Glossary Of Internet Marketing Terminology

Harborne Web Design websites are typically composed using a variety of programming languages and techniques.  If you are interested in the terminology you might hear while researching web-development or designers, we include a brief glossary below.  Please note that some terms may have other meanings within or outside the Internet.

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This refers to how easy it is for people with various disabilities.  For example, having black text on a white background is usually easier for people with less than perfect vision to read than clashing or low contrast text/background combinations like lime-green on beige.  The way a website is built also has knock-on effects to how intelligibly  a screen/text-reader (used by severely visually impaired users) will render the site.  Old, poorly coded sites may be impossible for disabled people to use and even contravene laws on presenting information without discrimination to all users.

This is a paid service where you pay Google to show a short advert and link to your site when people search for certain keywords.  It can be useful for getting an initial flow of clients to your website and helps to overcome the delay in ranking which your site may experience when first made ‘live’.  Unfortunately, the more competitive the market for your product or service is, the more each advert will be or the more seldom it will be displayed.

A system whereby Google places adverts on a website and pays revenue to the site owner when users click through those advert links to make a purchase.  The trade-off is that website visitors may be distracted from your content and browse elsewhere after following the link.  For many websites, these adverts are viewed as an annoyance and generate little income in return.

The combination of code types (usually) Javascript, XHTML, PHP and AJAX allows pages and items on a page to update without reloading the whole page.  Using AJAX can help sites to work quicker and with a more slick result.

In web terms, an anchor is a link to a particular section of a page. Often used to allow a link to progress a page to the relevant section, anchor links can be used instead of scrolling from one block of content to another.

The amount of data transmitted to you across the Internet from a webserver so that you can view a page.

A backlink is simply a link from one website to your own.

A browser which runs on a machine and displays websites off the Internet in the form they were meant to be viewed.  Popular browsers include Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari  and Opera.

A click is when the user presses their (left) mouse button in order to view content related to the page they were on when they clicked. This can be mean different things depending on context.  The number of ‘clicks’ is also used to described how many people have clicked an adword campaign or promotion on a website.

The type of colour system commonly used by printers when rendering an image on a solid reflective surface such as paper.  Almost the reverse of the RGB system used to create colour as light on a monitor screen.  For CMYK systems, the higher the value of each colour, the denser it is and the darker the overall result will be.  Black is described as K as B might be confused for Blue (as in an RGB system).  The K actually stands for Key as black is the key colour in most printed documents.

Usually a description applied to an image, video or audio file, compression means that the file has been made smaller by removing some details, though it should remain the same in scope and physical dimensions.  Compression is usually lossy, that is some information is discarded, although some formats incorporate a ‘lossless’ compression.  At best, formats such as .mp3 aim only to throw away details which are imperceptible by the user, at least compared to uncompressed sounds played over the same target medium.

Although used in subtly different ways in most sales domains, conversions are the number of prospects who actually contacted the client or bought their service or product.

Using special documents called cascading style sheets can help to make code more efficient and easier to work with.  Essentially these documents contain information about the way various elements of a webpage should be displayed

A domain name is the name of a website such as It may contain the letters a-z and the numbers 0-9 as well as the minus sign ‘-‘.  Typically a domain name must be at least three characters in length.

The top level domain means the code that comes after the main part of the domain name and is meant to mark what the purpose and geographical area of the website is.  A website is meant for companies in the UK.  A .org website is meant to represent an organisation.  Dot Com websites such as were originally designed for American companies, though many websites around the world use the .com suffix.  Nowadays a .com website may be as likely to mean a website with global appeal as a US oriented website.

A form of ‘Electronic Mail’ which allows users to send large volumes of text, often with multimedia attachments from any Internet connected computer to another.  Different mail providers have different limits.  These are best overcome by using an email ‘client’.  Some email users visit a website to send emails and others, (particularly businesses or people who receive a large volume of emails) use email clients which run on their computers.

