The process of creating a website can be very confusing. You have things like cost, timescale and choosing a provider to consider. Factor into that the whole process of trying to figure out what you want from a website and the task can become a very daunting one.
What you don’t need then, is a web designer or developer confusing you with a bunch of buzzwords that you are expected to understand. Here I will guide you through a lot of the common ones used, and hope to shed some light on what they mean.
Static vs Dynamic website
This is possibly the most common buzz word used within the web design industry, and is often the first question a web designer will ask you.
“Is the website going to be a dynamic or static one?”
The answer is very simple. A static website refers to one that will stay the same over time. I.e one that will not be updated. A static website will normally only be updatable by someone with web development skills. A dynamic website on the other hand is one that can change, for lack of a better word “dynamically”. This might be that the website is consuming a data feed of some kind or is built upon a content management system.
Put simply, a static website does not change, a dynamic one constantly does.
Content management system
A CMS is a web based piece of software that enables you to update / edit / create and manage your websites content without the need for any programming knowledge. It is not restricted to just content though, some advanced Content Management Systems enable you to create users, manage security, increase search engine optimization and much, much more.
This is the website as it appears to visitors.
If you are using content management system to manage your website, this is what is often referred to the back-end (the part visitors don’t see)
Search engine optimization (SEO)
This is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in regard to search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. This might include things like the content that is on your pages, links to and from your website and the keywords that your website contains.
Believe it or not this is actually its own keyword used within web design. Particularly in regard to SEO, this describes the words you systematically place into your websites content in order to help users find you.
You probably all know what this means, but perhaps not in terms of website construction. This covers everything from displaying a link to your social media profiles on your website, to enabling your users to share your websites content directly from the pages themselves (like this, tweet this etc, see below)
This refers to any area in the website that serves a specific purpose. This might be a contact form that allows to send you an email, a slideshow that artistically flows through a series of information or images or even an e-commerce shopping solution.
This is referred to as the buying and selling of products and services over the internet and other computer networks. This will normally come in the form of an online store.
Flexible vs Fixed
This refers specifically to the look and feel of a website. A fixed width website is as it sounds, a website that’s size remains the same on all browsers and all devices. A flexible (or fluid) width website is one that re-sizes itself depending on the size of the users screen.
In terms of website construction, this refers to securing your website against attacks from hackers. This will include simple things like keeping your passwords secure and updating them frequently to more advanced things like installing your own custom security system.
Hosting & Domain Name
A domain name is the actual www. address of your website. Hosting simply refers to the rented space where the files that are associated with your website reside. It is important to remember that domains and hosting are separate things.
HTML / CSS / PHP
If you hear any of these abbreviated terms, they are simply the coding languages used in website creation. There are many languages used for dynamic website but almost every website you see will contain some HTML and CSS code.
Stands for file transfer protocol. This is a method of transferring and managing files over a server on the internet.
This refers to statistics on your websites visitor information. It can include information on how many site and page visits you get, where your visitors are coming from and even what machine and browser they used to access your website.
Possibly the biggest buzzword around the industry at the moment. It does exactly what it says on the tin. The design will respond to the device it is viewed on. Making for a more fluid viewing experience for every viewer and also reducing the amount of coding work that is needed.