Glossary: Online Marketing & Web Development Terms

For your convenience, here is our list of terms & vernacular used when discussing a business’s online activities:

A/B Testing – Sending two versions of an email or other marketing material with only a small difference between the two, and then seeing which one generates better results. The changes in the better-performing material are often kept in mind for future use.

Above the Fold – The portion of a website or content that people see immediately before they scroll downwards. This space is usually seen as being very important since it’s a website’s only chance to grab the user’s attention when they first visit a page.

Adaptive Web Design – a website that has several specific constructions for screen sizes, and switches between them for larger and smaller screens. (see Responsive Web Design below). Learn which is best for your website, adaptive or responsive design.

Affiliate Marketing – A performance-based marketing strategy where an affiliate or partner to a business is rewarded for each visitor or customer purchase brought to a business.

ALT Tags – HTML tags that decide what text is displayed when hovering over an image. These are also categorized by search engines and are important for SEO. Aids people with visual disabilities in using webpages.

Anchor Text – The text that links to a separate website or webpage.

App – short for application. It’s a program or piece of software made for a particular purpose, such as a game or a service. Especially popular on mobile devices.

B2B Marketing – Marketing aimed at selling products from one business to others.

B2C Marketing – Marketing aimed at selling products to consumers.

Backlink – A link from another site that links back to a business’s, which improves the business site’s visibility and search rankings.

Black Hat SEO – Methods to improve a site’s search engine rankings that are seen as prohibited by search engines, which will greatly damage a site’s rankings or get it banned from engines if discovered.

Blogging – Regularly publishing content that can contain informational and/or editorial text, images, videos, or other media. Businesses often blog to attract customers by publishing topic-specific content that’s of interest to customers. See key considerations of having a business blog.

Bounce rate – The percentage of visitors to a site who leave the site after visiting only one page. A low bounce rate indicates that users are clicking to multiple pages within the site.

Breadcrumbs – the sequence of links or webpages that a user has clicked on to get to the specific webpage they’re visiting on a website. Ex:  Home > Women’s Clothes > Shirts > Casual Shirts > Specific Item

Cache – Reserved areas of memory in a computer used to speed up operations, data retrieval and updates. It’s often recommended that users “clear the cache” regularly for optimal performance.

Client-Side Scripting – The area of web design and development referring to code that affects user experience. This is typically what users directly deal with on a site, such as the layout of a webpage, what it looks like, and how they interact with it. Coding languages used in this are often HTML, CSS, and Javascript/jQuery.

CMS (Content Management System) – A system in a website that lets users manage and organize the content on a website, so the website owner or administrator can make updates, add photos, etc.  without having to involve a technical expert. Commonly used ones include WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.

Content – Information or media produced by a company for online sharing, that’s meant to inform or entertain users. Good content can lead to engagement, sharing, loyalty, traffic and sales, along with better search engine rankings.

Content Marketing – Publishing content that markets a business by attracting and informing readers about a specific topic. It often takes a longer time to build an audience, but also creates greater customer loyalty and enthusiasm.

Conversion – The act of converting site visitors into taking action, becoming paying customers or long-term visitors. Examples of this are when a user purchases a product or subscribes to an email listing.

Conversion Rate – The percentage of visiting users that are converted to paying customers or long-term visitors out of the total number of visitors to a website.

Cookie or Cookies – Data recorded on a browser when a user visits a website, that captures their visit to the site, and is then used to customize their experience with the site.

Cost Per Click – Pertaining to paid online advertising, the specific price the business/advertiser pays whenever someone clicks on an advertisement or link for their business.

CSS – A coding language that controls the style elements of a page, such as an element’s size, shape, color, and location.

Call to Action (CTA) – Part of an advertisement or piece of online content that requests a specific action from a user, such as sharing an article or subscribing to an email list.

Click Through Rate (CTR) – The percentage of people that click on a link or advertisement out of the total amount of people who view it.

Data Scraping – A technique where a computer program automatically pulls data from other sites and programs based on specific parameters.

