Web Design Glossary A to N
In our web design glossary, you’ll find some definitions and explanations of website terminology, such as Content Management System and Search Engine Optimisation. To move through the alphabetical list quickly, use the Index below.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N
Anchor links allow you to jump from one part of a web page to a specific point further up or down the same page. Anchor links have been used in our website glossary to help you skip to a letter of the alphabet and back to the top of the page. See your SiteSuite User Guide for more information, or contact Support. See also hyperlink.
Application Service Provider (ASP)
We make our Content Management System available to you via the Internet when we host your website. All you need is a computer with an Internet connection; you don’t need to download any software or buy new hardware. This gives small to medium-sized businesses inexpensive access to specialized software that only large companies could afford in the past. Supplying software applications in this way (on demand, over the Internet) makes SiteSuite an Application Service Provider. We provide on-going technical support and we maintain and upgrade our software and servers so that you can concentrate on running your business. This allows you to limit your website costs via a fixed monthly or annual fee.
Application Service Providers are not to be confused with Internet Service Providers, such as Telstra or Optus, who provide Internet connections for homes and offices (e.g., broadband, dial-up and ADSL connections).
A blog (web log) is an online diary. By focussing on a particular topic (e.g., being a new parent), bloggers can communicate with a niche market. Blogs that are frequently updated and provide useful or entertaining information are usually indexed on a regular basis by the search engines (e.g., Google). For these reasons, many businesses use blogging as a marketing tool. Blog posts (diary entries) can be grouped by topic and date. Most blogs display the most recent post first. Blogs attract an audience — and regular readers — by the nature of their content and by allowing visitors to post comments (thereby providing an interactive element).
See web browser
As you surf the Internet, your computer stores copies of pages you have visited on its hard drive. This speeds up the process of browsing the web. When you hit the 'Back' button, instead of going all the way out to the site and back, your computer will show you a copy of the page that it saved earlier. You may find that after publishing changes to your website, the changes do not appear on your screen. This is due to caching. If you have visited your own site recently, you may have a saved or 'cached' version of your site stored locally on your hard drive. To force your computer to retrieve an up-to-date version of the site, hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and press the F5 key. If you're using a Mac, hold down the Apple key and press the F5 key.
Cascading Style Sheet (CSS)
Website designers use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to control the appearance of web pages (i.e., the colours, fonts, headings, paragraph text, page layout, text alignment and spacing). Cascading Style Sheets are used to ensure that the pages within a site have a consistent appearance, and look similar to all website visitors, even though visitors may be using different web browsers and computer monitors.
Placing the style sheet in a separate file to the HTML web pages allows the designer to efficiently and quickly change the appearance of all the pages.
The use of style sheets in our websites enables SiteSuite's clients to maintain a consistent look throughout their web pages when using our WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editor. Selecting from the list of heading and paragraph styles within the SiteSuite page editor allows clients to use the same fonts, font sizes and colours that the designer used in the style sheet.
Content Management System (CMS)
A Content Management System such as SiteSuite’s allows you to edit and update your website. Through this interface, you can add text, images and hyperlinks and format the content of your web pages. A Content Management System may also be called 'a web page editor', 'website software', 'website management tools', etc. Some, like SiteSuite's, are also called a 'WYSIWYG editor' (What You See Is What You Get editor).
Search engines (e.g., Google) and website visitors favour sites that are updated frequently and provide useful text information divided logically across multiple pages. When you are planning a new business website, you need to think about how you will update it, who will be responsible for this and if the software you plan to use will allow you to add new features and functionality in the future.
SiteSuite's Content Management System has been developed over a period of 10 years and has been designed to be easy to use, so that no technical skills are required. There is no software to download; we make our Content Management System available to you over the Internet when we host your website. All you need is a computer with an Internet connection. We also offer on-going training and technical support for our clients. For instructions on using our Content Management System, see your SiteSuite User Guide, our Frequently Asked Questions pages or contact Support.
