In this day and age, the face of your business is your website. It represents and encapsulates your image.
Sometimes your web design efforts may seem like you’re just trying to make things line up and look good on a computer screen, but there is an enormous amount of research, science and art that goes into creating a successful site.
Because often your site is the first thing about your business that potential customers see, and it can be the reason they come back.
Therefore it makes sense for you to know and understand a few words and terms that web designers use, so you can have more success communicating your vision clearly to them. And so you can understand what they’re talking about, too. Get to know some of the most commonly used web design terminology, because in our digital age, not knowing is the fastest way to get left behind.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is about improving where your website ranks when somebody searches for a specific topic via search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Ask.
There are many factors that go into SEO.
When an internet user searches for a topic, clicks a link and ends up on a page of your website –not the home page – that is a landing page. You might call it a topic page or even a chapter, but the person ‘landed’ there. Each landing page provides information about your business and its products and/or services. What’s so special about a landing page? People searching can get straight to the info they want without going through your entire site.
HTML & CSS
HTML stands for ‘hypertext markup language’ and CSS stands for ‘cascading style sheet’. Think of them as languages. HTML is the language used to code the content of your website, while CSS is the code for defining elements of how a website will look, like fonts, headings, menus, images, etc.
Sometimes metadata appears in the form of a metatag. It’s information stored in a webpage, but not necessarily visible to anyone visiting the page, that gives information about the page’s content to Google’s ‘web crawlers’. Usually, that information is a description about the page. It’s important for search engines to categorize different pages that are out there.
A hyperlink that leads to another website.
When another website creates a hyperlink that leads to your site.
Call to Action (CTA)
Something that encourages a website visitor to act by clicking. It could be text or an image or a button. A CTA should encourage a visitor to move to another page where the next step in the learning/buying/engaging process takes place.
A small text file sent to a computer/device and stored on it. It contains a small amount of data about a specific website and enables the computer to remember elements about that site and load it faster and better next time. Cookies are especially helpful for anyone who logs in to a site – the information is remembered so sometimes they don’t have to log in again.
Content Management System
A CMS is just what you need if you don’t fully understand the intricacies of HMTL. Why? Because it can still give you full control over the content on your site. The most commonly used CMS is WordPress. Drupal is an enormously powerful one for business and Drupal experts can help make your site incredible.
Responsive Web Design
This bit of terminology has been a hot topic in web design lately. Responsive design ensures your site displays perfectly on every size screen and device. People are put off when a site is designed only for desktop viewing and doesn’t adapt for a smartphone or tablet.
Responsive design is also important in search rankings – sites that aren’t responsive rank lower in search engines.
A term most often used at the start of a web design project. It means what it says: it’s a visual guide to show the content of a web page without any design elements. It’s just bare bones content laid out on a framework without any fancy stuff.
This has by no means be a comprehensive guide about web design terminology, but it’s a good start. In today’s market, you need to know some of the lingo so you can be more involved. Sometimes designers can be too close to their work and don’t remember what it’s like not to know the terminology. This is where it’s a great idea to use an external company to handle your online marketing and web design. Such a company will keep you fully informed and educate you about your website and marketing efforts along the way.
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