Website Jargon Buster

A quick reference guide for website-related lingo

The language around websites does not need to be daunting. The jargon buster aims to demystify technical terms in common use around websites. And help make you feel more confident using them.

This is not an exhaustive list. Some items are there to make sure there is one entry for every letter of the alphabet!

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To navigate around the list, click on a letter below…

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Alt text

The text that appears instead of an image when it fails to load on a web page. It helps screen-readers describe images to visually-impaired users. It also helps search engines crawl and rank your website better.



The inner workings of your website, which are usually hidden from view. In WordPress, this refers to the Dashboard area.


A copy of all data relating to your website. You should store it in a safe place for future reference. And create a new copy whenever you make changes to your website. Download my guide “How to backup your WordPress website“.

Broken link

A link to a web page that no longer exists. It creates a 404 “not found” error and can affect user experience and SEO.



Files that are created and stored by a web browser so that next time someone visits your web page, it loads faster.

Call to action

Text that prompts visitors to your website to do something. Examples include “Read more”, “Subscribe now”, “Contact us”, “Book a call”, “Request a quote” etc.


Stands for Content Management System, software that makes it easy to create a website. Examples include WordPress, Squarespace, Joomla, and Drupal.


Unfortunately, not the chocolate-chip variety! They are small text files that temporarily save information when you visit a website. They can remember your login information, track how you move around a website, and learn about your browsing habits to deliver ads.


Stands for Cascading Style Sheets, the code that controls the design and layout of web pages. Things like fonts, colours and the positioning of elements are all managed via CSS.



If you’re using a CMS to power your website, the database holds data in tables, columns, and rows.

Domain name

Your website’s address, for example,


External link

A link to a page outside of your website



The icon that appears in browser tabs and helps identify your website and brand.

404 error page

The page that appears when there is a broken link on your website. 404 is the HTTP response code which shows that the web server can’t find the requested content. It’s a good idea to have a customised 404 page.


The bottom section of a web page. It’s where you put your contact details and links to things like your privacy policy.


The opposite of the backend! The code that runs in a web browser to display your site and allow people to interact with it.



The name given to the WordPress project that created the block editor. It lets you generate content using different blocks, such as paragraphs and images. It also includes layout features such as columns.


Stands for Graphics Interchange Format. These types of images are most common in their animated format.



The top section of a web page that often includes a company logo and site navigation.


The main page of your website where people get their first impression of your brand.


Stands for Hypertext Markup Language, the primary code for writing web pages. It defines their basic structure and tells the web browser how to present content to users.


Stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. This is a set of rules for protecting the transfer of data between web browsers and web servers. You need an SSL certificate for your web address to start with “https” instead of “http”.


Internal link

A link to another page within your website.



A common image format, particularly for digital photography. JPEG is an acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group.



A word or phrase that people type into search engines to find whatever they are looking for. Using relevant keywords in your content will help people find you via search results.

Kick-off meeting

A meeting held at the start of a project. It includes a review of the brief, plus other tasks to ensure smooth project delivery.


Landing page

The page where a visitor first enters your website; not always your homepage. This is a page designed for a specific call to action, such as a service or product launch. Landing pages are often used as part of marketing campaigns.


See hyperlink.



Hidden information about your web pages used by search engines. It gives context to search results and helps people find websites that are relevant to them. This includes page titles and descriptions.


Name servers

Make it easy to find websites on the Internet by converting a domain name into an IP address. You type a domain name into a browser; this connects with the name server, which turns it into an IP address. The browser uses this to connect to the relevant server and load the website for you to view.


The links (usually) at the top of a webpage which help you to move around the different pages of a website.


Open source

Software where the source code is available to the public to change, edit and share as they wish. WordPress is a good example of community-updated and maintained open-source software.


Page vs post

WordPress uses these terms to separate content types. A post is content you write for your blog; a page is for static content, such as an about or contact page.


Stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. It is a programming and scripting language for creating dynamic websites. PHP is what makes WordPress work.


Software that adds extra functions to a WordPress website. Use plugins for contact forms, creating a back-up of your site, or extra layers of security.


Stands for Portable Network Graphic. An image format that allows for transparency and does not lose quality when resized.


A window that appears over the top of the website page you are viewing. Pop-ups prompt you to take action. For example, sign-up for a newsletter, buy something, or attend a webinar.



The process for selecting, inserting, or updating data in a database. When you view a page on a WordPress site, queries run in the background to get the page content from the database.


Responsive web design

The way of building web pages so that they adapt depending on the screen size. There should be no loss of experience.


Security keys

A random set of characters used to encode and protect a WordPress website. You should update your security keys every few months.


Stands for Search Engine Optimisation. The methods used to optimise your website so that it appears higher up in search engine results.


A computer that stores website files for viewing on the Internet.

Site map

A visual representation of all the pages on your website.


Stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Keeping sensitive data transferred between servers and web browsers secure and private. You will need an SSL certificate to use this technology. Google recommends that all websites use SSL to protect their users. Many hosting companies offer certificates for free via Let’s Encrypt.



A folder of files that work together in WordPress to create the design of your website.


Stands for Two-Factor Authentication. An extra layer of security to make sure people trying to access an account are who they say they are. It requests another form of identification alongside the traditional username and password combination.



Checks for updates in WordPress are automatic with the Dashboard displaying notifications. Making sure the core software and plugins are up to date is the easiest way to keep your website secure.


Stands for Uniform Resource Locator, the address for a web page e.g.

User role

WordPress has five user roles defining what you can or can’t do from the backend of your website. Administrator is the top level, with the ability to do pretty much everything.


Visual editor

The rich text editor used by WordPress when adding or editing content. This is being replaced by the block editor which gives you greater control over your content.


Web browser

The software you use to access the Internet and view websites. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Firefox and Safari are web browsers.

Website handover

Explaining how your website works once is it live. A handover session will also include training on how to use WordPress.

Website hosting

A service that allows you to store website files on a server for viewing on the Internet. Website hosting companies provide the relevant technologies to enable this.


A simple way to create a website or blog. WordPress is an open-source content management system. It is easy to customise, is user and search engine friendly, and is well maintained by its community of contributors. WordPress currently powers over 40% of all active websites.


XML sitemap

A text file that lists all the pages associated with your website. Google and other search engines use it to help them find and index the site. WordPress SEO plugins, such as Yoast SEO create this for you.



A video-sharing platform where you can host video content to add to your website. 



Cloud-based video conferencing software for online meetings.