Photo Credit: Pace.oregonstate.edu

Effective marketing is digital marketing – and these days, business owners are getting a crash course in digital media as they look for ways to expand their business and enhance their marketing strategy. The cornerstone of digital media is web design. Even if you’re working with a digital marketing firm, it’s best to develop a basic roster of terms. In this post, we’ll cover the essential glossary of web design terms every entrepreneur should know.

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  1. Above the Fold – Back when news media was print media, the stories that got the most attention appeared “above the fold,” or right at the top. News sites use this same format today, placing trending stories near the top of the browser window or mobile screen. For marketing purposes, think of it as the headline, and consider which information and features you want to prioritize.
  1. Back End – Think of the back end as “behind the scenes.” A website’s back end generally consists of three parts: a server, an application, and a database. Some sites may also incorporate a separate management system. An administrator has access to this back end system, and website administration typically involves using this interface to make any necessary changes to the public-facing site.
  1. CTA (Call to Action) – This marketing strategy uses a clear directive that encourages a visitor to perform a specific action. Formats can vary – CTAs can appear as anything from a link to a form, and actions can be anything from encouraging users to download a document, add their contact info to an email list, subscribe to a blog, like a social media page, or call to schedule a consultation. They key to a successful CTA is to make the directive clear and the action as streamlined as possible. For this reason, most CTAs incorporate a link, button, tab, or other “click through” design features.
  1. Domain Name – A domain name is your unique online address, the unique website address that typically ends in .com, .org, or .net. Generally, businesses try to purchase domain names that are as close to their company name as possible, to avoid confusion and make sure that their web address is easy to remember.
  1. Front End – This term is the counterpart to “back end,” and it refers to the part of your website that serves as a user interface that customers can see and interact with. If “back end” translates to “behind the scenes,” then this is the online equivalent of the “storefront” or “showroom.” You may hear this term in conjunction with “user experience,” which we’ll cover in more detail below.
  1. Hosting – This is the process of placing your website onto a web service, so that it will “go live,” or become active and accessible to the public. You may also encounter terms like “hosting fees,” or the regular cost of maintaining an active website on a server.
  1. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) – This refers to a coding language used by web designers to insert formatting instructions into a document intended for publication on a web page. HTML cues include everything from hyperlinks to italics to captions. Some websites – WordPress, for example – include HTML “buttons” to make it easier for users to modify content like blog and social media posts.
  1. QA (Quality Assurance) – This self-explanatory term refers to verifying the “front end” effectiveness of your website. QA best practices involve testing every aspect of your website on all available browsers – Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome. Does the copy read well? Are images the right size? Are text links, social share buttons, and previews working?
  1. Responsive Design – Also sometimes called “mobile friendly,” a responsive website has a theme designed to be responsive on all devices, including tablets and mobile devices. Users searching for your company on smartphones will find a mobile-friendly version of your website. With the increase of mobile conversions and mobile consumer usage, this is an absolute necessity.
  1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – SEO consistently incorporates industry-specific, searchable keywords and links into the content published on your website, with the end goal of improving your site’s search engine rankings. Effective SEO means that customers searching for a company like you will see your site first.
  1. Sitemap – A map of your website. Sitemaps can be extremely detailed, including images and buttons, but may only include the most important content published on the site. Your digital marketing company will likely have their own standardized practice for creating and maintaining a sitemap, and it can be customized according to your needs and preferences.
  1. UX (User Experience) – Like customer or client experience, this refers to the way users interact with your website. How does your audience engage with your site? In digital marketing terms, a “user experience” determines the business targets for your site. For example, are you focused on transactions, referrals, lead conversion?
  1. Wireframe – If the sitemap is the “inventory,” the wireframe is like a rough blueprint, a streamlined design layout of the internal structural hierarchy established within the sitemap. A wireframe functions as a way to organize and structure information for key pages on the website, and can be used to determine which content is most crucial.

Writing original content for your site?  Read our guide to writing the perfect blog post!

Like every highly skilled profession, web design has its own special jargon – and new vocabulary can seem daunting to “newbies” encountering it for the first time. This minidictionary should help you familiarize yourself with digital marketing and web design, so that you can be a more effective partner in the management of your own digital marketing strategy.

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Are you interested in learning more about in-person and digital correspondence and other forms of business communication? At Square 1 Group, we make it our business to create multilayered technology and marketing solutions for our clients, tailoring our approach to your team. Contact us for a consultation today!