Glossary of Common Terms

Below we have explained some of the most common terms you’ll come across in online marketing and websites

A Record

The A Record is one element within the DNS (Domain Name System) of your domain name and is the element that directs your domain name to your website. 

Adsense

While Adwords allows business owners to advertise their website on Google search results, Adsense allos website owners to earn an income by displaying Google Ads on their website.

This is often how media publishers earn income from the traffic to their site as they can earn a small amount of income for every person who views or clicks on one of the ads displayed on their site.

Adwords

When Google created their free search engine back in the very late 90’s they soon realised that they needed to find a way to monetise their business.

Their solution was to allow businesses to pay to be at the top of the search results – Adwords.

Adwords allows advertisers to pay for their website to be displayed at the top (or near the top) of the search results for certain key phrases that they choose.

The system Google developed allows advertisers to bid on the position they want for the keyphrases they want and then every time someone searches for that keyphrase Google runs an auction with the top bidder often appearing highest.

However, other factors are considered when deciding on the position that your advert will appear, including the quality of the landing page on your website, the text you use in the advert and the physical location of the searcher compared to you.

Backlink

Backlinks are links from other websites to yours. It’s one of the elements that Google uses to rank your website on the search results.

Blog

Shortened form of Weblog, the blog became popular in the early 00’s as a form of self publishing on the web.

The most popular blogging platform is WordPress.

Cache

To save you repeatedly downloading the files for your most visted websites your browser stores a local cache on your computer.

Sometimes, your browser will display a slightly older version of a website page instead of the most recent which is why you may not always see the most recent changes your web designer has made to your website.

Refresh your browser a few times in order to clear the cache.

Content Management System (CMS)

Content Management System is an application that manages the pages of your website.

A CMS will allow users (administrators) to log into a secure area of the website and add, edit and remove pages or other content on the website.

There are many Content Management Systems but the most popular ones are :

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Google Sites
  • Magento
  • Drupal
  • DotNetNuke

WordPress is by far the most popular – currently running over 25% of the websites in the world and is our preferred CMS for our client websites.

Conversion

When someone completes a form on your website, or purchases something from your ecommerce shop that is considered as a conversion.

But, a conversion can be other things – in fact it’s any action that you want your visitors to take and can track easily (such as visiting a specific page on your website or entering their email address in your newsletter list).

CSS or Cascading Style Sheets

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) hold the instructions that the HTML that your browser uses to style the pages of your website.

For example, your HTML will describe that your page should show a heading (using the command <h1>Your Heading Text</h1> and your style sheet instruction will describe the font, colour, size and position of the title <h1>.

DNS

DNS is an acronym for Domain Name System.

The DNS allows administrators to control how their domain names works. It’s mainly used to allocate the website where the domain name points to and also as part of the settings to make email addresses work.

Domain Name

Every website needs a domain name. Without it you would have to navigate to a website using a series of numbers.

Thankfully, when the world wide web was created the original team decided to use an easy naming convention as a signpost to each website which is why we’ve ended up with website domain names such as www.bbc.co.uk, www.mashable.com and even www.lobsterdigitalmarketing.co.uk.

Domain names come in three parts.

  • There’s the ‘www’ part which is often not used these days
  • The word or name part – the bit between the dots (e.g. ‘lobsterdigitalmarketing’)
  • The .com or .co.uk part – officially known as the TLD or Top Level Domain.

The TLD’s are controlled by country allocation through organisations such as Nominet in the U.K. and ICANN in the U.S.

For more details about domain names and why they’re important see our blog post What is a domain name and how does it work

Hosting

In order to be viewed by the public, the files that make up your website have to be stored on a server that has access to the internet.

This is commonly described as your hosting.

Think of it as a folder on a hard drive that sits on a server.

Often your hosting is on a server with lots of other websites – this is known as ‘shared hosting’ and is the most common form of hosting available to regular websites.

Every website requires hosting and a domain name to work.

HTML or Hyper Text Markup Language

HTML or Hyper Text Markup Language is the language that your web browser (Chrome, IE, Firefox etc) understands and uses to display your website.

HTML describes the construction of your web pages (the layout) and CSS describes the colours and fonts that the pages use.

MX Record

The MX Record is part of the DNS settings for your domain name and is the element that controls the path to your email server.

PHP Language

The web browser you use only understands HTML and CSS instructions.

The problem with these languages is that they are not dynamic and so if you want to display content that changes (for example, a list of products in a shop) you need a lot of pages.

PHP is a language that your the server where your website is hosted understands and it is this that creates the HTML for your website.

PHP is able to interrogate a database and create the HTML that displays your website.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

When search engines were first created they relied on humans to add and edit entries on their database.

As the number of websites grew, automated methods of finding and ranking websites were needed – the first versions of this relied heavily on the keywords used by website designers to describe their websites.

Unfortunately, website designers started to use keyphrases that were popular to describe their websites rather than phrases that were actually relevant, thus spamming the search engines with incorrect entries.

To combat this, search engine companies such as Google developed more and more complex algorithms to identify, understand and rank websites.

Understanding how search engines algorithms work is a fully blown industry and applying that knowledge to websites is known as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.

There is two sides to SEO :- On Page Optimisation and Off-site optimisation

On page optimisation is the work that goes into setting up your website so that it’s easy for the search engines to understand exactly what the site is about. This is normally done just once and is usually carried out by your website designer.

Off site optimisation is the work that is carried out to create links back to your site – doing so demonstrates to the search engines that your site is popular and worthy of high ranking in the results when searched for. This work is ongoing and can take many months or years to get your website to the top of the search engines depending on how competitive your industry is.

Social Media Management

Social Media Management is the term often used to describe the action of regularly updating social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook etc.

Social Media Managers will often be the person responsible for the regular updates of Facebook and Twitter for brands and companies.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress that turns your website into a fully featured ecommerce website.

WordPress

WordPress is the world’s most popular Content Management System for building and maintaining websites. WordPress allows website administrators to update everything about their website and uses a system of THEMES to style the look of the site.

There are many themes available, often free, that you can apply to your WordPress website to easily make it look the way you want. 

There are also a huge number of additional features that you can add to your WordPress site using the Plugin option within your administrators dashboard. These additional features can add turn your website into almost anything from an ECommerce shop to a Property Management platform.

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