The jargon we use at the office might not be something business owners, marketing personnel, or the average Joe understands. It's a technical world filled with strange words, but that's why we're here.
- You’re looking to expand your knowledge on websites and thought this might be what you're looking for.
- You were creeping on the Onsharp site or one of our social channels and one of our posts caught your eye.
- You’re about to embark on a web development project and are Lost with a capital L.
Regardless of how you got here, I want you to leave at least 1% more versed on website terms than when you first arrived. To make sure that happens, I’ve put together a quick glossary of some of the most common terms we use in our industry. These definitions will equip you with the knowledge you need to move into your own development project.
There’s No Place Like Home
Let’s start with the homepage. It’s usually the first impression your business makes as visitors enter your website, so it’s incredibly important to provide a great experience for these users and to knock their socks off with an amazing design.
A header is the top part of your website that doesn’t change as you navigate to different pages. The header usually displays your navigation bar and logo, but it can also include a shopping cart, your phone number, social media icons, or a search bar.
A sticky header (also called a fixed header) is a website navigation bar that’s locked in place so that it doesn’t disappear when the user scrolls down the page. It's useful because it's accessible from anywhere on your website without having to scroll back up to the top of the page.
The footer is the bottom part of your website that doesn’t change as you move to different pages. A number of items can be displayed here, such as contact information, services, or a subscription form.
A hero spot is the first image visitors see on your page. With most website templates, you have the option to choose between having a single hero spot image or multiple rotating images. Rotating images are also known as sliders. Here, you can see that Kilbourne Group's In Good Company has a hero spot that contains a condensed version of what they're about/their most important information.
More Important Terminology
You should be feeling 1% smarter right about now. While the homepage is an important part of your website, you should understand what other items are called on the internal pages of your website. Keep reading to get 2% smarter.
Content refers to everything that's visible on your website—not just the text. This includes images, graphics, forms, words, videos, and files. Basically, anything you see is considered website content.
Content Management System (CMS)
A content management system, normally referred to as a CMS, is an application that businesses use to support and create content on their website. We use a CMS called WordPress to develop a majority of our websites. From its ease of use to its ability to be mobile responsive, WordPress has a special place in #TeamOnsharp’s hearts, not to mention almost 80 million websites on the Internet. We also use Umbraco for more developer‑friendly and customizable websites.
Call to Action (CTA)
A call to action, more commonly called a CTA, is a clear place on your website for users to take an action. Links to other pages on your website, buttons, contact forms, and social icons are common CTAs. CTAs are important to have on your website because they prompt your visitors to engage with your website by making a purchase, downloading a free resource, navigating to a contact page, or an endless amount of other possibilities.
A best practice for any type of website is to include a CTA on your hero spot since that’s the first thing people see. Remember In Good Company's hero spot? We made sure they follow this rule. Their CTA takes the form of a button that says, "see available space."
Domain Name Service (DNS)
In a nutshell, the DNS tells all web traffic where to go, almost like a traffic director. It will usher you to the website you’re looking for, as well as deliver emails to the appropriate locations.
When we say "go to the back-end," we're suggesting that you access the CMS to make content updates, publish blog posts, update software, and download widgets, among other things. It's very important to know how to navigate the back-end of your website.
Your website must be hosted on a server to work. A server is the Popeye of the computer technologies world; they're able to store massive amounts of data, including your page URL, CSS, and a lot of other things. When someone clicks on a link to your website from any browser, it sends a request to the server your website is hosted on. The server retrieves the information requested. Ta‑da! Your users can access your website.
Pop Quiz! Just Kidding.
That’s all I have for today, folks. Take your knowledge, pass it on to your friend, your friend’s friend, and maybe even your grandma Doreen. If we didn't answer all of your questions about website terminology, let us know.
Ready to start your own project?
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