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Glossary of Terms

At BlueTree we try to make web design and the Internet easy to understand. That's the goal of this glossary. If you're not sure about what we mean you can look up website and internet terms here. We aim to explain things in good old, plain, UK English.

How it works

  • To search for a term, click "Ctrl+F" in Windows, or "Command+F" on a Mac; type the term, or part of it, into your web browser's search box.
  • Or you can just scroll down the list of terms.
  • Click on a term to display its meaning.
  • Click again to hide the meaning.

If you've not used your browser's "Find" function before, here's more about how to search in different web browsers.

If the term you're looking for isn't there, please use the comments form on our Contact Us page to let us know. If we know the answer and it's relevant, we'll add it to the list :-)

Glossary Terms

"Above the fold" is a graphic design term referring to the top half of a newspaper page, specifically the part of the page that is visible when the paper is folded and on a news stand. This has been adopted in website design and refers to the section of a web page that can be viewed without having to scroll down.

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The text that you click to follow a hyperlink. You can just use your target page's URL, but it's clearer for web users if you use a phrase that describes the target better. E.g. BlueTree Internet Glossary goes to this page.

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Short descriptions of images on web pages. Alt text is spoken by the screen reader software that visually impaired people use.

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Free web page provided by Bing, Microsoft's search engine, their answer to Google Plus Local. Get started with your Bing Business page.

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Bounce Rate measures useless visitors to your site.  A visitor bounces if they only visit one page and leave promptly, which suggests they didn't find what they were looking for. A good bounce rate is 35% - 40%.

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Suite of programs used for updating the content of websites. Examples include Adobe Contribute, WordPress, Joomla and BlueTree ezeSite.

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- Cookie

A cookie is a tiny file that a website deposits on your computer to help you use the site. Some cookies collect data from you to help advertisers target ads directly to you. A tiny proportion of them may have more malicious intent. For more about cookies, check our cookie policy.

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A file on a computer where data is stored. It's held in a structured way so it can be retrieved easily.

Databases are used on shopping sites, to hold the list of items for sale and information about each one. Blog posts are also held in a database.

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Digital Marketing is a marketing technique that exploits the Internet and devices connected to it. It is just one of many ways marketeers connect with target audiences. However, in many cases it is more cost-effective that traditional print or media advertising.

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- DNS

DNS stands for "Domain Name System." It is the global Internet system that translates your website name (e.g. www.bluetree.co.uk) into the unique address of the computer that hosts your website (78.31.107.141).

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The tiny logo in your web browser's address bar, to the left of the URL. Some think Favicons help SEO a tiny amount, though it may not be true. They don't cost much and add BlueTree favicon in address barcredibility by making your website look more professional, so what's to lose? Here's ours:

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Your free web page on Google Maps, Google's equivalent to Bing Business Portal. Used to be called Google Places. Get started with Google Plus Local. Or see our Free Website page.

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Websites are "hosted" by ISP's, companies who provide secure storage for websites and fast Internet access. Web page load speed is important, as it helps with SEO.

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- HTML

Hypertext Mark-up Language, or HTML, is the main language for describing web pages. If you right click in the body of a page and“view source”, HTML is what you’ll see. Usually!

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A hyperlink is a reference to other info related to what you're reading. The hyperlink is usually highlighted. When you click it, the related info is displayed.

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Hypertext is a sort of super text. You don’t read it from start to end, like a book. Words may link to other places using Hyperlinks.  You can follow them to other places in the same page, or to other pages or documents.

Hypertext is most often written using a language called “HTML”.

This glossary is an example of a hypertext document; so are most web pages.

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A company that provides Internet connections and, usually, other Internet services.

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The page a visitor lands on when they reach your web site.  Visitors may arrive:

  • By typing the URL into a web browser;
  • By clicking your link on a search engine results page;
  • By clicking your PPC ad;
  • By clicking a Hyperlink in a document, such as a web page, email, or PDF.

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A technique used by website hosts to improve page load speed. Your ISP keeps multiple copies of your website on several servers and serves pages from the one with the lightest load. BlueTree hosts client sites on load-balanced servers.

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The time it takes a web page to load. Search engines reward fast websites with higher rankings, so they appear higher in search results.

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Microdata is a programming standard that adds HTML code to human-readable text on web pages. Search engines read Microdata as well as visible text. They use it to understand the content and deliver relevant search results to users.

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Mission Creep is a phenomenon that can afflict all projects, including new websites. As time goes on, you think of nice things that weren't in the original plan. It's tempting to add them in, but this makes the project late and adds to its costs.

Best save them until after the original project is delivered!

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Main search results, excluding PPC ads and Google Places or Bing Business Portal pages.

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PDF's are document files that most computers can read.

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- PHP

PHP is a computer language for making web pages. It creates HTML to display a web page. This means you can get web site content out of a database or library that’s easy to update without having to learn HTML.

PHP originally stood “Personal Home Page.” Now it stands for “PHP: Hypertext Processor”. 

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This is an advertising scheme pioneered by Google. They display adverts related to things your searches. The advertiser pays when you click on their ads.

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The term "SEO" is no longer used as harks back to a time when unscrupulous marketeers could influence search engine results using underhand tactics. The more modern term is "Digital Marketing".

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Search engine results pages.

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- Server

A server is the name for a large computer that provides services to other computers. Servers host websites and serve them to your laptop over the Internet, for example.

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SERP snippet example
The description text, or "snippet" of information, displayed in search results, under the title and URL.

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"Top level domain" refers to the highest level of the Internet naming hierarchy, e.g. ".com" or ".uk". We usually see the term when applied to email addresses: a TLD email address is one that ends with a TLD, such as myname@mydomain.co.uk.

Some think a TLD email address seems more professional than a free address and that it adds credibility to a business. Some business directories may decline an entry unless is uses a TLD email address.

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This is the unique address of every document, or resource, on the Internet. Every web page has a unique URL. Our home page is www.bluetree.co.uk and you can see the URL of this page in your browser's address bar, at the top.

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A file on your website, not visible to humans, that search engine spiders use to find every page. Its filename is usually sitemap.xml

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