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Easy to understand definitions of sometimes-confusing website terms

By Erin  |   Websites: The Basics

dictionary of website terms

Blog

A Blog combines the words “Web” and “Log”.  A blog is a section within a website (or it can exist as its own website) where people share their thoughts, tips, commentary, knowledge, or experiences. You're actually reading a post in our very own website improvement blog right this second.

People and businesses use blogs for a wide variety of purposes.  Some people keep personal blogs that act as online diaries, travel logs, or journals.  Some businesses have blogs in which they post updates and information about completed projects, upcoming events, latest products, and/ or industry knowledge.  Blogs typically encourage interaction by allowing readers to post comments, suggestions, and questions on individual entries.  High quality blogs are typically updated with new content on a regular basis. 

Browser

Very simple! A browser (or “web browser”) is a program that allows you to surf the web.  Though there are many web browsers, the most popular browsers are: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome.  A simple way to determine what browser you use (and what version) is to visit http://www.supportdetails.com and look at the text inside “Web Browser” box.

Content 

Content is the heart of a website. A beautiful website without content would be an empty website, indeed. Your website’s content is the information it shares with your website’s visitors. Website content comes in an infinite variety of forms: text, videos, maps, audio clips, blog posts, downloadable files, photos, charts and graphs, spreadsheets, testimonials, illustrations, etc. Though excellent design will assist your efforts, it’s primarily your website’s content that educates your visitors and tells your story.

CTA 

CTA is an abbreviation for “Call to Action.”  Calls to Action are sentences and phrases that tell your website visitors what actions they should take. Example CTAs include:

  • “Download our questionnaire!”
  • “Schedule your free consultation today!”
  • “Watch our 2 minute demo video.”
  • “Call (xxx) xxx-xxxx and reserve your spot at our November seminar before it’s too late!”

Even if your site has a professional website design Without CTAs, a website acts more like a passive brochure than a marketing tool that generates additional sales.  Review your current website now: have you included CTAs on every page? Are you guiding your site visitors and telling them what actions they should take?

Domain (or “domain name”)

There’s little reason for you to know the actual, technical definition of “domain”.  When someone asks you what your domain (or domain name) is, just tell them your website address. 

For example, if you asked us what the domain of our Colorado website design company what our domain is, we’d answer: followbright.com.  Contrary to what many people believe, you can never buy or own a domain name.  Instead, you can register a domain name in your name for 1 to (incredibly) 100 years at a time. By registering a domain, you are essentially renting that domain name; you do not own it.   Keeping in mind that registering a domain name costs a certain amount of $ per year, you can register as many domain names as you would like at a registrar (see registrar definition below).

Firefox

Firefox is a common browser (see definition above) that people use to surf the web. Alternatives to Firefox include Internet Explorer, Safari, and Google Chrome. 

FTP

We could tell you what FTP stands for and how FTP works, but you’d most very likely forget this information within a few moments (and in all likelihood you’d not be any better off even if you did remember it!). 

Here’s how you can think about it: FTP is the process that allows people to put files, photos, and web pages up onto their websites.  FTP allows people to replace web pages or photos with new versions.  FTP allows people to delete pages and photos and files from their websites.  It allows people to pull down copies of web pages from their websites onto their computers. 

However, FTP is not related to the actual editing/updating of the web pages or photos themselves—people use other programs to update and edit their webpage, files, and photos, then use FTP to put those web pages, files, and photos up onto their websites.  Someone can use FTP to manage your website only if they have the following three pieces of information: FTP server, username, and password.  Your host company (see definition below) is where one can find these three pieces of information. 

In sum: FTP allows people to connect to and add, update, or remove files from their websites.

Web Host 

A host is a company that gives your website its little plot of land on the internet where it can exist.  While your domain name (see definition above) acts as your website’s address so people know how to find your site, your host provides you with that actual “virtual land” on which your site sits.  Without hosting, your website has nowhere to “sit”—and therefore cannot exist.  If your hosting expires, your website will no longer be available on the web for people to see.  In other words, no website can exist without hosting. 

There are many, many companies that provide hosting services, and there are many hosting plans to choose from, each offering varying amounts of space, levels of support, and (unfortunately), levels of trustworthiness and quality.  It is not uncommon for websites using bargain-priced hosting services to go down regularly and to receive (very) below-par tech support.

IE

“IE” is an abbreviation for Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is a common browser (see definition above) that people use to surf the web. Alternatives to Internet Explorer include Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. 

JPG

Just like “doc” or “pdf”, a jpg is a type of file.  Typically, a jpg is a photo.  Sometimes you will see jpg written in all caps (JPG); alternative ways you may see jpg written are: jpeg, .jpg, .jpeg, JPG, JPEG, .JPG, or .JPEG.  They are all the same thing.

Registrar

A registrar is a company with a website that allows you to register domain names (see definition of “domain” above).  Just as there are many grocery stores that offer the same products, there are many, many registrars where one can search for and register the same domain names.  If domain name xyz.com hasn’t  been registered by anyone else, you may go to any registrar and register it for 1 or more years.  Popular registrars include GoDaddy.com, Register.com, and NetworkSolutions.com.

“Web Page” vs. “Web Site”

You may hear people suggest that you visit their “web page.”  What they are actually suggesting, though, is that you visit their web site.  A web site is a group of individual web pages. 

Web site is often written as one word: website.  Web site and website are the same thing.

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