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description meta tags
Meta tags provide the search engines with additional information about your web pages. This information cannot be viewed by website visitors. A description meta tag provides a short summary describing what a web page is about. The description may include some keywords.
You can edit your description meta tag for every web page by using your SiteSuite website management tools. Each page should have a different description meta tag. Limit description meta tags to a maximum of 150 characters, including spaces (about 20 words).
The search engines often display the description meta tag in their search results, so it is worth taking the time to write a good description meta tag for each page. See Google's article on good meta description tags on their official webmaster blog.
Tip: Your page titles and the content of your web pages are much more important than your meta tags. Don't rely on your meta tags for good results.
A domain name is part of a web page’s address or URL. For example, SiteSuite's home page is http://www.sitesuite.com.au/. Our domain name is sitesuite.com.au.
You can create e-mail accounts on your domain name for stable, professional e-mail addresses. For more information on this, as well as e-mail addresses for multiple domain names and webmail for out-of-office e-mail access, see our handy-hints article, Better E-mail Addresses. SiteSuite provides e-mail, webmail and web hosting, as well as domain name registration.
domain name registration
You can hold a licence to use a domain name for a contract period; no-one 'owns' a domain name. You need to renew the licence, otherwise it becomes available to other businesses. You can register domain names through SiteSuite. We will remind you when your licence is due to be renewed, so you can protect your domain name.
You can register multiple domain names to protect your brand or business name (e.g. sitesuite.com, sitesuite.co.uk, sitesuite.com.au). Note: The Australian Domain Name Administrator oversees the use of .au addresses (.com.au, net.au, etc).
Even if you have already registered a domain name through another company (e.g., mybusiness.com.au), we can design, build and host your website without changing the domain name.
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SiteSuite websites that use databases create dynamic web pages on demand. What this means is that information is pulled out of the database and displayed as a web page when required. The information displayed depends on the actions of the website user. For example, an on-line store selling clothes might divide products into categories such as Tops, Pants and Accessories. If you go to the Accessories section, the database will create a web page that displays only accessories. If you then choose the Accessories sub-category Hats, the database will create a page that displays only Hats. See 'static pages'.
E-commerce websites are sometimes referred to as e-stores, secure online shops or stores. E-commerce software (such as SiteSuite’s Commerce Lite or Commerce Premium packages) allows you to sell your products on-line, accept payments using secure methods and generate invoices, etc. Alternatively, if you don’t want to take payments over the Internet, but you want to have a searchable catalogue of products, you can use a Commerce Lite or Commerce site and switch off the on-line payment function. Our e-commerce solutions incorporate a database for your products, as well as web pages for information about your business and services.
Email hosting means storing and transmitting e-mails through mail servers (powerful computer systems). SiteSuite offers e-mail hosting services so that you can create accounts on your domain name (e.g. email@example.com) for professional e-mail addresses. For more information on this, as well as e-mail addresses for multiple domain names and webmail for out-of-office e-mail access, see our handy-hints article, Better E-mail Addresses. SiteSuite’s products include Newsletter Manager for your e-mail newsletters.
Sometimes referred to as e-mail marketing, e-newsletters or e-mail campaigns, e-mail newsletters allow you to stay in touch with your clients, advertise promotions and specials and offer useful information. E-mail newsletters can save you the printing costs associated with traditional printed newsletters and brochures. Site Suite’s Newsletter Manager enables you to control your mailing list and send out professionally designed graphic HTML e-mails to your clients, giving them the option to subscribe or unsubscribe at any time.
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Flash animation & animated GIFs
Animated graphics, effects, slideshows and movie files created using Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) or animated GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format images), which create visual interest on a website
forums, discussion forums, fora
Forums (also known as message boards or bulletin boards) allow website visitors to chat with each other by posting questions, answers and comments on a website. Most forums are split into different topics of conversation (e.g., Pregnancy Tips, Caring for a Newborn, Caring for Toddlers, Fertility Issues). Posts (messages) may be arranged by date, or linked by a discussion thread (conversation). Forums can be supervised by someone appointed as a moderator. Forums drive traffic to a website by creating an online community of people brought together by a common interest or a need for information, support and entertainment.
