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Web Jargon: A Glossary Of Terms

27th April 2011
If all the various letters you read online come across as nonsense to you, read on...

In any industry, there are always going to be any number of acronyms or abbreviations that simply read or sound as jargon to the uninitiated.

The internet is no exception, and sometimes those on the inside can be guilty of making life a little complicated for outsiders by referring to a series of letters or buzz words to describe something that may seem obvious to us, but is anything but obvious to those who don’t work in the field of computing and IT.

Therefore, we felt we’d try and make life a little bit easier for those who have been left a little bit stumped when trying to tell apart their CRM and CMS or are struggling to gauge the difference between HTML and HTTPS.

Our glossary of terms helps to break down those barriers and make the finer details of the internet just a little bit less daunting…

CMS – Content Management System
In online terms, this is the method by which data in a website can be uploaded, amended or deleted. In most cases, a CMS will be set up by a web developer to allow users to edit their websites in a WYSIWYG (see below) fashion, similar to how typing an e-mail works within Hotmail. This means that end users can design pages or sections of their website in a preview state before they go live. More adventurous users may also wish to edit in HTML (see below) once they have got the hang of the main commands – an option normally made available in a CMS.

CRM – Customer Relationship Management
Most companies who have a regular client base will have some sort of record of who their customers are – this will be what they use to keep those records in a manageable order. CRM systems can be used to track what sort of products are being purchased by each individual consumer, allowing the retailer to make informed decisions on future stock purchasing, marketing campaigns and more.

CRM systems can be easily integrated into websites, with new users being able to sign up to form part of a company’s database online and existing users able to log in and check their details and amend them where necessary.

FTP – File Transfer Protocol
In the most simplistic of explanations, this is a tool used to transfer files from one server to another using an internet connection. Rather than attaching cumbersome files to an e-mail, FTP uses a password-enabled system to permit one user to upload files to a designated folder on a server and another user to download them.

HTML – HyperText Markup Language
The last word is the key segment in the phrase here – HTML is effectively a language in its own right, combining a series of English-language words and computer symbols. Together, these words and symbols help to explain to a web browser how it should be displaying the combination of text, photos and videos that the site hosts.

You won’t ever see the various commands in HTML language showing up on screen (unless someone has written an error into the programming) but without it being there in the background, most web pages would be a jumbled mess of information with no set structure.

HTTP – Hypertext Transfer Protocol
Though this one isn’t strictly a true acronym, the letters still have great purpose, helping to act as part of a request message from the client (a user’s web browser) to the server (where data is stored). Forming part of the web address, it is basically part of the process of grabbing information from where it is stored and displaying it on your screen.

HTTPS - Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure
The more security-minded brother of HTTP, where you see HTTPS in usage as part of a web address, it indicates that the information you’re looking for will be encrypted in some form, usually as part of a site where a financial transaction or transfer of secure files will take place. Expect any site of this nature to be password protected in some form.

PPC – Pay Per Click
There is a relatively sure-fire way to appear on the front page of the search rankings when you’ve got a new website or product you want to shout about quickly, but it will come at a cost. Companies can effectively ‘bid’ for a place on the front page of the search results for a given term, provided they agree to pay an agreed fee for each user that clicks through to look at their site, hence ‘pay per click’.

He who pays most usually takes top spot in the advertising rankings, but budgets may be set on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, or however you choose, meaning that if the maximum number of ‘clicks’ a company can afford is exceeded over a given period, they may temporarily disappear from the rankings to give other companies their moment – until budgets allow the big spenders to re-appear.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization
The process by which a website can be improved to try and ensure the best possible ranking via search engines. This can involve a variety of techniques, usually ensuring in the first instance that the written, photographic and video content of the page is actually relevant to the search term you’re hoping to be recognised within, but also the basics such as programming the site to be as efficient as possible for an end user and as well written from a coding viewpoint for a search engine to easily comprehend. Creating valid inbound links from other relevant or popular sites is also part of the SEO process.

SME – Small or Medium Enterprise
This one isn’t actually computer-based, but we use it on our site so we thought we’d explain it! This is basically the term used to describe any business from a one-man band through to successful organisations with workforces in their dozens or potentially hundreds that usually operate on a local or regional scale. In many cases, this describes the kind of company that we’re particularly good at helping – organisations that provide a skilled service and can use the internet to expand their reach beyond regional confines to serve a nationwide or worldwide audience.

WWW – World Wide Web
The one that we’d actually expect most of you to know, the World Wide Web celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2011 having been the brainchild of British physicist and computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Quite simply, it’s that collection of text, images video and everything else that you have access to at your fingertips right now by typing out the appropriate ‘www’ address for whatever you’re looking for.

WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get
Most online content management systems (CMS) will be set up so that end users view the page they are developing in pretty much the form it will take once it has been set to go live, with option to use all the various formatting options you’d expect to get at the top of a word processing software package, such as the Bold or Italics buttons, or the ability to change fonts and their sizes or insert photos/charts, etc. This negates the need for the user to have any knowledge of a programming language such as HTML to design a functional website.

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