CMS. ISP. URL. SEO. HTML. If there ever was a language for those who love acronyms, web speak wins the crown. You can’t throw a rock without hitting an acronym or two (or a bajillion) when we’re talking about tech talk, specifically as it relates to websites.
This can pose a problem, right? When you’re working with someone who’s helping you build a new website for your brand or business, you’re going to feel a lot more confident about pickin’ up what they’re puttin’ down if you know the basic vernacular and lingo as it relates to websites—so when they ask you what type of navigation you prefer, you’re not looking at your iPhone, trying to decide between Google Maps, Waze and MapQuest.
Well, you know us. We’re not going to let you go one more day without understanding enough basic website terms to rest easy at night. Sleep deprivation is no man’s friend, and it will only make tech talk that much more difficult to decipher. Much like we brought you graphic design definitions to make your world sweeter, we’re here for you with six important website terms you’ll want to slide in your back pocket.
If you find yourself asking, What is a domain name? What is CMS? What is responsive design?, then you’ve come to the right place. Up your geek-speak game with these website lingo definitions.
What is web hosting? If someone tells you, “We can host your website,” they’re not inviting it over for cocktails and appies. What they mean is, they can provide a place for it to live. Web hosting companies specialize in storing and serving websites, and web hosting is file space you purchase online which allows you to store your website files and publish them on the internet. Think of it as the lot you use for building your online home (website).
This is your website’s address; it’s where people come a-knockin’ when they want to visit (e.g., Firespring.com). A domain name must be purchased from a domain registry company, but you can’t actually buy it, buy it—a domain name is rented property. How long your domain registration lasts depends on the registrar. However, as long as you continue to pay for it, it’s yours to use. Some people use domain name and URL interchangeably, but (not to get nitpicky), they’re actually different. A domain name is what you call your website, but each page of any website has its own unique URL (the actual characters that appear in the browser when you’re on that page). So, you have one domain name, but your website can have several URLs.
Short for content management system, a CMS lets you change website content without knowing HTML or needing a lovable computer geek. Can I get an “amen” for that? The best CMS allows you (and several of your friends, if you give them the login info) to go online and change things like text, images, blog posts, forms, or any other content on your website without using complicated software or web development tools. This is made possible with a WYSIWYG editor—that’s short for “what you see is what you get” and is pronounced “wizzy wig.” This displays text and images as they will appear on your site, with fonts, colors, etc., so making website changes is easier than following all the plot twists and “who lives, who dies” on Game of Thrones. And way less bloody.
If you visit a website with a responsive design, that means it will adjust its layout or page structure to fit the screen of whatever device you are using, whether it’s a laptop, desktop, tablet, smartphone, video game console or any other browsing device. What kind of voodoo magic is that, you say? Well, responsive websites use a detection method that first identifies the device, then displays the proper format so you don’t have to pinch and zoom all over the place. No matter the screen, voila—it just fits. With everyone’s face in their phones these days, responsive web design is a must-have if you want people to stay on your website for longer than .01 second.
This refers to the way someone gets around on any particular website. Typical navigation tools include drop-down menus, links, icons, and buttons that take a user from point A to point B in a few clicks. You’ll often see what’s called a nav bar at the top, under the header, usually with all those bells and whistles I just mentioned, along with a search tool, so you can type in a few words and try to find what you’re looking for. There’s typically a footer, as well, with links and buttons to take you where you want to go. You can structure the navigation of a website in several ways, but it’s always important to be clear, specific, consistent and obvious. Kinda like when you’re on a first date.
Website refresh vs. redesign.
If you have a website that’s been collecting a little dust and you’d like to polish it up and introduce it to 2018, it may need a little TLC. The question is, does it need a redesign or a refresh? Here’s the difference: A website redesign is like going into your closet, packing up your clothes, dropping them off at the nearest bin, then calling up the guys at Queer Eye for some fashion intervention. When you redesign a website, you give it a whole new look along with fresh content, if necessary. A refresh? That’s more like a wardrobe update. You might keep your favorite items from last season, but you’re honest enough to admit that some of your stuff is dated. A website refresh may mean changing some images, introducing a few new pages, changing to a responsive design or maybe adding e-commerce.
Feeling geeky yet?
That’s status quo for us. If our walls could talk, they’d be throwing around so much tech speak, your pocket would grow a protector—so, if you’d like to chat and/or learn more about websites, we’d definitely be down. Say firstname.lastname@example.org and give us a holla so we can continue the conversation and show you some of the coolest websites our team has created for the thousands of businesses, brands and nonprofits we’ve partnered with.