that appear as items on a desktop, website or blog that allow users to quickly and easily do a certain action such as perform a search, subscribe to a feed, or view weather and stock information.

Wiki – An online work space where multiple users can collaboratively add and edit pages of content. The best known example is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia managed by the public.