Website Terminology

SEO, SSL, RSS, URL…. What does it all mean? Like everything else, website design has its own vocabulary. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to see all the options and explain what you really need to your website designer.

Body/Content Area and Sidebars

The body or content area is the main area of a page on a website. Some pages may also have one or two sidebars which displays the same information on every pages similar to a header or footer.

Blog Posts

Blog is short for web-log. They are syndicated through RSS feeds (see below) and are usually date and timestamped. Blog posts are articles that may contain text, images, videos or infographics. They are used to relay information that may not be needed on a webpage but important nevertheless. Click here to learn more about the importance of having blog posts on your site.


Cached files are those that are saved by a web browser to that a page loads faster the next time it is accessed.

Call to Action

Call to Action (CTA) is a visible place for a user to start an action. Some examples are links to other pages, contact buttons, and social icons.

Domain Name and Extension

A domain name is simply the name by which you identify your website and is associated with an IP address (see below). Domain names are purchases for a time period (usually a year or more) and can be any combination of letters, numbers, and hyphens as long as it is not already in use. While a domain can be uo to 63 characters long, shorter domain names are in demand since they are easier to remember.

Domain extensions are the letters after the dot. Common extensions are .com, .net, .org, .info, etc. These abbreviations reflect the type or location of the websites:

  • .com = commercial

  • .gov = government

  • .edu = education

  • ,ca = Canada

  • .it =. Italy


Domain Name Service (DNS) is the traffic copy on the Internet. It delivers email to the right mailbox and sends you to the website you are searching for by looking up the IP address and matching it the correct location.


A favicon is a small image (usually a logo) associated with a website. It is displayed in the title bar or tab of the browser as well as in bookmarks.

Front-End vs. Back-End

The front-end of a website is the part that visitors can see and interact with while the back-end consists of the server, the software and the database.

Google Analytics

Once a Google Analytic accounts is created, Google offers a detailed web analytic services that tracks and reports website traffic.

Header and Footer

Just like in a paper document, the header is the area at the top of the page and the footer is at the bottom. In websites, however, the header and footer usually remain the same on every page, giving a look of consistency and the ability to keep relevant information always available. For example, the header may show the company logo while the footer displays contact information like email, phone number, and address.

A sticky header is a navigation bar that is locked into place while a user scrolls through the rest of the content on a page.

Hero Image

The hero image is the attention-grabbing first image of a website that gives visitors a good visual explain why your service or product is needed,.

Home Page

The home page is almost always the first page of your website and where your branding shows what your business is about, This is the main page that displays ways to get to other parts of your website.


HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) defines how messages are formatted and transmitted as well as what actions servers and growers should take in response to commands.

HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol over SSL) is like HTTP except it is over a secure encrypted connection. Sites that are not using HTTPS will be marked “insecure” in the browser address bar.

IP Address

Every computer that has access to the Internet has a unique identifying number known and the IP or Internet Protocol address. The IP address identifies the host and the network interface and provides the location of that host.

Landing Page

A landing page is not a home page. It is a standalone web page created for one purpose. It is usually created to achieve a specific goal like selling something specific.

Links and Hyperlinks

You may hear both these terms and basically the function is the same: they both direct you to another place. A hyperlink gets you to another file whether it is another webpage, image, or video. Links include hyperlinks but can also mean other actions like going to a previous or next page.

Meta Data

Meta Data is the information contained in the header that offers information about the webpage. Meta data isn’t viewable on the webpage and is contained within meta tags, which are snippets of text that describe a page's content.


The menu at the top of the webpage is sometimes called navigation. There are several types:

Primary navigation is typically links to other pages in the website like Home, Testimonials, and an About page. There can be several levels of navigation as well. Primary navigation are the ones listed above that brings the user to the main pages.

Secondary navigation is often found just above the primary navigation items and may contain links to action items like Contact or Volunteer.

Drop Down menus appear when a mouse hovers over a primary menu item to reveal additional submenu items. For example, a printer may have Services listed on his primary menu and upon hovering over that tab, a drop down list with brochures, business cards, posters, and more items would appear.

Hamburger Menu is the name for the three parallel lines usually depicting a menu on a mobile application.

Organic vs Paid Search

Organic search results are based on the content and code of the site including SEO. A paid search is used to move you to the top of search lists quickly (for example, Google Adwords).

Responsive Design

Responsive Design is the approach used by website developers to ensure that content is easily viewed on any type of device including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.

RSS Feeds

RSS is short for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. These feeds allow user to access updates to online content (like blogs). For example, a news organization has RSS feeds that you can subscribe to, and then when any new information is posted, the article feeds into your RSS reader.


SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps search engines find your website information in order to rank you higher in the search results.

Site Building Platform

Site Building Platformss are used by website developers and designers to build custom or theme-based websites. They often contain a content management system (CMS) and blogging tools, Commonly known platforms include Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, Website Builder and more. Some are targeted for beginners and include easy to use templates to make some very nice websites. With that ease of use, however, comes the downside of less flexibility and less SEO capability. In the long run, it is better to go with a developer who knows the ins and outs of SEO and other ways to make sure your beautiful website gets seen.

Site Map

A website’s site map shows the hierarchical view of the pages and content. In large, multi-layered websites, a site map is sometimes included so the user can quickly find a page or section instead of looking through a series of menu options.

Slider or Slideshow

A slider is a rotating banner of images usually placed on the homepage of a website, They must be used with care because they can significantly slow down a website.

SSL Certificate

A SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate provides secure, encrypted communication between a website and a browser. SSL may be free or available for an annual fee.


A theme provides a predefined look and feel of a website. It modifies the sites colors, fonts, image layouts and more without changing the content or the underlying software. Themes can be purchased or are free depending on the site building platform used. The pros of themes is that a website can be built quickly and looks cohesive. The cons can include difficulty in making custom changes.


URL is short for Uniform Resource Locator. This is a website’s address and species where it can be found.

Web Browser

A web browser is simply a program using to access sites or information on the web. Some popular web browsers include: Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

Webpage vs Website

A webpage is one page on a website, while a website is a collection of webpages. Can a website have only one webpage? Absolutely.

Website Hosting

Website hosting refers to the computer that stores and serve pages over the web. The majority of websites rent space monthly for their websites from providers such as Bluehost, Squarespace, GoDaddy, and more. These computers have web hosting software installed that make them available to internet users regardless of location.

301 Redirect

301 redirects are used to direct traffic from old website or webpages to new ones.

404 Page Not Found

The 404 error message appear when a user tries to reach a non-existent page on your site. Usually this is because the page was deleted or the link has the wrong URL address.


Did you really make it this far? Impressive! Contact Charlotte’s Web Designs to schedule an appointment to get your website brimming with all of these concepts.

Beth Okun