Web Design Definitions

Web Design Definitions

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Overwhelmed by web lingo? Here’s a guide to common terms and acronyms in the web design and development world.

A way of developing Web applications that combines: XHTML and CSS standards based presentation, Interaction with the page through the DOM, Data interchange with XML and XSLT, Asynchronous data retrieval with XMLHttpRequest, and JavaScript to tie it all together.

An anchor is another word for internal link or bookmark on a web page. An anchor is a link that links within the same page of the document.

A backlink is a link coming from another website to your own. The number and quality of backlinks that your site has can affect your search engine optimization efforts, as some search engines provide significant weight to the backlinks of a site.If you are working on an SEO campaign, you should include efforts to get links to your site on related sites with high ranking in search engines for the terms you are targeting. This “link love” will help improve your search engine ranking as well. Try to avoid being linked on link farms as that can hurt your search engine results.

Bandwidth is the amount of data that is requested from your website over time. Bandwidth is expressed in terms of kilobits per second (Kbps).Most Web hosting providers put a cap on bandwidth. If your website gets enough requests to go over that cap, you might be charged extra fees, or the requests might be denied.

Below the Fold
The fold in web design is the position on a web page where the majority of browsers viewing the page will begin to scroll. Elements that are positioned “below the fold” are not seen when the page first loads. And some people believe that it’s important to design web pages that don’t scroll, or that keep only less important information below the fold.

Blog is short for Weblog and is a Web page that has short, frequent updates made to it. Similar to a Web journal or “what’s new” page.

Bounce Rate
The bounce rate is the percentage of visits that come to the site and only view one page. This is a good metric to have as you can then determine how popular your site is as well as how effective (or not effective) your navigation is.

In Web design a breadcrumb or breadcrumb trail is the part of the navigation that shows you where you are, similar to the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel”. Breadcrumb trails are often found near the top of Web pages and define both the current location within the site hierarchy as well as primary pages above the current page.

Cascading Style Sheets
A language for the Web to define the style (look and feel) of a Web page. Cascading Style Sheets can define: fonts, colors, layouts, and more.

Content Management System
A tool for managing content, usually on a Web site, that separates the design, interactivity, and content from one another to make it easier for content authors to provide content.

Conversion Rate
Conversions are important to web design and ecommerce. And the conversion rate is the number of conversions your site gets measured against the number of pageviews or impressions. It is defined as: Conversion Rate = # of goals achieved / visits The conversion rate is a way of measuring the success of your website. The higher your conversion rate the better your site is functioning. But remember that this is only true if you are measuring conversions of something valuable to your site. Good measurements include: sales, increased newsletter sign ups, filled in forms, and pageviews from return visits

DNS stands for Domain Name Service. DNS is the TCP/IP stack that converts IP addresses into domain names. If you purchase a domain name, DNS servers are given the IP address of your Web server and the corresponding domain name. Then, when someone comes to your domain, the DNS server translates that to an IP so it knows where to send the request.

On the Internet or Web a domain is the name by which a computer is identified. It is mapped to a number called an IP address.Domains can be purchased in any combination of letters, numbers, and hyphens (-) and up to between 26 and 63 characters long (not including the TLD: .com, .net, .org, etc.).

Elastic Layout
An elastic layout is a style of Web layout design that uses percentages or ems for widths and a max-width style to ensure that the content is not too long. Elastic widths stretch when font sizes are increased or decreased. This is what makes them elastic – they flex to accommodate the browser width and the reader’s font preferences.

External Link
An external link is a hyperlink that points to another website on the internet, typically on another domain from the current website. Your linking strategy should include what types of sites you will and will not link to as well as how many external links there should be on any given page. External links are important to web pages because they provide additional information and give your audience a breadth of resources to follow.

A favicon or Favorites Icon is a small graphic that is associated with a page or Web site. The favicon allows the Web developer to customize the site in the Web browser, both in the tab bar that is displayed in many browsers as well as in the bookmarks when a site is saved. It was named the favicon because it was first developed in Internet Explorer, which calls bookmarked sites “favorites” and this icon was displayed in the favorites menu. Most site favicons are designed as a small rendition of their logo or other branding mechanism.

Hypertext Markup Language. The language used to write Web pages. Based on SGML and recently rewritten to follow XML guidelines.

An image or portion of text that is highlighted in some way (usually underlined on the web) and connects the current document to another. Hyperlinks are what make plain text into hypertext. Links are an important part of web pages. They connect documents on the same site together using internal links and direct readers to more information using external links. Web designers should create linking strategies for their websites to make sure that they are linking to the best information for their customers. You should also regularly use a link checker to make sure that all the links on your site still work.

Image Map
An image map in XHTML or Web Development is an image that has different clickable elements within the same single image. This allows Web developers to define only portions of the image as clickable while others are not, or to define specific areas of the image to point to different URLs.

An impression is an advertising term referring to each time an advertisement is loaded on the screen. Whenever a customer loads an advertisement, that is an impression.

