Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Web Terms…

So, one of the first things I cover in my web 2.0 courses is terminology. There are a whole lot of terms and acronyms floating around out there and most people have no real idea what they mean. In this week’s post I am attempting to enlighten the non-techie masses by offering a list (and it’s a big one!) of all of the web terms* I think you should know. Enjoy!

A | B | C | D | E | F | H | I | K | L | M | O | P | S | U | V | W | Z

Abandonment: When you lose a visitor. Let’s say you have a process on your website, a form perhaps. If this form has three pages but people keep bailing when they reach the second page, you have an abandonment issue on your hands.

Actionable Data: This is when you look at your anaylitics report and say to yourself, "Yeah? So What?" Actionable data is information that allows you to make a decision or can be made use of in an advertising campaign or site re-design.

Acquisition: This is the process of getting people to visit your site. If you run a banner ad on CNN, let’s say and it drives 50 new visitors to your site this is known as an acquisition.

Aggregate Data: A summary of collected information in a web analytics report. This is the "Macro" aspect of analytics, not what the individual user is doing what "Everybody" is doing on your site.

Authentication: When you require the user to enter a username and password in order to view areas of your site.

Anchor Tag: This is a piece of HTML that works as a bookmark on the page the user is on so they can skip down to the information they wish to see. An example of this would be the alpha-index at the top of this post!

Bandwidth: Measure of the traffic on a site. This is important because webhosts charge based on your bandwidth. When a popular site "crashes" it’s generally because the owner has not paid for enough bandwidth and the webhost takes the site down because there is more traffic on the site than the server that hosts it can handle.

Banner Ad: An advertisement embedded on a web page usually intended to drive traffic to a different website by linking to the advertiser’s site.

Bot: Abbreviation for robot (also called a spider). It refers to software programs that scan the web. Google uses bots for indexing web pages for the purpose of page rank and listing in their search engine.

Bounce Rate: The percentage of entrances on a web page that result in an immediate exit from the web site. Bounce Rate = Single Page Visitors/All Visitors

Cookie: A cookie (also tracking cookie, browser cookie, and HTTP cookie) is a small piece of text stored on a user’s computer by a web browser. A cookie consists of one or more name-value pairs containing bits of information. However, this has become a catch-all term for all of the data that is downloaded to your computer when you visit a website (I guess because it’s sounds better than "Temporary Internet Files")

Conversion: When a visitor to your site becomes a customer!

CPC (Cost Per Click): It is what you pay each time someone clicks on a banner ad you have placed on another site.

CTR (Click Through Rate): The Click Through Rate shows how many people clicked on your banner ad amongst all of the people who were exposed to the ad (visited the page it was on).

Dashboard: A web analytics dashboard provides all of your critical metrics in one place to help you understand the health or performance of your business.

Directories: A type of search engine where listings are gathered or reviewed by humans, rather than by search engine crawlers. Yelp.com would be an example of a popular directory.

Domain: An area in the Internet specified by a URL address. The top-level domain is at the end after the dot and the second-level domain comes before it, and shows where in the top-level domain the address can be found. For example in www.lilldesign.com, ".com" is the top-level domain and "lilldesign" is the second level domain.

Doorway/Landing/Gateway/Bridge/Jump Pages: These are generally pages that are created for the purpose of cross promotion with another site. If I had an article in the Washington Post (yeah, right…I wish). I may provide them with a link that doesn’t go to my homepage, but rather a page that says "Welcome Washington Post Readers" with custom links just for the areas those readers may be interested in.

Entry Page: The first viewed page on a visitor’s path through a site.

Exit Page: The last page viewed on a visitor’s path through a site.

Frequency: The number of times a visitor has visited a site during a reporting period. Average Frequency is the average of frequencies of all the visitors during the reporting period. Frequency is a retention metric and is part of RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) analysis.

Hit: One visit to one page by one visitor.

HTML: HyperText Markup Language. The standard code used by web programmers.

HTTP: Hyper Text Transfer Protocol.

Index: This should be the name of your homepage, as in http://www.lilldesign.com/index. The purpose of this is that this is where almost all web-crawler bots start looking for information to record.

Inbound/Back Link: A text or graphical hyperlink from another site to your site. Google and other search engines’ algorithms consider a site’s popularity based on the quality and quantity of inbound links from relevant third party sites to help determine search positioning (page rank).

IP Address: Internet Protocol address is used to identify a computer connected to the Internet. Find yours out by going to Google and typing in "What is My IP Address"

Keyword/Keyphrase: Keywords are words, which are used in search engine queries. Keyphrases are multi-word phrases used in search engine queries. SEO is the process of optimizing web pages for keywords and keyphrases so that they rank highly in the results returned for search queries. See "The Building Blocks of Excellent SEO!"

