The Web Design Dictionary – Understand The Lingo



The first thing you would notice when you plan to get a website designed for your business is that the professional web design agency or web designer your contract would bombard you with a heap of confusing words when discussing the development of your new website. Don’t panic, it’s a tendency of people in technology to use abbreviations they have for certain concepts, which may sound confusing at first. When meeting with your web design agency it’s important to be aware of what these terms are and what they mean, knowing what they are talking about has many advantages. Knowing the terms of the trade will help you understand exactly what your business website needs as well as the value of each feature or service, this way you wouldn’t end up paying more than you should.

Discussed below are some of the most common terms used in the web design industry and what they mean:

  • Domain Name: This is used to identify one or more IP addresses, and generally describes the name of the website. It is usually a part of a websites URL (top level) – For instance, in the URL the domain name is
  • Hosting: This is the service which stores all your website content in its entirety and makes it available for users on the internet. So your hosting provider will be responsible for the uptime of the website and will generally store all website files, images, text, video and code. Your hosting provider is generally the one who hosts your emails as well.
  • DNS: One of the many acronyms in technology, this one stands for ‘Domain Name System’ – this is the internet’s way of converting alphabetic names to numeric IP addresses. So basically it is the system that translates the website URL into an IP address which is used to identify the server hosting the website.
  • Responsive Web Design (RWD): This is the website design that allows your website to adjust or render properly on various screen sizes. This is essentially an important aspect of web design in order to make your website mobile compatible for both phones and tablets. This is something to consider especially if you are designing a new business website.
  • CMS: The acronym for Content Management System, the CMS is something that is sometimes built into the website back-end (what visitors don’t see). The CMS provides you with features to add, edit, upload images on pages of your website without having to know how to code. A commonly used CMS platform is WordPress.
  • SEO: One of the most popular words thrown around lately and for a valid reason – SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is the process of optimising your website for search engine bots in order to achieve better organic search rankings
  • CTA’s: Also known as ‘Call to Actions’ are words and phrases that direct a website visitor into performing an action on the site. CTA’s are vital in improving the conversion rate of your website in order to improve sales or leads.
  • HTML: This is the primary code base used to develop a website along with a combination of others. This programming language is the foundation of website design.HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language
  • Hyperlink: This is the name given to a link on a website, it can be an internal link or an external one. Internal links connect pages on a website to another page on the same site, whereas external links connect pages on a website to a page on a different domain /website.
  • URL: Another commonly used acronym which stands for Uniform Resource Locator, the URL is also known as the website address. For example Web Choice Online has the URL
  • Navigation: The website navigation is the set of links throughout the website that guide a visitor to the different pages on the site. The navigation includes the main menu bar at the top or side, icons, buttons and even the footer links along the bottom.
  • Breadcrumb: The breadcrumb list on a website is the path a visitor takes or the hierarchy of the particular page. This is usually displayed along the top of the page. An example of the breadcrumb for this page would be:
    Home > Blog > The Web Design Dictionary – Understand The Lingo
  • Banner (Slider): This is the term used to refer to the images or videos along the top of the page. If it’s a ‘slider banner’ then it would be a slide show of images or video which rotate
  • Meta Tags: These are the tags on a page that web browsers and search engine crawlers can see. This is generally a combination of information about a specific page, for instance the title, the description and keywords. These are quite important especially for SEO in order to improve search rankings on a page.
  • Heading Tags: Similar to the meta-tags these are vital for SEO and must be thought out carefully. The heading tags are a variation of tags that break down the headings within the page content. For instance the main heading (most relevant for SEO) would be within what’s known as an h1 tag
  • Sitemap: This is basically the page structure or blue print of a website essentially based on the website navigation and content. It’s always a good idea to plan out your sitemap prior to design in order to understand all the pages you require and how they relate to each other. It is important to include both an HTML sitemap (for visitors) as well as an XML one for search engine crawlers (again SEO related). This is good for writing content as well.
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