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Web Glossary

Above the Fold
Items on a web page that appear without requiring the visitor to scroll. Since the “fold“ varies depending on browsers, monitor size and other factors. Often this term is used to imply that items should be put near the top of the page. 

Accessibility
Web accessibility is the practice of making a web page’s content available to all people regardless of technology or disability.  This practice includes using alternative text on all images, refraining from the use of sound and video and using proper tagging for key elements.  The W3C has a full list of  guidelines can be found here.

Address Bar
The top line in a browser window which typically displays the site URL (http://yoursite.com).

Auto-responder
An auto-responder is an application triggered when a user sends email to a specific address or submits a web-form.
Auto-responders can provide an automated email response to inquiries from potential customers. Such an email may contain price lists, a touring schedule or demonstration dates.
More sophisticated auto-responders can be configured to send follow-up correspondence, keeping your organization "top-of-mind".

Back Links
Incoming links to a web site.  Search engine algorithms often take the number of back links into account when establishing search placement for a web site.

Blog or Web Log
A blog (short for "web log") is a web page that offers a series of posted items (short articles, photos, diary entries, etc.) and typically, a searchable archive of old postings. Blogs have become a common medium for communication in professional, political, news, trendy, and other specialized web communities.

Calls to Action
A request for a web site visitor to perform some act or action.  It could be signing up for a newsletter, filling out a questionnaire, purchasing a product or any other act that the website owner specifies.

CAN SPAM
This is the U.S. law that regulates commercial e-mail. It stands for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003.”
Violation of these rules is subject to fines up to $11,000.
The act requires email marketers to include the following in email messages:

  • The subject line must clearly communicate the content included in the body of the email.

  • Emails can not contain misleading “From” or “To” information. Domain names, email addresses and routing information needs to be correct.

  • There must be a way for customers to “unsubscribe” or “opt-out” from receiving messages. If a person opts-out the company has 10 days to stop sending them messages. This unsubscribe option needs to be available for at least 30 days after the email is sent.

  • All commercial emails must include a physical address.

Additional provisions included with the CAN-SPAM Act force email marketers to comply with the following or face criminal charges:

  • Email addresses need to be legitimately obtained. Addresses can not be made up by combining common names, letters or numbers. Commonly called a “dictionary attack.”

  • Email messages can not be sent to “harvested” email addresses. For example, addresses collected from forums or chat rooms are considered harvested lists. A popular, yet deceptive practice was to harvest email addresses then sell the list to legitimate companies.

  • Emails can not be sent through a computer or network without permission.

  • Companies can not use scripting or other automated ways to register multiple email addresses.

  • Commercial emails can not be sent through another computer with out authorization of the owner.

  • Companies can not falsely represent themselves as owners of multiple IP addresses.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)  
A way of visually organizing website content using table-less design. 

Click Through Rates
The number of clicks on an ad divided by the number of times an ad is viewed  multiplied by 100.

Cookie
A message from a web server to your browser which is stored on your computer. The main use for cookies is to provide customized Web pages according to a profile of your interests.

Content Management System (CMS)
a web interface that allows the web site owner to make changes to his/her site without the need for a web professional. 

Conversion Rate
The number of unique conversions divided by the number of unique visitors multiplied by 100.  The conversion rate is a measure a web site's success.

Cross Browser Compatibility
The act of making a site look the same (or very similar) in all web browsers.

Domain Name
The name of the a website URL (i.e.:  yoursite.com).  Domain name selection is the first step in web site development.

Fuzzy AND
In ranking of search results, documents with all terms (Boolean AND) are ranked first, followed by documents containing any terms (Boolean OR). The farther down, the fewer the terms, although at least one should always be present.

Hosting
Storage space on a remote computer with direct access to the internet.  An example of a hosting company would be GoDaddy.

HTML
Hyper Text Markup Language is the primary markup language used in the development of web pages.

Internet Protocol (IP)  Address
Numerical identification assigned to a specific computer.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)
A company that provides customers with access to the internet.  An example of an ISP would be Qwest.

