Technical Terms for Websites - Elizabeth Walsh Website Design and Development
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Technical terms for websites explained by Website designer Elizabeth Walsh

Elizabeth Walsh explains some of the technical terms used in website design

There is a technical language associated with the internet, website design and web development and using these terms without explanation can occasionally lead to confusion.

Elizabeth will explain any website specific terms she uses when working with her clients but meanwhile here is a selection of some of the website jargon you might like to know:

Technical terms for websites

Ad Words

Ad Words is a Google advertising product and at 42.5 billion (2012) is the search engine giant's main source of revenue.

Website owners who subscribe to Google's Ad Word advertising pay to appear at the top of the search engine listings for key words and phrases set by the website owner. The method of payment is managed by a pay-per-click (PPC) system of internet advertising, with targeted adverts for both text and banner adverts.

Some website developers might suggest you try Ad Words and in some cases (in the very early days of a business venture) it is worth trying. But it can be an expensive way to advertise over time.

Elizabeth aims to ensure that your site reaches your target audience without having to pay for advertising. She can achieve this through carefully planned and well implemented search engine optimisation techniques which are an integral part of her website design and development services. See SEO below.

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Alt text

Alt text (alternative text) is the html code title of any image which appears on a website but it is not shown as part of the visible text (until you hover over the image in some browsers).

For internet users who have sight impairment Alt text enables 'screen reader' audio software to inform the user exactly what the image is depicting. Using Alt text is one of the many compatibility criteria expected by W3C.

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A web browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. The most used browsers include: Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera.

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Call to Action

A Call to Action is a term used in the Marketing industry which encourages the reader or viewer of a website (or any marketing medium) to take an immediate action.

Simple examples include 'Click here' or 'Buy now'. A call to action is often confused with a strap line but they are quite different.

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CMS or a Website Content Management System is a software system applied to a website and can be accessed by the website owner or their representatives through a password protected administrative area.

Having a CMS website allows website owners to edit their own text, images, data, etc, without having to understand how to use web code e.g. html, xhtml, javascript, etc. To successfully use a CMS system you don't have to be an expert but you will need a very basic knowledge of word processing and file management. Sometimes it is useful to know about image editing - but if not, a good CMS system will be able to resize images to suit your website layout.

Elizabeth provides tailor-made CMS websites to enable her clients to manage their website content themselves. She also provides individual training to ensure that her clients are fully confident and competent. She's also available on the end of the phone - but this is rarely necessary!

CMS is an essential element of an ecommerce website but is also invaluable for website owners who wish to edit their text and image content on a regular basis.

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Data Stick

Also known as Memory Sticks or Portable Flash Drives.

These small portable devices are used to store and transfer information, data, images, etc from one computer device to another. They typically cost about £5 but can be more expensive depending on how much memory you require. Click here to buy online from Amazon or you can purchase a stick from high street store such as WH Smiths. Elizabeth will provide a Data stick for her client's to use for providing high resolution images.

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Domain Name

A domain name is the address of your website e.g.

In order to have a website live the internet a domain name will need to be purchased and the cost may depend on how valuable the name would be to other businesses. Expect to pay in the region of £10 for a renewable two year period of domain ownership.

Your domain name doesn't have to be the same as your company name, so don't despair if your company name or your own name is unavailable. It is important that you or your company own your domain name and not a third party. If in any doubt about which domain name to choose please ask Elizabeth for advice.

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Hosting allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the internet.

Web Hosts are companies that provide space on a server for use by their clients to enable 24/7 connection to the internet.

Hosting fees can be paid monthly or annually to hosting companies. Elizabeth only works on websites that she hosts via the Heart Internet. Please refer to Elizabeth's Price List Guideline for website hosting fees.

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Key Words and Key Phrases

The terms 'key word' or 'key phrase' essentially are the most important words that describe you or your business. The term also refers to the individual words or phrases submitted to the search engines for indexing and PageRank purposes.

For example, a browser search for the key phrase 'website designers in Monmouth' will render a page result that Elizabeth has optimised to be at the top, or very close to the top of the page index for that specific search (Try it!).

A high listing (i.e. not in the paid-for AdWords advertising section at the top of the page) is an example of good search engine optimisation.

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Until quite recently meta tags have been a significant element in search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques, but there has been evidence that inappropriate or false use of meta key words have led to the search engines downgrading the importance of key word inclusion.

NOTE: In 2009 Google announced that they are 'no longer taking keywords into account whatsoever'.

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Meta Tags

Meta Tags are coding elements which provide information about a given Web page but they are not visible to the web visitor. One of the reasons they are used is to assist search engines categorise a website correctly but they are not a definitive solution for ensuring high page rank success.

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PageRankTM is the basis of Google's search technology and assigns an 'importance' value to each page on the web and gives it a rank to determine how useful it is. However, that is not why it is called Page Rank. Interestingly, it is named after one of Google's cofounders - Larry Page.

