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Web Design Glossary

Do you know your web design definitions?  Can you talk the web designer's language?  If not, these tips might help.
HTML:  HTML stands for "HyperText Markup Language". HTML is a mark-up language or the language that typically resides behind the web page. Information related to the website design is indicated by "tags". HTML is considered a simple markup language.  HTML is often mistakenly referred to as "programming", which it is NOT.  HTML is a display and mark-up language.  There are various types of HTML language as defined by
JavaScript:  JavaScript is a programming language used on web pages.  Programming languages allow certain functions to be executed.  Common functions include timers, clocks, processing data from a form, creating dynamic menus, and more.  JavaScript provides interactivity to a web site page and is mixed into the HTML code in the 'head' and the 'body' sections.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets):  CSS stands for "Cascading Style Sheets".  CSS is used to control and manage font styles, font sizes, and web site color combinations that are used in a web page. In order to present the same "look and feel" throughout a website, all pages within a website often refer to a single CSS file. The CSS file is usually stored in a separate file on the website, and various web pages retrieve the CSS file each time a web page is displayed.  CSS files make  appearance changes to the site easy.  Single changes in a CSS file will mean that any pages using that CSS file will automatically display the change.

CSS may also be used to position images, position text, display tables, control hyperlinks and much more.

Web Template:  A website template is a ready-made HTML layout for webmasters. Webmasters need only edit the text and links in the HTML page to get the website up and running in a very short amount of time. Web templates make creation of a website easier and faster. Web templates are easy to edit and customize by web masters using an HTML editor.

Website templates can be customized with unique images and text so that the same template may be used in different situations, and the resulting sites will have their own uniqueness.  The process of using a web template is similar to that of a home builder that uses a common floor plan.  The floor plan is the same from house-to-house, but the finished rooms and exterior of the home may appear totally different.

WYSIWYG:   WYSIWYG is an acronym for "What You See Is What You Get".  By using a WYSIWYG editor to design and create web pages, the web master has a pretty good idea of how the page will look in a web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Opera). Similar to using Microsoft Word -- a change in a font will be seen immediately in the MS Word document. Likewise in a WYSIWYG editor, changes will be seen immediately within the editor itself - as opposed to having to save the page and then separately loading and viewing it in a web browser.

Two very popular WYSWYG editors are Adobe's Dreamweaver and Microsoft's FrontPage (now called Expressions).

Content Manager:   A Content Manager is a tool which allows a web site owner to easily change text and images of any page without having to know HTML, or without having to go back to the original webmaster that developed the site.  Today, most good web design platforms have their own content managers built into the platform.  The web site purchaser automatically receives the tool to make his/her own changes.   Content managers typically have a Microsoft Office type interface.

If a content manager is needed and not included in the site purchase, then Adobe's Contribute 4 may fit the situation perfectly.  This software allows site changes easily once it is set up to access your web host's server. 

Dynamic vs. Static Web Pages:  A "Dynamic" web page is a page that is automatically created "on the fly" as it is presented, while a "Static" web page is pre-configured and not interactive. Dynamic web pages will often pull information from other sources before displaying the page.  Thus, the page content is constantly changing. The information on a Dynamic webpage often results from a database query, such as "search" results. Another kind of Dynamic page simply pulls information from another source, such as a web page that displays an RSS feed -- it's "Dynamic" because the page content changes each time the RSS feed is updated. The information contained in a Static page is considered "flat", and never changes until the webmaster rewrites the html code.

Static web pages have the extension *****.htm or *****.html.  Dynamic pages have file extension names like *****.asp, *****.php, and many others.  Dynamic pages are essential in today's web sites since they allow for presentation of fresh content every time the page is requested.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization):  Web Design and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are disciplines that must be worked on together. Well qualified webmasters are familiar with Search Engine Optimization techniques, as well as Website and Graphical Design. It is nearly impossible to have a successful website if either the elements of sound SEO or the fundamentals of good web design are not considered upfront.  The two are intricately woven, and must coexist to achieve website success.
Local SEO:  Local Search Engine Optimization considers two elements.  The first element is the keyword or keyphrase (like 'green widgets').  The second element is the geography or location (like 'Chicago').  So if a business wanted to found by Google surfers and that business preferred clients from the Chicago area, then the content of the web page must talk about 'green widgets' and 'Chicago'.  Local search is an often overlooked component of launching a web site.  Many web designers simply do not understand the process of designing for local search, or obtaining local search listings.
Backlinks:  Backlinks are hyperlinks that are generated by other web sites, business directories, or bloggers to your site.  Links back to your site increase the importance of your site, especially in Google's eyes.  Many backlinks is indicative that your site is an "authority" as viewed by others.

A fundamentally sound backlinks program is essential to the launch and proper Internet marketing of any web site.

Blog:  A Blog is "web log'.  Essentially a blog is form of a web site in which the site visitor can post comments and replies. Blogs are often thought of as online diaries.

Blogs promote discussion throughout the Internet and help promote one's site in social media circles.  Blogging is an excellent way to create backlinks.  However, blogging can not be "salesy" or "spam oriented".  If blogging is not genuine, your site will quickly be banned is social circles like Digg and Delicious.


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