Database Management – Software or services that focus on viewing, analyzing, managing and updating information in databases.

Directory Listings – websites that provide a list of sites or resources about a specific subject or in a specific geographic area, and which companies sometimes submit their websites to be included. Ex: Yelp.

Domain Name – The identifying part of a website that connects all of the webpages within it. Ex:, Each website’s domain name is unique.

E-blast – an e-mail message sent out simultaneously to all recipients on an e-mail list.

E-commerce  – Product purchases or transactions done with a business over the internet; involves paying directly through the business’s website. Online shopping.

E-mail Marketing – Marketing a company’s  message or product via mass promotional email blasts and/or informational e-newsletters, using a company’s email list or a purchased list.

Facebook – a social network that focuses primarily on connecting people to people they know in real life, and also allows them to follow pages related to their interests, and upload and share different types of media.

Geo-Targeting – Determining an online user’s geographic location, and delivering specific content or advertising based on that location.

GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) – An image format that supports both still and animated images.

Google Adwords – an advertising service by Google that allows businesses to display ads on Google and any site in its advertising network based mainly on keywords. Businesses set a budget in advance, pay only when people click on their ads, and their service ends automatically when their budget runs out.

Google Analytics – A popular Google tool that lets people monitor the number of people who visit a site, how they located it, the most popular pages, and many of other metrics.

Google+ – a social network created by Google that allows users to join online communities, post updates visible in Google searches; can help improve a company’s search results.

Guest Blogging – Publishing blog post on other related sites in order to expand one’s reach and appeal to different audiences.

HTML – A coding language that creates the skeletal outline of a webpage and its basic content.

Hyperlink – A section of text on a website or within an email that links to a separate website or webpage.

Inbound Marketing – Using various acceptable online marketing strategies that draw users to the site, i.e., creating content that’s relevant to users, blogging, etc. Learn more about inbound marketing.

Infographic – a visual image, chart, or diagram that uses graphics to explain or represent information. Often long-form and uses different icons and imagery to walk readers through complex topics or data.

Instagram – an image-focused social network that allows users to use different filters for various photo effects.

Javascript – A coding language that controls the interactive elements of a webpage, such as actions triggered by clicking on buttons.

JPEG or JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) – A file format for digital images, typically large file size  photos with high pixilation or number of colors, good for “high res” requirements.

jQuery – A coding language with the same basic functions as Javascript, except with a library of functions that makes it easier and simpler to write for webpages.

Keyword Search – A search that looks for documents with the same keyword or keywords specified by the user.

Keyword Stuffing – The blackhat SEO practice of inappropriately loading webpages with keywords so it’ll rank higher in search engine results. This is often done by filling pages with popular keywords or placing keywords out of context. Search engine companies such as Google find sites doing this and ban them from their search rankings for life, so it’s generally discouraged.

Landing Page – The initial web page people see when visiting the site from another site, such as when they click on an advertisement or search result. Can be a homepage or a page with specific targeted information pertaining to the link that drove the users there.

LinkedIn – A social network specifically  for business networking; users make connections with other professionals, follow companies, join groups based on business interests, talk with fellow users, search job postings and much more.

Long-tail SEO – Building a webpage to have a specific URL pertaining to the content on the page, to help it be indexed by search engines for that topic. These topics are often searched less frequently but reach a more targeted, niche audience.

Magento – An e-commerce platform owned by eBay, made very popular by its versatility, wide arrange of extensions to improve functionality, and infinite designs possibilities, which allows it to work well for virtually any e-commerce business. See overview of Magento.

Meme – a humorous image or visual, often modified with slight changes such as adding a caption; they often spread widely online.

Meta Info – Information about a web page, such as the title and description, that isn’t immediately visible by the user but is referenced by search engines for keywords and information.

MySQL – A coding language used to create, organize, and manage databases that store important website information. Frequently written with PHP code.

Network Security – an area focused on protecting information shared between computers on the same networks, from local to global scales.