An email client is a program which stores or synchronises all of your email from the Internet onto your computer.  They make it possible to archive any number of emails, and the attachments (files, photos, videos etc) sent with them.  Popular examples of email clients are: Outlook, Windows Live Mail and Thunderbird.  Paid for examples such as Outlook may have the best security and integrity of email archive for your peace of mind.

Email marketing describes the practise of sending emails to potential clients who never actually ordered from you or existing clients with a view to increasing their order value or frequency, or simply to raise your profile with them.  This involves capturing email addresses or using those on file to make contact as part of a promotional campaign, special offer, or in exchange for using a resource provided on the website.  Emails sent as HTML may contain many elements common in webpages such as images, video and text.  Autoresponders are server based mechanisms which allow promotional emails to be sent out, their frequency and delay between successive emails are setup and then the mechanism automatically makes sure they are sent out as desired.  Useful to some clients as part of a campaign, particularly if they have special offers or new services.

The last bit of content shown on a webpage when it loads up.  Beyond that point you have to scroll to see the rest of the content.

A type of image file mosst suitable for graphics rather than photos as it gives the best results when it contains areas of flat colour.  It also has the benefit that parts of the image may be left transparent.  The PNG has largely deprecated the GIF as it can show images with varying degrees of transparency.

Modern websites use a lot of technologies which simply weren’t invented when websites were first build.  That means that people viewing a website on an older browser will have a reduced experience and fewer features will be available to them.  A website that degrades ‘gracefully’ will still present a useable website to older browsers while providing the optimal experience on the latest one.  There are limits to how far a website can be developed to work on older browsers.  Proof of this is the fact that Microsoft itself will not support any version of Internet Explorer before version 7.  Eve Firefox – one of the best and most compliant browsers available on major platforms since its inception – has problems with older versions trying to display modern code.

Humans normally use base 10 (decimal) to count, the numbers 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 are used. Hexadecimal is base 16, a number system where the numbers are represented by 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 a b c d e f. So 15 in decimal is 0f in hexadecimal.

Often when people talk about hits on a website, they mean how many ‘unique visitors’ the site / page has had in a given period.  Sometimes they mean the number of ‘pageviews’ . Techincally this is incorrect. A hit is actually any file loaded by a server to create a webpage.  Each page can easily be made up of tens or even hundreds of files.  Each time they are loaded, tens or hundreds of hits would be recorded.

The basic currency of the Internet, almost all websites are built from a variant of HTML.  Harborne Web Design sites are dynamically developed and rendered in XHTML Transitional code.

Text on a page which the user clicks in order to go to another page.  The hypertext is essentially the words displayed in the hyperlink and a ‘link’ can be thought of as the two combined to make a clickable way to view other information.

The word impression is used to describe the appearance of an advert on a page.  The number of impressions of an advert is essentially the number of times it has been seen.

The internet is a vast collection of machines which are connected and allow communication between users and services run on machines (usually called servers). A part of the Internet often called the World Wide Web how most users access websites.  Other parts of the Internet are used for email, multimedia and transmission of files of all kinds and other forms of communication.  Most types of Internet usage have their own associated protocol.

Servers on the internet are usually located by their domain names (eg which resolve to an IP addresses.  The IP is a series of numbers (most usually four groups of four numbers separated by a fullt-stop) such as:

Javascript powers a wide range of forms, effects and processes which take place in real time on the user’s computer.  This type of code can be used for a myriad of applications, such as making images fade and scroll smoothly or allowing various applications to run on websites, Javascript is the best supported client-side code.

An image format that works exceptionally well for photographs or graphics with many colours such as colour gradients.  Suitable for high levels of compression the .jpg format is lossy and therefore the higher the rate of compression, the lower the resultant image quality will be.

Usually when we talk about keywords, we mean words used to search for content because they are highly relevant to it.  For example, if we were searching for a shop selling spanners in Birmingham city centre, we might type ‘spanners Birmingham city centre’ into a search engine.  Discovering the best keywords to attribute to our clients services is part of the process of Search Engine Optimisation which our clients typically employ us to carry out on their websites as we build or rebuild them.