Link: On a web page, text or an image that has been coded to take a browser from one page to another or from one site to another.

Local Search: Search engine results constrained by region/location, based on the searcher’s location or intent. Such as Google Maps local search results, which may include business ratings, reviews, maps, website link and driving directions.

Meta Search Engine: A search engine that gets listings from two or more other search engines, rather than through its own efforts.

Meta Tags: Information placed in a web page not intended for users to see but instead which typically passes information to search engine bots, browser software and some other applications. Esentially the bread and butter of SEO!

Meta Description Tag: Allows page authors to say how they would like their pages described when listed by search engines.

Meta Keywords Tag: Allows page authors to add text to a page to help with the search engine ranking process.

Metrics: Metrics are the information that is measured by analytics providers like Google Analytics or Adobe Omniture.

OCR: Organic Click Rate. People have clicked on a link on their own, without encouragement from paid advertising.

Opt-in: This permission-based email communication requires customers to verify the opt-in method before their e-mail addresses can be used to communicate with them.

Organic/Natural Listings: Listings that search engines do not sell (unlike paid listings). Instead, sites appear solely because a search engine has deemed it editorially important for them to be included, regardless of payment. This is the Holy Grail of SEO.

Organic Search: A type of search in which web users find sites having unpaid listings, as opposed to using the pay-per-click advertisement listings displayed among the search results.

Outbound Links: Links on your website leading to other web pages on a different domain.

Portal: Designation for websites that are either authoritative hubs for a given subject or popular content driven sites (like Yahoo) that people use as their homepage. Most portals offer significant content and offer advertising opportunities for relevant sites.

PPC (Pay Per Click): An advertising model where advertisers pay only for the traffic generated by their ads.

PageRank: Google’s trademark for their measure of link popularity for web pages. Install the Google Toolbar if you want to see you website’s PageRank

Page: A single HTML section of your website. Meaning that it opens with an HTML tag and then closes with an HTML tag.

Page Tag: A piece of JavaScript code embedded on a web page and executed by the browser when the page is viewed.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing): SEM encompasses SEO and search engine paid advertising options (banners, PPC, etc.)

SEO (Search Engine Optimization): SEO covers the process of

  • making web pages search engine friendly
  • making web pages relevant through desired keywords

SERP (Search Engine Results Page/Positioning): This refers to the organic (excluding paid listings) search results for a given query.

Spam: In the SEO vernacular, this refers to manipulation techniques that violate search engines Terms of Service and are designed to achieve higher rankings for a web page. Obviously, spam is bad…you don’t want to be spam, no matter how much Monty Python likes is!

Splash Page: Splash pages are introduction pages to a web site that are heavy on graphics (or flash video) with no textual content. These are generally frowned upon in the SEO/SMO industry.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator): Your web address, a means of identifying an exact location on the Internet.

Unique Visitor: A visitor that interacts with a site. They may interact more than once, but within analytics reporting, they are only counted one time.

Viral Marketing: Any marketing technique: i.e. YouTube Video, Facebook push, Digg article, etc. that gets users to share the marketing message with others.

Visitor: An individual that visits your website. A visitor, unlike a unique visitor, is counted everytime they visit your site.

Visitor Session: What a visitor does while on your site. The session ends when the visitor leaves the site.

Web 2.0: The use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to facilitate creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users. These concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and hosted services, such as social-networking sites, wikis and blogs.

Web Analytics: The measurement of data as it relates to your site, including the behavior of visitors, the amount of traffic, the conversion rates, user experience, and other information to help you continually improve your site toward a set of objectives.

Zero-page Visit: A visit that included no page views. This is possible if a visit consisted of at least one request for a non-page file (such as a graphic) but no page files (such as .htm, .asp, .jsp, or .cfm.)

*Information pulled from Measure Up’s SEO Glossary and WebTrends: The Fundamentals of Web Analytics Glossary. Visit these sites for more information.

Get The Picture?

One of the most common questions I get asked, as a design instructor, is where to go to on the web to get pictures. Well, there are a lot of options out there but, first you need to brush up on your copyright law. I promise to make this painless as I can.

Google Images
Yes you can go to images.google.com and type in any number of search phrases and get literally thousands of images in return. However, these images are most likely owned by someone and if you use them in your marketing materials, newsletter, printed materials, even on a greeting card you are making for your grandma they can sue you! Yes, I said sue you!

However, embedding (or hotlinking as some call it) the image on your website or blog, is not copyright infringement! To learn more about this, read this great article by the folks over at techdirt on copyright and blogging.