Internet Browser
The software used to view websites.  Popular browsers include Internet Explorer, Fire Fox, and Chrome.

Keyword/Key Phrase
Strategic words or phrase related to a site’s content.  Keywords are used  in site optimization, web site advertising and to improve site relevance.

Keyword Density
A term referring to the number of times a keyword or key phrase is used on a web page.  Ideal keyword density should range between 1% -  7%.  A 1% density is achieved by using the keyword once for every 100 words.

Landing Page
The web page on which a visitor lands after clicking an online advertisement.

Link Building
The process of establishing back links to a web site in order to improve search engine visibility.

Long Tail
A term used in Search Engine Marketing referring to the use of more descriptive advertising terminology in order to reduce per click costs.

Meta Tags
HTML elements that contain information regarding what the web site is about.  See the Meta Tag Tutorial.

Multi Variant Testing
A/B  testing with a series of variables.  Google Optimizer is a free testing environment – all you need is an ad words account to start testing.  The most common variables to test are :

  • Headline
  • Main Picture (including the caption)
  • Page Length
  • Position of Subscription Boxes

Refresh
Web site data is often stored in a computer short term memory (or cache) in order to make it easy to retrieve at a later time.  If updates have occurred since your last visit iti may be necessary to “refresh” you screen.  This is done by holding down the <CTRL> key while pressing the refresh button near the address bar.

Robot.txt
A robot.txt is a permissions file that can be used to control which web pages of a web site search engines index.

RSS or RSS feeds
Short for "Really Simple Syndication", refers to a group of XML based web-content distribution and republication (syndication) formats.  Primarily used by news sites and weblogs (blogs). In order to read RSS feeds, you must use a "feed reader", which formats the XML code into an easily readable format.

Search Engine Optimization
The practice of improving a sites visibility with the search engines.  It is a compilation of keyword/key phrase selection, meta tags, and content relevancy.

Search Engine Marketing
Also known as pay per click or paid inclusion, this is an advertising medium where the web site owner pays a fee per click on their advertisement. 

Site Map
A list of web pages available for crawling.

Stemming
In keyword searching, word endings are automatically removed (lines becomes line); searches are performed on the stem + common endings (line or lines retrieves line, lines, line's, lines', lining, lined). Not very common as a practice, and not always disclosed. Can usually be avoided by placing a term in " ".

Title Tag
Meta Tag for the page title.  Search Engines give title tags additional weight when determining search placement.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
Your website address (eg:  http://www.yoursite.com)

Usability Testing
Usabilty testing is the process of using a small demographic sampling of your audience to preview your site. Each tester tells what they like, what they don't and what causes them to leave your site. This form of testing helps you make meaningful changes to your web site from a users point of view.

User Experience
The emotional impact that a website has on it’s visitors.  The following are proven ways to enhance the user experience (and thus improve conversions):

  • ease of navigation
  • soothing color palette
  • clear calls to action
  • strong value propositions

Value Propositions
A promise to the website visitor that they will receive some reward for completing a call to action.

Web Analytics
Compiled data regarding website visitors that is used to improve sites optimization and conversion rates.

Web Robot/Web Spider/Wanderers/Crawlers  
Computer robot programs, referred to sometimes as "crawlers" or "knowledge-bots" or "knowbots" that are used by search engines to roam the World Wide Web via the Internet, visit sites and databases, and keep the search engine database of web pages up to date. They obtain new pages, update known pages, and delete obsolete ones. Their findings are then integrated into the "home" database.

Most large search engines operate several robots all the time. Even so, the Web is so enormous that it can take six months for spiders to cover it, resulting in a certain degree of "out-of-datedness" (link rot) in all the search engines.

Web Usability
The ease in which a visitor can navigate through a website. 

 

WIKI
Technological collaborations where users or group members are invited to develop, contribute, and update the content of the wiki. The most famous wiki is the Wikipedia.