Originally Published November 2020
In this video and blog, we’ll talk about website terms and jargon you need to understand when building your website.
After watching today’s video, you’ll be able to relate a lot of the website terms your designer or developer is using to ideas you’re already familiar with with your physical storefront, making it easier to understand what you’re getting with your money.
Let’s learn how to understand website jargon, together.
Also, be sure to check out our video on “How To Understand Website Jargon” if you prefer to watch rather than read.
There are tons of website terms which can be confusing to business owners. You’ve got a lot on your mind on a normal day with billing, operating your business, scheduling shifts – now throw onto the pile managing COVID-19 restrictions, health protocols, and possibly homeschooling your kids at the same time.
It can be hard to have a minute to digest what a website designer is really saying to you.
So I’m going to go over 8 pieces of website jargon you’ve likely heard or are going to hear while being pitched for a website, or during the website building process. I’ll try to relate each piece of jargon to something you’re already familiar with – a brick-and-mortar store analogy.
When you’re building a website, your website developer may have a “Theme” they’d like you to use. No, it’s not your 11th Grade English Literature class “theme”.
Think of it instead as opening a business inside an existing building. The structure is there, what your web designer plans to do is customize it for your business – lighting, window dressings, framing out some rooms maybe.
The Theme is really just a layout of an existing website, making it faster for the web designer to get you moved in.
Your website developer may also offer a “custom” website.
Think of this as a new construction building – you’re getting everything customized to your exact specifications, built from the ground up. It’s more expensive and it takes longer, but then everything is done just as you wanted.
You’ll need to work with a domain provider to get your website live on the internet.
What’s a domain? Think of it as the street address for your brick-and-mortar store, except it’s relatively customizable.
Your domain provider can help you find the exact website address you want your website to live at, i.e. businessname.com or name&city.org, as long as no one else purchased it first. That’s right, there is a cost to getting the domain/address you want, and an annual cost too.
A host is someone that owns the servers that the information of your website exists on.
You have to pay them annually – think of it kind of like property tax paid to the city or state in order to use the property your store is on.
5. CMS – Content Management System
A CMS is really the set of building materials you plan to work with.
Are you building with lumber framing, steel, or concrete? Are your walls going to be made of sheetrock, plaster, or stainless steel?
Each choice adds to the security of your building, but also adds to the complexity to make changes in the future, like hanging new pictures.
The same goes for CMSes – different ones offer different customizability and security features.
Say you already have a store front open, but you’re moving to a new one – you need to notify the post office, your utilities, your clients, and more.
Well in the website world, you set up a redirect from olddomain.com to newdomain.com and voila, your old website redirects to your new website.
Redirects can also be small-scale, single page. So if you have a page titled newdomain.com/2019-sale, you can redirect it in 2020 to newdomain.com/2020-sale, and anyone who goes to the 2019 page automatically gets sent to the 2020 page.
A responsive website is one that can change size and layout according to what size device is looking at it.
This is similar to say, a brick-and-mortar store having an entrance that works for wheelchairs and legs, or a set of bathrooms that is unisex and handicap accessible and has a changing table – no matter who is using it – once designed right – it just works for everyone.
8. SEO – Search Engine Optimization
When you open a new brick-and-mortar store, you need all of your advertising, in-store signage, and street signage to be consistent and descriptive so people can find you, and, once in your store, find exactly what they’re looking for.
That is essentially what Search Engine Optimization does for your website. Without SEO, people have to guess blindly by the name of your website as to whether you supply the product or service they need, or even serve their geographic area.
I hope this video on how to understand website jargon can make you more informed while purchasing or developing your website.
Check out our other Marketing Monday videos in our YouTube playlist to help you learn how to develop your website and handle digital marketing for your company.