The non-techy person's Digital Glossary

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  Many of our clients have felt embarrassed to ask, so, here it is – a glossary of the terms we think a non-techy person will possibly find useful. 


Adwords – Google’s online advertising programme whereby you pay to get your site advertised.

Avatar – a graphical image or likeness to replace a photo of a real person.

Banner – a description for the area above or at the side of a webpage (usually used for adverts).

Blog – short for ‘web blog’, is a web page(s) which typically contains entries in reverse order with the most recent at the top. Blogs can contain text, photos, images or videos.

Browser – a browser is a software programme that displays information from the World Wide Web. They include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox to name a few.

Browser cache – when going to a page on a website, your computer will check its cache folder first to see if it already has those images and, if so, it won't take the time to download them again. This makes for a faster loading of the page.

Code – this is generic name given to computer programming or mark up language used on the web.

CTR – click through rate - a measure of the success of online advertising achieved by dividing the number of clicks on a web page or online ad by the number of appearances of that webpage/online ad (i.e., number of impressions).

CMS content management system – a software system usually implemented as a web application for creating and managing content on a website.

Conversion – referring to the percentage of, for example, visitors to a website who actually go on to purchase something/make an appointment etc.

CSS cascading style sheets – a flexible system of rules that govern the appearance of content on a web page. Most modern websites separate content from style to simplify coding making revisions. 

Domain name – this is a unique name/address that is assigned to a specific machine or IP address (see IP address below). You could think of it as something like a PO Box address pointing to a specific postal address. It’s usually split into three parts.

Part 1: this consists of the 3 ws - www. (which stands for world wide web)

Part 2: this is your unique chosen name – e.g. bluehorizonsmarketing

Part 3: this usually defines either the type of organisation or geographical location of your website e.g. or This is often referred to as the ‘Top level domain’.

When put together, it provides the identifying address of a website i.e. This can then be used in your browsers address bar to find a website.

Dynamic content – information in web pages, Flash movies, email, e-newsletters, etc., that changes automatically based on database or user information.

Favicon – an image appended to a domain name by a browser to make it stand out (usually a logo or other branded element).

Feed – a stream of updated content.

FTP – short for file transfer protocol – the means by which files are transferred.

Hits – a poor measurement of activity used in Web analytics, a hit is defined as any request for a file from a Web server. If on one page you have four images and two JavaScript items you'd record six hits for every web visitor.

HTML – short for hyper text mark-up language – the programming language that defines how web pages are formatted and displayed.

Hyperlink – a navigational reference to another item or page on the internet.

Impression – the exposure of a clickable advert on a website to one individual person.

Inbound link – Ann inbound link to your website from a different website. 

IP address – short for internet protocol address - a unique 32-bit number given to identify each device (such as a computer, server or router) so that they can communicate with each other on the internet.

ISP – short for internet service provider such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk.

JavaScript - the most popular scripting language on the internet

Keyword – a word which is identified by a website owner as being important for users of a search engine in finding their website.

Keyphrase – a phrase which is identified by a website owner as being important for users of a search engine in finding their website.

Keyword density – refers to how many times a word/phrase appears on a page.

Landing page – A custom web page designed to convert visitors into leads or sales. Email, banner ads and even offline outbound marketing campaigns drive traffic to a landing page to capture information or trigger a sale; also called a destination page, splash page, destination URL, or target URL.

Link building – linking your site to and from other sites in order to improve search engine ranking.

Metatags – are elements within the HTML code of a web page that contain specific data about it.

Microsite – An individual web site or cluster of web pages designed to promote a specific product or service.

Navigation – refers to how you move from one page to another within a website.

Opt-in & Opt-out – choice to opt in or out (i.e. unsubscribe) to receiving newsletters and mailing etc.

Organic search – listings in search engine results pages that appear due to their relevance to the search term rather than being paid for.

Page view – the term used when people have clicked on or viewed a page.

PPC – short for pay per click – the advertiser pays when a user clicks on the ad.

PPI – short for pay per impression – the advertiser pays each time the ad is displayed to a user.  Rates are usually per 1000 impressions.

Podcast – an audio or video recording which can be downloaded and played later (popularised by Apple).

Rank – how a web page performs compared with others is called its page rank.

RSS – stands for really simple syndication – a system that enables people to receive ongoing, constantly updated information collected from various sources through a simple reader.

Search Engines – help us search for information on the World Wide Web – Google, Bin and Yahoo are examples of search engines.

SEM – stands for search engine marketing – the process of marketing your website via the search engines. It includes search engine optimisation, directory submissions and paid-for advertising.

SEO – stands for search engine optimisation – modifying web pages and websites so that they rank highly on search engines.

Search engine submission – literally submitting your website to the search engines.  However, most search engines find websites all by themselves (see spider)!

SMO – stands for Social media optimisation – using social media such as Twitter and Facebook with the intent of driving traffic to your website.

Spam – a term used for unwanted or junk emails and adverts.

Spider – automated software that trawls through websites to index pages for the search engines.

Style Sheet – this refers to a file that determines the look/feel and style of the site separate from its content.

Syndication – the distribution of blog content across a network of websites.

Tags – labels or tags used to describe content on a webpage.  They provide a useful way to organise, find and retrieve information.

Unique visitors – website measurement that records unique IP addresses as unique visitors.

URL – stands for uniform resource locator – basically a web address to help your web browser find a site i.e.

Web host – the provider of memory, storage, services and connectivity to ‘host’ the website.

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