Hyper Text Mark-up Language (HTML)
HTML is one of the ‘markup’ languages (codes) commonly used by website designers to create web pages and determine their structure and appearance. Using SiteSuite’s Content Management System, you can edit and update your website without having to learn HTML. If you are proficient in using HTML and want to edit the code used in the content area of your web pages, you can do so by clicking on the ‘Edit HTML Source’ icon in your web page editor.
Hyperlinks are tools for directing traffic around your website. There are three basic types of link: internal, external and anchor links. Internal links connect pages within your own site, helping visitors and search bots navigate through your site. External links connect your website to other sites, such as affiliates or associates. Anchor links connect one area of a web page to another section of the same page.
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Interactive websites attract visitors by allowing users to communicate with each other, express opinions, vote on a topic, search for the information they need, choose what information they want to receive via e-mail, forward information and images to each other, submit queries, etc. SiteSuite’s plug-in modules can be added to your website to make it more interactive. Examples include SiteSuite's Polls Manager (on-line opinion polls), Forum Manager (on-line discussion groups), Newsletter Manager (users subscribe to newsletters according to their interests), Gallery Manager (send an image to a friend), Custom Forms (request a quote, send queries and feedback, complete questionnaires), etc.
'Interactivity' is sometimes used when referring to animated graphics created using Flash or animated GIFs, which create visual interest, but don't necessarily allow users to interact with a website.
Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Internet Service Providers such as Telstra and Optus can provide an Internet connection for your home or office (e.g., broadband, dial-up and ADSL connections).
SiteSuite provides web hosting, e-mail and webmail hosting, as well as website design, development, e-commerce and Content Management Systems. For an Internet connection for your home or office, you will need to contact an Internet Service Provider.
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JPEG or JPG
A JPEG (pronounced jay-peg) is a photographic image using a computer file format created by Joint Photographic Experts Group. This is one of the preferred file formats for images on the Web.
Keywords are words or phrases that people might use to search for your type of business, products or services when using Search Engines and you should use them carefully in your web pages, but not excessively. The term is often used in discussing Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing. For example, someone looking for a photographer for their wedding might go to Google and search for ‘wedding photographers’, ‘wedding photography’, ‘professional photographer’, ‘wedding photos’, ‘photography studio’, ‘Melbourne photographers’, ‘Sydney photographers’, etc.
When choosing keywords for your web pages, you need to consider factors such as how potential customers might describe your products and services (they may use different terminology), how many of your competitors are using the same keywords and what keywords are unique to your business or location. The keywords you use must be relevant to the products and services you provide and you should not overload your web pages with keywords, otherwise you risk alienating your customers and being penalised by the search engines for ‘spamming’. If you offer a product or service that others don’t, you must make this clear. Businesses that have targeted a very specific niche market often perform better with their keywords. It’s also important to note that search engines look for web pages that have content relevant to the search term (e.g. 'Sydney photographers'), not websites.
keyword meta tags
Meta tags provide the search engines with additional information about your web pages. This information cannot be viewed by website visitors. Keyword meta tags are words and short phrases that you think people might use when searching for your type of business.
You can edit your keyword meta tags for every web page by using your SiteSuite website management tools. Ideally, each page should have different keyword meta tags. Meta tags should reflect the content of the page (i.e., don't use words in your meta tags that aren't used in the page content). Limit your keyword meta tags to a maximum of 150 characters, including spaces (about 20 words). Separate keyword meta tags with commas.
Tip: Your page titles and the content of your pages are much more important than your meta tags. Don't rely on your meta tags for good results.
Tip: Description meta tags are more important than keyword meta tags. (Some search engines ignore keyword meta tags.)
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For the difference between 'menu labels' and 'page titles' (title tags) in your SiteSuite web page editor, see our website management tips, Better Page Titles