What the web? 8 common website terms explained.

Website builds come with a huge amount of new and confusing words and phrases. Here we outline a few of the terms so you can start to make sense of the process.

1. Wireframe

A wireframe is really just a fancy word for blueprint. Wireframes are useful tools for plotting the structure of a new website, such as where the blog goes, when to show testimonials, and so on. They range from ‘low-fidelity’ (hand drawn) to ‘high-fidelity’ (computer drawn) and help organise how much copy actually needs to be written. Skipping this step is risky, as we explain here.

Although they may seem simple, even a basic wireframe helps save time and money in the long run.

2. Call-to-action (or ‘CTA’)

A call-to-action, or CTA for short, is another fancy word for a button, however with one key difference. A CTA typically appears at a point along a user’s journey where a decision needs to be made, for example at the end of a page, or in the main homepage banner.

A CTA will usually appear at a decision point, such as this example on the homepage.

3. Content Management System (CMS).

A CMS is the part of the site where you make edits to text and images. WordPress is probably the best-known CMS, for example, and makes it easy for site owners to quickly and easily add and edit pages on their website.

4. Front-end/Back-end

Here we’re simply talking about what people can see, versus what they can’t see on your site. Front-end refers to all the visual stuff a website is made up of, like pictures, text, etc. Whilst back-end is the stuff behind the scenes, like the Content Management Systems (CMS), server, hosting space, etc.

Front-end development and Back-end development are two different and specialised disciplines, so it’s important not to lump them together when talking about ‘developers’!

What you see (front-end) and what you don’t (back-end).

5. Hosting

Hosting is a hard one to wrap your head around, so best to think of it as buying land to build a house on. If your website is the house, your hosting is the land – and you need the land to put the house on!

Hosting comes in many shapes and sizes, but just like land, you will need to pay a fee each year for upkeep. You get what you pay for with hosting, with cheaper hosts bundling your site in with thousands of others to keep costs down. The better and more expensive hosting packages silo your site from everyone else, improving speed, storage and security.

Cheaper hosting is typically fine for most businesses, but enterprise customers must go big here – this is not the area to be penny pinching!

The average website is typically hosted alongside 1,000s, if not 100s of thousands, of other websites, and can lead to speed issues.

6. ‘Above the fold’

This is an old phrase from the newsprint days, and literally means the top part of the newspaper’s first page, folded over. It’s the part that carries the headline story and on the web, it basically means the same thing; the part of the website that’s visible when the user first visits.

What appears above the fold on your site should ultimately be the essence of your business, distilled into a simple message and call-to-action. Putting too many things here clouds and confuses users, so keep it simple!

The first visible part of the newspaper – or website – is ‘above the fold’

7. SSL Certificate

SSL is all about the little padlock in the URL bar at the top of your browser. Having an SSL certificate is crucial for SEO and Security. Google will punish you if you don’t have one! The good news is they’re easy to get, and free for all our clients unless they specify a super-duper security requirement.

All reputable sites have the little padlock icon in the top of your browser. Beware if it doesn’t!

8. Favicon

The favicon is the small icon in the tab of the site you’re on. Typically it’s just a small version of your logo, like this site!

Favicons are often a forgotten detail, so make sure you stipulate it as a deliverable in any project.

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