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Scope creep

Scope creep is a term often used in the building trade and can also be applied to the process of designing, developing and 'building' a website. Scope creep happens when the client (or indeed the website designer) extends or adds to the original brief - thus incurring extra expense in terms of either the time taken or the addition of extra, non-budgeted web related functions or features.

The best way to avoid scope creep is to resolutely stick to the original brief. But if this is unavoidable or impractical then early mutual communication between client and designer to discuss and agree any extra costs which may be incurred should take place. This must be done before the work is undertaken to avoid problems and misunderstanding.

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Search Engine Optimisation - SEO

Search Engine Optimisation is a crucial element of any website design and development and it is the method by which websites will quickly and effectively found by using search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

Without good SEO your website will gather dust at the far outer reaches of cyber space and your target audience will be highly unlikely to find your website unless existing and potential customers know your URL or website address.

When searching for someone to build your website you should check that they have a full knowledge of optimisation techniques. SEO is the key to successful online presence and Elizabeth Walsh is a proven expert at search engine optimisation success.

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Strap line

A strap line is a short persuasive sentence that represents the essence of a business, project or concept. It is a tried and tested way of expressing something that a business offers: e.g. the benefits to your customers, or what your principles stand for.

Strap lines should be memorable, interesting and creative and remembered by your customers (and potential customers). The most successful strap lines have become part of our retail culture... Because I’m worth it (L’Oreal); Probably the best lager in the world (Carlsberg); Never knowingly undersold (John Lewis), and the very annoyingly but massively successful Compare the (Compare the Market.Com).

Simplicity and brevity is the key to a good strap line and should be no more than 6-8 words long.

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Target audience and Target locality

The target audience are the people you want to have as customers, supporters or readers. The target locality is where, in terms of geographic location, you want to do business (and where the target audience reside). The target locality can be a micro locality - such as a town or county or a macro locality such as a country or continent. A global target is just that - worldwide!

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URL or domain/website address

Your website address will always be prefixed with www. and suffixed with one of the following examples:; .com; .net; .org; .eu, etc. It's worth noting that .org suffixes are used primarily for government organisations or non-profit making organisations, but today .org is now commonly used by schools, open-source projects, communities, and for-profit entities. Please ask Elizabeth for advice about which suffix is best (or available) for your web address.

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What are Google Ad Words? What is alt text?What is a browser?What is a call to action?What is a CMS website?What is a data or memory stick?What is a domain name?What is website hosting?What are key words and key phrases?What are meta tags and how are the used on my website?What is page rank?What is page rankWhat is SEO (Search engine optimisation?)What is a strap line?What is a target audience?What is a URL or website address?


Website design for pubs and restaurants


"The website Elizabeth created for The Inn at Penallt is the primary marketing tool for our bed and breakfast and restaurant business and thanks to her remarkable SEO skills the website accounts for at least 90% of our first time business.


We asked Liz to design, build and manage our website for us and she has proved to be exceptional value for money. Our customers often tell us how easy the site is to navigate - as well as being attractive and informative.


Liz is both friendly and professional in her dealings with us and she provides a reliable and efficient service for ongoing updates.


On a personal note Liz is a real pleasure to work with, and we thank her for her patience, her valuable suggestions and her pro-active approach. We look forward to working with her for many more years to come."

Andy and Jackie Murphy
The Inn at Penallt


Testimonials for website designer Elizabeth Walsh

Kitchen designers Monmouth


"I'm always amazed how many clients find me through my website and they tell me that they like how it looks - professional, but friendly at the same time. I love working with Liz because she knows that I know nothing about websites. She is very patient and comes up with lots of ideas and shows different options. She's not at all pushy but she will advise you about what she thinks works the best."

Ann Stevens
Kitchen Designer

Testimonials for website designer Elizabeth Walsh

Website design for freelance secretaries, sole traders and individuals


"Elizabeth Walsh is an extremely creative and inspirational website designer. She has an intimate knowledge of both how to design websites and how to make the most of web optimisation. I feel most fortunate to have worked with Liz and I am absolutely delighted with the website she has designed for me. She has been professional and consistent throughout and I highly recommend her work."

Georgina Peace
Freelance PA and Secretary

Website designs for individuals and professional people

Platform One Creative Agency Monmouth


Elizabeth frequently recommends Platform One Creative Agency...

"We would have no hesitation in recommending Liz. She is professional in her dealings and supplies a quality end result. "

David Evans
Graphic Designer
Platform One Creative Agency

Graphic designers for websites

Website design for The Walking Holiday Company by Monmouth based website designer Elizabeth Walsh


"I can thoroughly recommend Elizabeth Walsh Website Designs if you want an imaginative, dedicated and professional approach to your company website. Helpful at every stage."

Julie Thomas
The Walking Holiday Company


Website design and development in Monmouthshire

Website designers for authors and writers: Crime fiction novellist M. R. Hall lives near Monmouth and is also a screenwriter and journalist

'Having Elizabeth Walsh create my website was a pleasure from start to finish. Her approach to website design is systematic and professional, beginning with a detailed plan and working methodically through it, though with plenty of room for change and new ideas.'

M. R. Hall
Author and screenwriter