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Web Design Terms Defined

To an outsider, the amount of jargon in the web design world can be overwhelming. You know you need SEO and responsive design, but what does that even mean?

If you’re thinking about creating a new website or updating your current one, it’s a good idea to learn some of the terms so you can speak the language with potential developers.

We’ve made a quick list of top web design terms to get you started.

Content Management System

A content management system (CMS) is what you use to edit and create your website content. For example, WordPress is a CMS software that helps users who aren’t familiar with programming languages make adjustments and manage their sites.

Domain name

Your domain name is how viewers see your business online. It serves as both the name and the address of your website. Viewers type your website name into the web browser followed by a suffix like .com or .net and then they are directed to your website. For example, our domain name is speros.com.

Hosting

Your web hosting is basically where your website lives. Your hosting provider houses all of the files for your site on servers. You access these files with your domain name.

Different web hosts offer different features such as email accounts and online support. It’s important to know what features and services you want from your hosting provider before choosing one.

You should also keep in mind how secure your hosting provider is. Data privacy and security is more important to your customers and clients than ever before. You want to choose a hosting provider that you can trust to protect you and your customers.

HTTP/HTTPS

HTTP/HTTPS is something you’re probably familiar with seeing, but do you know what it actually stands for? It stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTP is the primary protocol used to send data between a web browser and a website.

When you see the “S” on the end, that means the communication between the browser and website is encrypted, typically with an SSL certificate. We will explain SSL certificates shortly.

Plugins

Plugins are extremely useful pieces of software that can be used with your Content management system. Different plugins can add specific features and enhance the functionality of your website.

For example, WOO Commerce is a common WordPress plugin which helps you add an online store to your site. Just remember to keep your plugins updated so that your website performs at its best 24/7.

Responsive Web Design

With mobile internet traffic counting for almost 50% of the total global online traffic, responsive web design is more important than ever before.

Responsive design means that your website adjusts to the screen where it is being viewed whether that is a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. This way you ensure your website is always looking and functioning its best for your viewers.

SEM

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) often gets bundled into SEO but it’s actually quite different. SEM is used to further your website’s reach by using paid advertisements and promotions. When you search for something in Google, the first three searches that pop up will often have, “AD” in the corner. These listings are examples of search ads and are paid marketing.

SEO

Having a basic understanding of search engine optimization is a must for business owners. SEO is sometimes referred to as organic search because you do not have to pay for your traffic. Instead of paying for ads, your website is optimized specifically for search engines. The better your website is optimized, the better your website will rank in the search results.

SSL Certificate

Early we explained that websites with the prefix HTTPS have been secured with an SSL certificate. SSL stands for secure sockets layer. It’s a standard security protocol used to establish encrypted communication between a web browser and a website. When a website is properly secured, a padlock symbol will appear at the beginning of the web address.

URL

The acronym URL is commonly used to refer to a website’s address. URL stands for uniform resource locator. In technical terms, a URL indicates the location of a resource as well as the protocol used to access it.

301 Redirect

When you move to a new house you have to have your mail forwarded to your new address. If you’re moving your website to a new URL or renaming your pages, you need to forward your traffic to the new URL so you don’t lose any traffic. This is because it takes Google some time to crawl and index your new URLs.

A 301 Redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. A 301 redirect will send visitors to the new address you have specified rather than the old one Google is still serving.

404

If you are familiar with 404 errors, then you’re probably familiar with the frustration that comes with it. A user gets this error when they go to a web page and the server is not able to find that specific page.

To put it simply, the link for that page is broken. As a business owner, you want to avoid these errors so that you don’t lose customers to the frustration of not finding the right page.

Now that you know the top web design terms, you can be confident in moving forward in designing your new website. Not sure what you want in your new website? Check out our article on what makes a business website successful.