Internal Link
An internal link is a link on a web page that links to another page on the same site or domain. Most internal links are used as navigation around the site or to provide additional information about a topic. Your site linking strategy should include which pages should include internal links, how many there should be on a given page, and their placement in the document (within the content, as navigation, or attached to images).

IP Address
An IP address is the numerical designation of a computer attached to the Internet. They are usually written as 4 groups of 3 numbers (IPv4). Domain names use IP addresses as their address so that Web browsers can find their location on the Internet.

A lossy graphics format best suited for photographs and images with a lot of colors. It’s an acronym that stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group.

In SEO, the keywords or keyword phrase is the phrase that the author is trying to target for search engines. Most of the time, you should focus on one keyword or keyword phrase per page. Keywords should represent the main point of a page. They are the words that someone would type into a search engine and find your page.

LAMP is an acronym that stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP (or Perl or Python). It is a Web development platform that defines the Operating System (Linux), Web Server (Apache), database (MySQL), and scripting language (PHP, Perl, or Python).

Link Farm
A link farm is a website set up with the sole purpose of increasing the link popularity of other sites by increasing the number of incoming links to those sites. They are typically made up of long lists of unrelated links. Some link farms are created as networks of sites that contain numerous links to one another. Nearly all search engines remove link farms from their directories when they find them. And many also penalize other sites that link to them. It is not a good idea to link to a link farm if you rely at all on organic search for page views.

Meta Data
Meta data is data about data. In other words, it is information about the Web page that it is currently on. Meta data is usually information that is more useful to programs and scripts than to the customers reading the page. So, meta data is stored in meta tags that are hidden in the<head> of the HTML document. Meta data is most often used for search engine optimization (SEO). The two most critical meta tags used in SEO are: description and keywords. These are sometimes used by search engines to place the pages in the search directory, and they are used to provide a short description of the Web page in the search results.

Meta Tag
A meta tag is a specific HTML tag used to define meta data on your Web pages. The most commonly used meta tags are: description, keywords, author, and refresh.Meta tags are placed in the <head> of an HTML document, and they typically do not display where the reader can easily see them. They are used to provide additional information about the page either for databases and search engines or for the author of the site to keep a record of the pages.Meta tags are written using the <meta> HTML tag.

Organic Search
Most search engines offer two types of search results to their customers: paid results (typically at the top or on the side) and organic or natural results. While paid results can get your Web site to rank higher for a specific keyword phrase (because you’ve paid to be high in the results), most customers consider these results to be little better than advertising, and will often skip over them in favor of the natural or organic search results. An organic search is a search that generates results that were not paid advertisements. Many customers feel that these results are a more accurate reflection of what they might want when searching for a specific phrase, because they are generated by popularity and common usage. When you do SEO or search engine optimization you are attempting to adjust the content of your Web pages to rank well in the organic search results.

A pageview is a request for an item called a page in Web analytics. A page is loosely defined as all the requests required to build one Web page. A pageview can include many hits, as the page is built with CSS, scripts, and images.Pageviews are a good unit of measure in Web analytics. The number of pageviews a website gets is a measure of how popular it is and how attractive it will be to advertisers. Most Web analytics tools will show you page views.

PHP is a recursive abbreviation that stands for “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.” It is called a recursive abbreviation because the first word is the same as the abbreviation. It is something of an internet in joke. There are many abbreviations like that, including GNU (GNU is not Unix) and PINE (Pine is not Elm). PHP is found on most web servers and is used by developers to create dynamic and database driven websites. It is a server-side scripting language that is typically embedded into HTML pages to add features that HTML can’t do by itself. In order to run PHP, you need to have a web server with it installed. Talk to your hosting provider if you’re not sure.

An acronym standing for Portable Network Graphics. A graphics format for lossless, highly compressed rastered images.

A podcast is a digital recording that is sent to subscribers over the Internet through an RSS feed. A podcast can be sent as audio or video files.The term was developed by combining the words “iPod” and “broadcast”. There are many ways to promote your podcast, including direct from the Apple iTunes store.

Search engine optimization.

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is the address of a document or other resource on the Internet. RFC 1738

A visit is a series of requests from the same uniquely identified individual (a visitor) in a set period of time. A visit is made up of several hits and pageviews and often shows a track through a site. Visits are usually defined as a set period of time, typically 24 hours or 1 hour. For example, if you go to a certain site 3 times in the same day, if their visit period is 24 hours, your 3 pageviews will be ascribed to 1 visit. But if their visit period is 1 hour, and you visited in 3 different hours, your pageviews will be logged as 3 different visits. It’s important to know what the log analysis software defines as a visit period. Visits are calculated by setting a cookie or web bug on the customer. Some Web analytics packages will calculate visits based on Web logs, without setting a cookie, but these, while useful, are not going to be as accurate as the cookied method. Because of dynamic IPing and other anonymizing techniques, non-cookied visits are based on educated guesses.

Web Server
A Web server is a computer that is set up with software and networking capabilities to deliver Web pages on the Internet or an Intranet. Web servers use programs such as Apache or IIS to deliver Web pages over the http protocol.

An editor where you primarily work with the layout and design of the page.





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