Helpful Glossary of Terms

    • Blog – A blog (a contraction of the term “Web log”) is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. A blog can be a part of the main site or simply a link to another site that maintains blogs. Having a regularly updated blog on a relevant subject can increase search ratings.
    • Browser –A program that allows you to view web pages. Browsers convert browserscoded languages like HTML to readable text and images. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari are all browsers. Browsers, especially Internet Explorer render web pages in their own way. You don’t know what browsers your viewers will be using, so the goal should be to have a good design and user experience even if it looks a bit different in each browser.
    • Color Palette – Typically sites are designed with a small number of coordinating colors. These are often based on the existing company rainbowcolors. is an example of where to view web safe colors and play with possible combinations.
    • Content Management – A content management system (CMS) is a way to contentmanagementhave the client/owner of the website be able to alter and or add content to their site without having to know how to code. Complex content management systems such as Joomla, Drupal or WordPress require that the software be installed on the host first and the site is then built within its templates. Simpler solutions such as Contribute or SnippetMaster can add editable regions to a page after it’s been built.
    • CSS – Cascading Style Sheet. Another coding language that allows the style (font, colors, placement of images and text) of a web page to be separated from the content of a page. This allows for faster downloading of pages among other things. CSS and HTML work together.
    • Database – A collection of data in tables that relate to each other. A customer list or product inventory are typical uses of databases. Sites can connect to and display data from databases in a variety of ways.
    • Domain Name –The address of where the website is located. The domain name it typically purchased and then renewed each year. It does not have to have www at the beginning, but must have a .com, .org etc. at the end. A single site can have more than one domain name pointing to it, or have different domain names pointing to different pages. When domain names are purchased, the vendor provides the DNS address of where the name is and login information to be able to re-direct where that name points to. This is critical information that should be recorded and saved. 
    • Dynamic – Typically web pages are classified as static or dynamic.
      Static pages don’t change content and layout with every request unless a human (web master or programmer) manually updates the page. Dynamic pages adapt their content and/or appearance depending on the end-user’s input or interaction. i.e. Sites can setup links that take you to category listings; this week you see 3 articles, next week you may see 10, but the link hasn’t changed. Or, logging into a bank site and seeing your accounts only.
    • Ecommerce – The buying and selling of products and services over the internet. Sites can have very simple ecommerce set up by having a “buy now” button from Paypal or Google, or be very complex by having a full blown shopping cart. There are many companies out there offering complex turn-key shopping carts for a monthly fee, but these are for shopping only. Most sites benefit from being informational and having a shopping cart built into it, instead of taking the user to a different site to purchase.
    • Flash – An Adobe creative suite program that creates animation. Entire sites can be built in Flash, or just an opening page or header can be in Flash. It is one way to build video and audio into a site. The Flash player must be installed on the user’s local machine for them to see any Flash elements. Current search engines may not be able to read Flash files and the Apple iphone/ipad will not read the files. 
    • FTP – File Transfer Protocol. When files from a computer need to be transferred to a web site host, this is done through an FTP program. There are many good free programs that can be used (Filezilla, FireFtp, etc.) To do the transfer, an FTP address, login and password are required. (See Hosting)
    • Hosting -The computer where the files for the website live is the host. Hosting is typically purchased through a web hosting company. The level of service and control required determine the cost. Domain names and hosting can be purchased from the same company, but it is not required. When hosting is purchased, login information is provided so that files can be uploaded and edited on the site. This is critical information that should be recorded and saved. 
    • HTML -Hypertext Markup Language. The primary language that web pages are built in.
    • IP -Internet Protocol. Every site on the internet, every device on a network is assigned an IP address in a series of numbers. (12.123.450.101) Domain names translate to IP addresses.
    • ISP -Internet Service Provider. The company that provides Internet service to your home or office, i.e. Comcast or AT&T.
    • MySQL -MySQL is an open source relational database management system.
    • Open Source – Software that is often available for free, but more importantly has code that anyone can develop for. Open source often means that forums and other community based ways are the only way to get support. Because of that, open source software is often very flexible and has a lot of extra functionality. Anything from Microsoft is not open source. WordPress is a great example of software that is open source and has many people building plugins and themes for it.
    • Photoshop -An Adobe software program to manipulate digital photographs and create art. Many designers will build a mock up of a web page in Photoshop.
