Commonly used web design terminology

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Web design terminology and definitions that you might come across when owning or planning to own a website.

Above the fold

The top part of the page which is visible on the user’s screen without the user having to scroll down. This varies from screen to screen depending on the resolution of the end user’s monitor.

ALT tag

An invisible description on an image. If an image can’t be displayed on a website, the ALT tag is used to provide a text description of what the image. Important for optimising images for displaying in Google search results.


An online journal which gives the business owner a platform to share thoughts, news and information in a chronological order.

CMS (Content Management System)

The underlying software that powers your website providing a secure visual interface to collaboratively manage content on your website.

Domain name

The address that you put into the browser’s address bar that points to where your website is located. Each domain ends in an extension such as .com, .net. The most common used domain in Australia is .com.au.


A small icon which appears in the address bar and tab of the browser when visiting a website.

Google AdWords

Google’s advertising platform which allows you to show customised advertising within the search results for your products and services based on an end user’s search term. Tied into this platform is ‘remarketing’.

Google Analytics

A free reporting tool provided by Google. It provides powerful information about how visitors to your website find you, what they do when they land and conversions on your site.

Long tail keyword

These are longer keyword phrases which aren’t as commonly searched on in Google but the combined volume of these make up the majority of search traffic, for example ‘residential building designers Melbourne’


Short for ‘malicious software’. It has a nasty intent and ends up on your website without your permission and can break or damage your website.

Meta description

An element contained with the code of a web page which describes in around 150 to 160 characters what your page is about. Commonly used by search engines such as Google to display a text preview of your page in the search results.

Open rate

An email marketing term used to describe the number of emails which were viewed or opened in relation to the total number sent.


A collection of code which when installed extending the default functionality of WordPress. There are thousands of plugins which help with a wide range of needs.

Retina display

A brand name used by Apple to describe very high resolution screens on different digital devices. This gives a very clear and crisp viewing experience.


WordPress-specific term for keywords applied to a post. They allow you to group together posts in a very specific manner (more specific than categories).


Just like cars on the road, traffic is the number of visitors through your website and which pages they looked at.


A technical string of characters used by web browsers. Similar to your domain name but includes all the characters including colons and slashes, for example https://www.loveatfirstsite.net

Website hosting

The space you rent to house your internet. Files such as scripts, images and documents that make up your site are all located on a super fast server that is connected to the internet.


A free, open source content management system blogging platform that allows you to manage your posts, pages and other content on your website.

XML Sitemap

A structured file which maps every page and location on your website. This is then submitted to Google via Webmaster tools to help them understand the structure of your website.

About the author
Jon Hollenberg
With over 20 years experience within the web industry, Jon is an expert in online marketing and online growth strategies. Over the last ten years he has worked with iconic brands such as Qantas, Jeep and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary plus hundreds of other businesses Australia wide. Jon is a published author of "Love at first site - How to build the website of your dreams".
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