Website dictionary : the complete guide to all that website lingo!

My favourite online business tools and apps

If you’re new to website design, whether you’re DIY’ing your site or have a web designer, the language can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what it all means!  

So in this post you’ll find some of the most commonly used website lingo - think of it as a dictionary of all things website related!


Alignment

How text, an image or a button (for example) is aligned horizontally on the page.  The choice is left, right, or centred.

Banner

A full width image or video somewhere on a website, often used on the home page immediately below the header.  Banners have impact and can be used in a variety of ways, with or without text overlaid.

Call to action

Used on websites to encourage the visitor to take action and are often buttons or sign up forms.  Examples are ‘sign up now’, ‘learn more’, ‘buy now’, ‘download your free guide’.

Content upgrade

Refers to an extra ‘thing’ made available from within a blog post.  So, for example, the blog post itself is the content but if you sign up for the ‘free cheatsheet’ that relates to what you’re learning from the blog post, the free cheatsheet is the content upgrade.  Content upgrades are often given in return for an email address so are a great way to encourage email list signups.

Code

There are a variety of types of code and you may have heard of HTML.  There’s also, to name just a couple, Javascript and CSS. They are all languages used by developers to build and style websites.  HTML is used for the layout and structure of your website. Javascript is used to add interactive elements to your website and CSS is used to style the website.

Copy

This refers to the text added to the pages of your website.

CSS

Means ‘Cascading Style Sheet’ and is code that affects how your website is presented - it controls how the HTML elements of a website are displayed.  It can be used to add colours, font sizes, layouts and backgrounds. An array of CSS tweaks can be made to Squarespace websites for extra customisation (and on other platforms too!).

Domain name

The address where internet visitors can access your website and looks like www.mywebsitename.com.

Email marketing

A way of marketing your business by collecting the email addresses of website visitors who are interested in your offerings.  Once those email addresses are added to your list (and only when the owner of that email address has given permission for it to be used for marketing purposes), regular marketing emails can be sent out to your subscribers.

Footer

The section at the bottom of a website often used for extra navigation, important information and calls to action.  It’s not a compulsory part of a website but is a useful space to make use of.

Full width

Images or website elements which extend across the full width of the site with no margins on either side.

Hero image

Refers to a main image used on a website page, often the home page.  It has a prominent position, is meant to be eye-catching and is often overlaid with text to attract the attention of visitors to the site.  

Hosting

This can relate to domain hosting or web hosting.  Your domain is hosted (usually) by the company you buy it from and you pay to renew the domain every 1+ years.  Web hosting refers to where your website is hosted or stored so that it is live on the internet. If you have a website, for example, on Wordpress.org you have to pay for separate web hosting.  With other platforms, such as Squarespace and Shopify, the web hosting is provided for you as part of the package.

Hover

When you hover your mouse pointer over a website element such as a button - well that’s hovering!  And you can opt to have the button colour change, for example, on hover.

Layout

This refers to the way that the different elements of your site - text, images, navigation, buttons and so on - are arranged and structured on the page.

Lead magnet

A free ‘thing’ that you offer to encourage website visitors to sign up to your email list.  There are a variety of different types of lead magnet such as templates, guides, printables, checklists, discounts, email courses, ebooks, workshops….

Mockup

In web design, this refers to an early stage version of how your website will look.  It has the structure, text areas, and images (probably stock images at that stage) but is not clickable or interactive.  It is intended for feedback, tweaks and approval of the overall design of the site.

Navigation

The way in which the visitor finds their way around a website.  Usually there is a main navigation menu at the top of the site, and often a footer navigation is used too.  Navigation should be simple and clear for the site visitor.

Parallax scrolling

A setting on a website which enables the background images to move at a different speed to the foreground images/objects when scrolling down the page, giving a unique feeling of movement when scrolling.

Placeholder

Refers to using placeholder text or images to indicate what will be shown on a website but they are only temporary ‘fillers’ until the final text and images are added.  If you ever see ‘lorem ipsum’ text, that is placeholder. It can also be used in boxes on forms to show what information needs to be added in each box.

Responsive

A responsive website adapts (or responds) to the device being used to view it.  The website has been designed to ensure that it looks just as good whether it’s being viewed on a large desktop, a laptop, iPad or phone.

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation is the practice of taking steps to increase the number of visitors to a website via search engines, such as Google.  The aim is to increase the rankings in search results, thus increasing the chances of visitors finding your website organically. Google crawls websites and scores its findings based on a wide variety of criteria such as keywords, content quality, accessibility, site speed and performance, which in turn affect how Google ranks the site in search results.

Sign up

In order to add website visitors to your email list, they need to sign up at some point on your website.  Sign up boxes can be added in numerous places on your website to ensure that they are prominent. New ‘sign ups’ are the aim of the game when it comes to email marketing!

Social media links or icons

Most websites display links to their social media accounts - often you’ll find them in the header or footer but they can go anywhere on the page.  You can either have text links (eg clicking on the word “Instagram” would take you through to their Insta account) or social media icons, where you’d click on the little Instagram camera icon to be taking to the related account.

Stock images

Instead of adding your own photos to your website (either taken by you personally or by a professional photographer that you’ve hired) you can add stock images which you can find online, either free or paid.  There are some amazing stock photo sites out there! Just one example of free stock imagery is Unsplash.

URL

Your domain name might be www.mywebsite.com and your URL would be http://www.mywebsite.com.  So the domain is part of the URL and although very similar, there is a difference between the two.

Wireframe

One of the very first stages of the web design process, a wireframe is a simple layout plan of the different structural elements of a web page.  It shows no images, pretty bits or design features. It’s usually a series of grey boxes representing those different elements and showing their relative size and placement on the page.



website dictionary - complete guide to website lingo
My favourite online business tools and apps to run my business
website dictionary the complete guide to website lingo