A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Website Design Terms

I got this from a client: “I see a section in the proposal about CSS. Can you leave that out and adjust the investment? I’m not looking for style, my site is just a straight-forward business site, it has nothing to do with being stylish.”

After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I decided that a guide to web design terminology needs to be included with each proposal.

This way, technology language barriers don’t get in the way of designing and developing a great/working website. Here’s the beginner’s guide to website design terms:

Accessibility: Websites with high accessibility are those that are very usable by people with disabilities (i.e. visually, hearing or physically impaired or color blind).

Affiliate Program: An affiliate program is an agreement setup between two parties, (1) the marketer and (2) the affiliate/associate in which the marketer pays a commission for each lead or each sale that results from the affiliate’s efforts.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS):
A language that defines design elements on a webpage, such as font, color, and layout.

Dedicated Server: A Web server that is owned or leased by the business, giving the business most (or all) rights to use and control over the server.

DNS: Acronym for “Domain Name Service” which translates your domain name into your IP address so the server knows where to send the request when somebody types in your domain name.

Domain Name: The name used to identify a computer on the Internet. Your website’s domain name is mapped to its IP address.

Embedded Style: A CSS style that affects the elements on a single page and is written in the head of the XHTML document.

Exit Page: The last page a visitor views before leaving your site. It is analyzed carefully because it is viewed as the last chance you had to influence your visitor before they decided to leave your site for whatever reason. Therefore, it is important to test and analyze your exit pages to improve your website performance.

Entry Page: The first page your visitors see when landing on your website. This page is important because it is where visitors are being sent from search engines and other links. Improve your entry pages by using links and placing other important information for your visitors.

External Style Sheet: A CSS that exists as an external document and therefore can be referred to by other documents.

Fixed Width Layout: A layout with a set size which remains that size no matter how big or small the user adjusts his browser window. Often preferred by designers because of their ability to make adjustments and know exactly how they will look as the final product.

Heuristics: Rules of thumb that apply to web pages.

HTML: Acronym for “Hypertext Markup Language”, the code used to design web pages.

Hyperlink: A word, phrase, or image that connects or “links” the current page to another page. The user clicks on the hyperlink to get to the other page. When plain text includes hyperlinks, it is considered “hypertext”.

Inline Elements:
Elements in an HTML document that are found among the text. (A.k.a. text level elements.)

Keyword: The word(s) that is designed by the author of the website to get picked up by search engines. Keywords usually reflect the overall focus of a webpage because that is what a person would type into a search engine to find your page.

SEO: Acronym for “search engine optimization” and is the practice of designing a webpage for the best results (highest on the page) as returned by the search engines.

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