Stock Images
Now, if you are willing to shell out a little cash (as little as $1 in some instances) you can get some very high quality photos, illustrations, video, flash and even sound files from sites like iStock Photo, Shutterstock and Getty Images.

It is, however, important to read the fine print on these sites. Not all the images available are approved for commercial use. The terms of use for each image are up to the artist who is selling the image. You generally want to look for the section (or search for) “Royalty Free” images. This means you can use the images in anyway you wish without fear of infringement.

Design Gallery Live
Lastly, we come to my favorite depository for FREE images. Yes, this comes from the evil overlords at Microsoft but, hey they can’t be all that bad if they offer thousands of free high-quality images that are Royalty Free! That’s right, you can feel free to use these images any way you wish.

dgl.microsoft.com is Microsoft’s answer to the problem of the ever growing clip-art gallery. Instead of giving you more and more images everytime you buy a new copy of a Microsoft product they place all of the files online and you can download just the ones you want!

The only glitch is that you have to have a “valid” copy of Microsoft Office on the machine you are using or it will not allow you to download the images. Once they are downloaded, they generally end up in your My Pictures folder (for PC users) or your Downloads folder (on a Mac). Then they are yours to do with as you wish. The images are very high quality (300 ppi in most cases) and come in both JPEG and PNG formats.

If you have a favorite resource for images online please leave a comment and share the love! Thanks!

Getting Noticed in a Sea of Sameness

You certainly don’t need me to tell you that times are tough. The job market has been in the crapper for quite some time now and we are feeling it particularly hard here in Michigan. My own sister was laid off over six months ago and has still not been able to find work! So, what can you do to get your resume noticed in a job market chalked full of qualified and unemployed people? Market yourself!

1. Create an Electronic Resume: You can create an electronic portfolio for as little as $25 (GoDaddy charges $10 to purchase a URL for 1-year and $15 for 3 months of economy hosting). It doesn’t need to be fancy. If you have a Mac, a friend with a Mac, or even better – check your local library to see if they have a Mac in their lab, you can use iWeb to create a very professional portfolio site in a matter of minutes. Or it could be a simple as creating a PDF of your resume (Download a FREE trial of Adobe Acrobat for Individuals at Adobe.com), and attaching it to your inquiry emails.

2. Make your Resume Stand Out: Are you creative? Shouldn’t your resume reflect that? Get some inspiration from this list of 45 Resumes by Graphic Designers or download a FREE template from Microsoft’s Design Gallery Live – they download directly to your copy of Microsoft Word so you can start editing right away!

3. Follow up with Flair! So, you were lucky enough to get called in for an interview? Make yourself memorable by sending a hand-made thank you note! You don’t have to press wild flowers or make your own paper, that is unless you are applying to work for Martha Stewart! Just head down to your local craft store (Micheal’s or any scrap booking store will do!) Buy card stock and some fancy scrap booking stickers (They are usually 99 cents to $3 depending on the style). Stick the stickers on the front with the words “Thank You” and write your own message inside. The interviewer will see that you have gone the extra mile and will remember you when the time comes to make that all important call!

If you have tips of your own please share them in the comments section. Remember, we are all in this together!

Mastering Digital Marketing

I will be teaching this class June 26th, 2010 at The First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor from 1-3pm. Contact Reverend Nancy Shaffer, Associate Minister at nancy@uuaa.org if you are interested in attending.

Course Description: This course will cover all of the cutting edge information on social media marketing: Utilizing meta data, keyword integration tools, site maps, real-time search, influential user out-reach and secure payment & donation options.

Please comment with any questions!

Intro to Web Optimization

This is a course is those of you who have taken my Web 101 course or are a little more tech savvy and want to better understand the world of Digital and Social Media Marketing. I will be teaching this class June 19th, 2010 at The First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor from 1-3pm. Contact Reverend Nancy Shaffer, Associate Minister at nancy@uuaa.org if you are interested in attending.

Course Description: This course explains the hot topics in web-based marketing. We will discuss what you need to do to optimize your website for search engines as well as best practices for social media marketing.

Please comment with any questions!

Web 101

This is a course I have been teaching for a while for the Life Long Learning program at Washtenaw Community College. I will be teaching this class again June 5th, 2010 at The First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor from 1-3pm. Contact Reverend Nancy Shaffer, Associate Minister at nancy@uuaa.org if you are interested in attending.

Course Description: If you are new to the internet or have been a long-time user but would like to know more about how it works, this class is for you! Do you have a website or are you just starting to think about getting one? Whether you are going to hire a professional firm or go it alone, this course will cover everything you need to get started!

Please comment with any questions!