A term used to describe a key-phrase which draws a small number of visitors to a site/page.  Generally the people visiting your site through a long-tail keyphrase search are more likely to be looking for something you are offering as the search matched several words close together as they appear on your site.  The phrase may be used simply to describe low-traffic keyword searches that have lead to your site with no implication of higher conversion rates.

Meta Data is information about the webpage it is part of. Broadly used by search-engines to augment their interpretation of page’s content. Meta Tags are ways to include specific pieces of information in a webpage such as copyright information, the author of the page or a description of the page and website. Search engines often use ‘Meta Description’ tags to form the summary of the search results for a given page.

The aim of almost any business / commercial website is to attract visitors to convert from prospects to clients. The best way to do this in the long term is to achieve high ranking on search-engines for search results related to your service. You can buy adverts to do this though it is often expensive in the long-run. Natural or Organic results are purely the result of the search-engine’s heuristics and interpretation algorithms concluding that your site is worthy of a high rank. There is no payment to the search engine for providing this high ranking. Usually though, SEO work is usually required to ensure that the information on the site is phrased in such a way that people’s key-word searches lead them to your website.

Pagination or paging is simply the technique of breaking information down into shorter lists that are displayed sequentially on separate pages.  The information can be of any type, text, libraries of files, images etc.  The terminology draws on the analogy of a book where a story is read one page at a time.

PDF files are documents in a format created by Adobe (creators of Photoshop amongst other programs) for information exchange.  Similar to an electronic printout of a document, a PDF may contain text, links, images and more.  The PDF file is useful as almost any computer in the world can read it using free software.  The PDF format is also widely accepted as a print-ready format for publication of documents as it is platform-independent.

We are delighted to offer photographic services for any type of business, product or service.  We use Digital SLRs and resize, compress and process images for use on the Internet so they load quickly on any connection.

The most popular and ubiquitous server-side web-programming language in the world, PHP allows websites to dynamically respond to the user.  We use a variety of coding mechanisms to allow functionality such as ‘online contact forms’ and to allow us to rapidly alter websites as required.

Clients who wish to update their own sites over time can opt to have their own proprietary Content Management System developed which allows them to easily maintain their own text and images, affecting the website content instantaneously.  We can also develop custom code to run many website applications.

Technically a picture’s element (pic’s el) this is essentially the smallest dot your computer’s display screen can show and change (independently of its neighbours).  The number of pixels across and down that a screen can resolve is known as its resolution.

The word platform essentially means the type of computer and software websites are designed for or viewed on.  For example, this article is being written on an Quad Core, Intel based PC, running Windows 7 and using Firefox 5.0.  The configuration described is is a relatively tight definition of the primary platform use to create the Harborne Web Design website.

A relatively recent type of graphic format which allows high quality images to be compressed without degradation and displayed with varying  degrees of transparency.  The transparency of the original 8 bit PNGs was similar in scope to a GIF although it worked with full colour images.  Modern PNGs allow 255 levels of transparency and are used on websites and also sometimes in video.

Most types of Internet usage have their own protocol.  A protocol is a method for communication between users and a server, in other words, the way that they talk to each other.

HTTP is one such protocol, so when you see an address like it really means: Use the HTTP method to access the World Wide Web, find the site called and display it. HTTPS is the ‘secure’ variant of HTTP where information is encrypted for privacy or security.

Others include POP3 (Post Office Protocol v3 – used for receiving emails) SMTP(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), FTP (file transfer protocol), SSH (Secure Shell).  There are many other protocols.

This has two main meanings for web usage.  The more common day to day usage is simply an enquiry made through your website.  The technical meaning however is where a webpage requests content stored in a database using a set of conditions to specify exactly what must be retrieved.

