Website Design Terms You Should Know

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We have spent the last couple of weeks talking about different website design options and the way that you can work with a website designer, so today I wanted to go over some website design terms you should know. A lot of these terms may be familiar to you, but you might not be quite sure what they mean. These are all terms that a designer might use when you’re having a conversation, whether you’re interviewing them or getting some tips, but they are also going to be using these terms when working together on a one-on-one design.

You can find all these terms and definitions in the show notes for easy reference. All these terms are commonly used in website design. Some are more technical and things you might need to know in your analytics and others are common terms you have probably heard, but aren’t sure what it means for website design.

  1. Above-the-fold – everything that can be viewed on your website without a visitor having to scroll
  2. Back end – the part of your website hidden from regular visitors. This is where the code is located and you make updates
  3. Backlink – a link from another website to your site. Helpful for SEO, especially from high-ranking sites
  4. Bounce rate the percentage of people who leave your website from the same page they entered without clicking any other links. Indicates how easy a site is to navigate. You want your bounce rate to be as low as possible
  5. Browser – the program a website visitor uses to view the website (safari, Firefox, google chrome, internet explorer)
  6. Cache – files that are copied or saved by a browser so the page loads faster the next time a user visits that same page
  7. Call to Action –text, image, banner, or button that uses persuasive language to encourage a visitor to take a specific action like go to another page, purchase, or sign up for a newsletter
  8. Copy – the words you use on your website
  9. Content Management System (CMS) – a backend tool for managing the site’s content. This makes it easier to update the content without changing the design and functionality
  10. Conversion – when a user takes a specific desired action related to marketing or lead generation. This includes submitting a form, subscribing to a newsletter, and making a purchase
  11. CSS – Cascading Style Sheet, how your website looks. Visual set of rules.
  12. Domain – the address of a website can include any combination of letters, hyphens, and numbers, ends in .com, .net, .org, etc.
  13. E-commerce – the buying and selling of goods online. These can be physical products, digital products, or services. If you want people to be able to purchase through your website, you need e-commerce functionality
  14. Favicon – a small customizable icon that displays in the web address bar
  15. Front-end (user interface) – the components of a website that a visitor can see, including pages, images, content, etc.
  16. Hexadecimal (hex code) – a base-16 numbering system used to define colors online. Can include numerals 0-9 and letters a-f. Your brand designer should be able to provide these to you.
  17. Hosting – the business that provides storage space for your website
  18. HTML – HyperText Markup Language, the language of the web. This is how your website tells the browser what to display.
  19. Hyperlink – a link from one web page to another, either on the same site or a different one
  20. Infinite scrolling – infinite scrolling means that all page content is loaded onto one page and is separated into sections (Facebook timeline, Pinterest)
  21. JavaScript – scripting language that allows for interactions on a page
  22. Landing page – the page where a visitor first enters a website. Creating a special landing page to encourage a certain action is common, especially when coming from social media or a guest post.
  23. Meta description – html code that store information about a web page, including a description, author, copyright, etc.
  24. Navigation – the systems that allows visitors to move through your website. The most important pages are often listed in a main menu at the top of a website and navigation is also often included in the website footer
  25. Optimized Images – images that have been saved to a size and resolution that makes them load quickly and still display well on a website
  26. Pageview – a request for a web page from a server by a visitor’s browser. Basically, a pageview means someone looked at your website
  27. Permalink – a link that is the permanent address given to a blog post. This means that even as the blog page changes with new content, each individual post has its own link.
  28. Platform – the framework on which a website is designed (WordPress, Squarespace, Showit, Shopify, etc.)
  29. Plug-in – a third party code that extends the functionality of a website
  30. Resolution – the physical number of pixels displayed on a screen
  31. Responsive design – design that adapts to a user’s device (and ideally to their context such as language, age, knowledge, country, etc.)
  32. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – things that help search engines understand what is on your website and display it to relevant searched. This includes title tags, meta descriptions, and content
  33. Split Testing (A/B Testing) –testing method this allows designers to see which design has better results based on the website’s goals
  34. User Experience (UX) – the interaction a visitor has with a website. Every aspect of a website’s design affects the user experience and should be thought out and at least major elements should be tested
  35. Website Strategy – website design that is based on promoting certain goals
  36. Wireframe – a visual guide to show the layout and content of a website without any design elements.
  37. 404 Page – the page a visitor sees when they try to reach a page that does not exist

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