    • PHP -Hypertext Preprocessor. Server-side HTML embedded scripting language. It provides web developers with a full suite of tools for building dynamic websites. PHP is often used as the link to a MySQL database to display data in a variety of ways.
    • Responsive – Responsive web design is an approach where the site is designed to be readable and usable in a wide variety of screen sizes. Ever had to zoom in on a site while on your phone? Or scroll sideways? NOT responsive. In a responsive site the text and navigation will often get bigger, while the columns will get smaller. The point is to make it as human friendly as possible no matter what screen your viewer is on.
    • SEO -Search Engine Optimization. A variety of ways to increase the visibility of a site in the search engines like Google or Yahoo. Good updated relevant content, clean coding, hidden (Meta) tags, relevant links to other sites and submissions to DMOZ and other search engines are all basic ways to have a site ‘optimized’. There are many service providers out there that specialize in taking optimization further for a fee.
    • Social Media – This refers to the many ways people now have to interact on the Internet. People log on, share content, post comments and feedback, share videos and photos, and participate in a whole host of activities that bring them together – building relationships. More and more of your target market use social market so it is a good way to connect and communicate with them. Then as the theory goes, the friends of your followers get to know what you are up to and the potential for a new customer is born. Small organizations compete with large on a more even playing field. Here are the most popular platforms that have the largest number of users and give you the best opportunity to connect with your target market:
    • Social Media Platform – This term refers to the specific website, software, or technology where you carry on your social interactions. There is a wide range of social platforms available, some of which may be appropriate for your organization.
    • Social Networking: On these platforms, you can connect with other people of similar interests and likes. Social networking platforms allow you to form or to participate in groups and share and rate information. Business and nonprofit organizations can create a group or specific page so that the people who you serve can engage with you and share your message with their networks. Examples of social networking platforms include and
    • Video Sharing: Uploading your videos is a great way to share information in a way that can be more engaging or appropriate than written content. Examples of social video platforms include,, and
    • Microblogging: These are platforms that allow you to share information with your followers in small blurbs. The most popular microblogging platform is, where all posts are limited to 140 characters but can include links to other websites, images, or videos.
    • Blogs: With a blog, you can post written or video content for others to read, view, and comment upon. There can be a single author on a blog or many. There are many free and paid blogging platforms, with the most popular being and Others include,, and
    • Social News: These are platforms that allow you to share news or other outside articles with the community. Typically, social news platforms allow members of the community to vote or rate content so that the highest voted content is prominently displayed. You can expose more people to your business or mission by sharing valuable content and building up a community of people who follow you. Examples of popular social news sites include and
    • Social Bookmarking: These are platforms that allow you to save, share, and organize websites or other Internet-based resources. Most social bookmarking sites allow you and others to tag and search the bookmarked content. Like social news sites, you can leverage social bookmarking to engage with more potential customers by bookmarking important or valuable websites that are related to your business or mission. Examples of social bookmarking sites include and
    • Photo Sharing: You can create an account and upload your photos, which you can present individually or in digital albums. Social photo-sharing platforms include and You can also share photos on social networking sites like Facebook and Google+.
    • Content Curation: These are platforms that allow you to pull together and organize content from other websites. One of the most popular sites, Pinterest, allows you to create virtual pin boards that organize content around a certain topic. You can then “pin” images and videos to those boards and share the pinned content with other followers.
    • Wikis: On these collaborative platforms, users contribute articles to create fast-growing information sites—kind of like an encyclopedia, but one in which users create the content. The best and most well- known example of a wiki is
    • Template or Theme – A master page used to produce web pages. Sites can be designed with one or many master templates, i.e. the home page may have a different layout from the following pages. A site can also be designed with several ‘skins’ to reflect a special event or season. There are many pre-designed templates available for the major content management systems like WordPress & Joomla.


About Mary Knight

Marketing coach and strategist, helping small businesses and non-profits to be customer centric. Communication specialist, focused on attention to detail and the achievement of communication results intended. Over 25 years in the field of marketing communications, spanning business and technical writing for varied audiences; design and production of brochures, stuffers, flyers, and newsletters; design and development of training and seminar materials; polishing of presentations; content development and effective layout for Internet sites; general copyediting and proofreading.
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