The number of pixels per inch which a monitor (display unit) can show or a printer can print at.  Resolution is usually stated in two dimensions such as 1920 x 1080 which is the resolution of a TV or monitor which render films in full1080p HD.  The higher the resolution a monitor is capable of, the more pixels will be shown at a time.  When designing a website it is necessary to take an assumption of the baseline resolution at which the average user will view the website and create hte site to work optimally at this resolution.  At the time of writing, the minimum display resolution supported by many web-developers is 1024 x 768, somewhat better than the 800 x 640 display which was more common a few years ago.  In reality the average user has a higher resolution monitor that 1024 x 768, but enough users still use it to make it sensible to create a totally comfortable experience for them.

RGB is a colour display system where each picture element or pixel is defined by how much red, gree and blue it contains.  On a computer, the amount of each colour can be defined as any number between 0 and 255 inclusive.  So an RGB value for purple might be 255,0,255 since the colour contains lots of red and blue but no green.

RSS is a coding technique to make your website’s content available to news-reading programs (often included in email-clients) or other websites. RSS is a simple way for a business to keep clients informed of new products and services or industry news.

Most frequently used to describe the depth of a colour or its hue.

A snippet of code which permorms a particular function for a website.  Scripts are written in a variety of languages and may be run on the server (e.g. a PHP script) or on the user’s computer (e.g. a Javascript).

A search-engine is a type of website which holds large volumes of information about other websites and other online resources.  These can be rapidly searched by a visitor to the site using ‘keywords’ which are relevant to the site or resource they want to find.  Typically search engines are websites used to find other websites.  Without search engines, a user would have to know the exact ‘address’ of the page or website that they wanted to view and type it straight into the browser in order to get there.

To use semantic markup is to use tags which prefine certain components of a document rather than just its style.  For example, semantic title tags describe the purpose of given text as ‘title’.  The attributes of size and boldness which usually go along with those portions of a document are implemented by default as you would assume. Older tags such as (bold) and (italic) were depricated in favour of and to denote their function in strengthening the meaning of a piece of text and drawing attention to its presence in a document or emphasising it.  Semantic markup should be used to maintain the accessibility of a site as well as the clarity and cohesion of its code.  Needless to say, all Harborne Web Design sites are heavily reliant on semantic mark-up code.

SEO is the process of writing the content of a website in such a way, that search engines such as Google or Bing index them properly and gives them high rank.  A higher ranking means that your website is more likely to be displayed closer to the ideal first position on the first page of search results.

There are many techniques which are useful to optimise a website.  Keyword research to find how best to phrase your website content is just one of them.  SEO is not an exact science as search engines – especially Google – carry out frequent changes to their algorithms.  This means that the goal-posts are always moving and is the main reason why we recommend a program of SEO work to improve the rating of your website over time.

If email is one of the developed world’s favourite means of communicating, then ‘spam’ is probably the world’s most annoying source of ‘noise’.  Spam content is any content which is not desired.  There are three main types of spam emails.  The most innocuous are simple unwanted advert-emails, the worst are virus carrying emails or phishing emails which usually arrive unsolicited in your inbox.

Some spam-emails may contain viruses which get downloaded and run on your machine when you unknowingly click certain buttons thinking the content is safe and others may try to get you to disclose information which they use to try to access your financial or other services.

Often your email will have been scraped off a website by a web-scouring robot, or sold to a marketing firm with or without your consent. However they arise, spam-mails in your inbox are a major nuisance which not only waste your time, but cost the environment and the world a lot of wasted energy.  Using a spam-filter may protect you from many of these emails, but they can also filter out content that you wanted to receive.

Streaming media are files (usually video or audio) which are sent to the browser of a user from a server when a large file must be played sequentially.  For example, if you play a video from YouTube on your site, rather than downloading the whole file to your computer and then playing it, you may start to watch it almost immediately.  Successive parts of the video are downloaded to your computer as the first parts are playing.  This process is usually transparent and so the user experience is one of simply ‘watching a video online’.