Newsletter – a bulletin or update periodically sent by a business with updates and content, often through email. Maybe similar to an e-blast.

Organic Search Results – using SEO to get naturally high rankings in search results, such as by posting regular, interesting content that search engines will place near the top for specific search terms.

Paid Search Results – includes: online ads consisting of an image and words that appear on a webpage; and paid search, where a company employs Google (or other search engine) paid keyword tools to help their website appear at or near the top of search results. These are marked with an “Ad” designation.

PHP – A coding language that lets webpages communicate with databases that stores important website information, such as allowing information filled out in forms to be added to a database. Frequently written with MySQL code.

Pinterest – An image-focused social network where users can “pin” photos onto different virtual boards. Pinterest is especially popular with women, and popular topics include do-it-yourself guides, fashion, interior design, and cooking.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics) – A file format for images. Commonly used for images that have a smaller file size and fewer details, such as less pixilation or number of colors.

Press Release – information formally released to the press for information on particular matters, such as major events or releases by a business. Can be distributed quickly via press release websites.

QR Code – A square code, that when scanned with a smartphone, leads to more information.

Remarketing – An online marketing strategy that targets ads to users that have visited a business’s website and then left, aiming to draw them back with ads focused on site content they’d viewed previously. More on how remarketing works.

Responsive Web Design – a website that fluidly changes depending on the size of the screen, so it is easy to use on a computer, tablet or smartphone (see Adaptive Web Design above). Learn which is best for your website, adaptive or responsive design.

RSS Feed – A feed that gathers and displays links to new articles and content from websites, so a user is continually updated on areas of interest to them. Using an RSS feed requires an RSS Reader, such as Feedly.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) – All forms of online marketing involving search engines, such as SEO or paid search ads.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – The area of online marketing referring to techniques and strategies to make websites and web pages show up at the top of search results for related phrases and keywords.

SEO Algorithms – The parameters search engines use to find and rank webpages. Most algorithms give higher rankings to sites that post new, original content more frequently and accessibly.

Server-Side Scripting – The area of web design and development referring to code handled on servers. This code is typically “behind the scenes” and not connected to the user’s experience, such as managing the site’s information database. Coding languages used are often PHP and MySQL.

Slider – An interactive web feature that lets users slide through a selection of images that often includes captions and links.

Social Media – Online media primarily created through user submission and sharing, making virtually all users active creators of content.

Social Media Marketing – Using specific online marketing strategies on social media channels to elicit more awareness, engagement, actions and business. See overview of what social media marketing entails.

Spider – Used by search engines to crawl through websites and gather information about its webpages, which in turn contributes to indexing and where a site ranks on search engines.

Tags – Words or phrases used to label and categorize individual posts on a website, which help both the page’s SEO results and organize content.

Tokenization – The process of taking sensitive information being sent online, such as payment information, and translating it into random characters called a token. This keeps hackers from intercepting it since they can’t decipher it, and saves time and resources businesses would spend to encrypt and protect the information normally. What you need to know about tokenization.

Twitter – a social network where uses can share brief updates of 140 characters or less, which can include links, images and videos.

URL – The specific web address needed to visit a website.

Viral Content – Content posted on a website that becomes very popular and is shared rapidly, generating large amounts of views and becoming a main topic of conversation.

Web Browser – The browser that Internet users use to view websites, popular browsers include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Safari. Functionality varies based on how each browser interprets web pages, and default and user-defined settings.

White Hat SEO – Methods to improve a site’s search engine rankings accepted by search engines that positively affect a site’s search rankings.

WordPress – A highly popular content management system (CMS) that’s used for many types of websites, such as business sites, personal blogs, etc., where an administrator can easily add content and make updates, without needing programming expertise.

WordPress Plugin – A file that gives a WordPress site enhanced functionality, allowing great customization for many WordPress themes and designs.

WordPress Theme – A pre-made design and set of functions for a WordPress site that people can use, customize, and manage. While a WordPress account can have many different themes at once, only one can be activated at any given time.

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