Each element of a webpage can be defined in terms of its colour, position, the way it sits with other elements etc.  The properties of an element are defined by a list of properties called ‘styles’.  The most common and tidy way to do this is by restyling semantic elements and some custom elements in a style-sheet or cascading stylesheet (see CSS) which is linked to the page.  Separating style from content makes code easier to modify and understand.

Tags are elements of a page on the internet which mark the start and end of a type of content, such as a paragraph of text.  The content itself is held between these tags or within it.

The uniform resource locator for a page or web-element is its address on the internet.  For example: is a URL

Typically the word user simply means a visitor to your website or someone using a service on the internet.

Usually used in terms of compliance to ‘w3’ standards of HTML, validation of the code in a webpage tests how well that code complies to definitions of how HTML markup and CSS should be used.  Some rules are critical and failure to observe them renders webpages unreliable or unpredictable on some platforms.  Other rules form strict standards which are progressively being changed as browsers improve and methods and types of content delivery change.  The original rules are very rigid in order to increase the chances that a website will be accessible to all users.  Some of these rules are broken by necessity in order to utilise new technologies and ways of displaying web content, though often the rules are be broken because of sloppy coding.  Different browsers vary in how well they cope with uncompliant pieces of code which don’t pass ‘HTML Validation’.  Also see Web Standards.

Broadband means that most people can enjoy video streamed from sites such as YouTube on their computers.  Making a video to be used online involves resizing and compressing video footage once shot, this makes it run smoothly when uploaded to a server.  Harborne Web Design video is shot on high-end equipment at 720p or 1080i and is usually uploaded at 720p or provided for DVD distribution at standard PAL DVD resolution.  We usually recommend using YouTube video embedded on your website.  There are a host of reasons and marketing benefits in favour of hosting your video with YouTube.  Please see our video pages for more information.

A person arriving at your website from a search engine or typing in the address of your website into their browser. Often referred to as a user.

The web is the part of the Internet where users look at websites and their content.  See Internet for a broader description of electronic communications which take place in adjacent spaces to the ‘web’.

Traditionally, web designers were responsible for make the look of a website and how it worked.  Web developers turned those designs into websites that actually work and carry out the roles required.

In reality, web-designers and web-developers are often the same thing.  Apart from very large businesses, it would be unusual to find a web-designer who wasn’t fairly web-savvy and able to make their own websites.  You have to know how a website works or can work, before you design one, though the label Web-Designer usually means that worker is specifically skilled in the design part of the process.

Web-developers are so called because they develop a website, most often from start to finish, either alone or as part of a team.  Usually, a web-developer will be able to carry out more or less all roles in website creation.  The emphasis implied in the title is that the web-developer has a technical bias and also a role in the management of the development process.  Often however website-creation requires a developer to be artistic to a degree as well as technical as does the production of web-site multimedia.

Web-programmers are often responsible for similar roles to web-developers, although again, in large companies you may find someone who programs elements of websites and nothing else.  Programming is equivalent to writing a script for the cast of a play.  In this case though the programmer writes scripts for to tell the server or the users computer how to make a website behave or look, what information to use for a given page and how to retrieve it if it isn’t integral to the webpage.

A web-server is a computer which stores and ‘runs’ websites and allows people with an Internet connection to view those websites across the World Wide Web.

A website is a collection of pages stored on servers on the internet.  The site may contain information or entertainment in various forms and can be viewed by Internet users using their computer.  Websites are actually relatively complex combinations of code, documents, media, definitions of styles etc.  However these collections of files appear to the user – or should appear – as unified easyily understood pages, rich with information and engaging visual or multimedia content.

Web standards are created and maintained by a group of organisations called W3C (the World Wide Web Consortium).  They document the specifications of how web pages should be built, how markup code should be written and how browsers should interpret it.  The specifications mostly affect the various forms of HTML and CSS as well as XML.

The common name for the part of the Internet which people use to view websites on the internet using their computer – usually using a protocol called http.