An online presence is an absolute necessity these days, but entering the web world can feel like learning a new language. Keeping up with continuously evolving technology, new terminology and industry trends can feel daunting.
But don’t fret! Here are five commonly used terms and phrases to help ease a beginner into this foreign subject and hopefully lessen some of the intimidation when taking those first steps toward the launch of a website.
Domain vs. URL
The domain of a website is the text version of the IP (internet protocol) address — in other words, it’s the short form of the website address, which is usually easier to remember. An example would be google.com. The domain is typically used when creating branded materials or speaking about how to find a website online. The URL (uniform resource locator) is the complete version of the web address. The URL contains the domain but also contains parts such as the method, protocol, hostname, port and sometimes the path of a particular file or page. An example of the Google domain as a URL would be https://www.google.com/. And this could also be considered a partial URL, since doing a search on Google directs you to pages with longer URLs like https://www.google.com/search?q=… with the search terms and many characters following.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
An SSL certificate allows for authentication and encryption of data which includes, but is not limited to, names, addresses, passwords and credit card information. Having an SSL in place helps improve your customers’ trust. If a customer sees your website has no SSL in place, they might consider it a red flag in regard to the protection and security of their personal information. The easiest way to check if your website is currently using an SSL is to go to your website on a browser of your choosing and look at how the URL appears in the search bar. If the URL contains “HTTPS” in the front of the domain, your website is secure. If the URL only contains “HTTP,” then the certificate is not in place and we recommend installing one. Google also made a change to their algorithm in 2014, which recognized secure HTTPS websites more favorably than nonsecure HTTP websites. Who doesn’t want to rank well for Google?
Website analytics give you the ability to understand the behavior of the traffic to your website, predict future behavior and influence prospective behavior. Many tools are available to track your website analytics. At Imagine, we use Google analytics and Google search terms to help our clients monitor their traffic behavior. Some of the behaviors we like to monitor and discuss include, but are not limited to: number of visitors, the pages they are spending the most time on, how they navigate your website, the device used and the terms used to find your website.
Websites are now viewed from screens ranging in size and orientation, using various browsers with differing script requirements. In addition to being functional and aesthetically pleasing on a desktop monitor, the layout and legibility of a website need to be tested on a device differing in size and orientation. An easy way to check the responsiveness of your website is to shrink the screen size you’re viewing the content on and open your website in a new browser. Paying attention to font sizes, functionality, navigation and links throughout the website is key to ensuring end-user success.
Internal and External Links
Websites are full of links, and the types of links vary in how they improve functionality and increase search engine optimization (SEO). Two of the most used links are internal and external links. An internal link directs traffic to different pages on your website. Internal links contain your domain and do not take traffic beyond your website. External links hyperlink to a page or resource that does not contain your domain. Traffic can end up on your website from another websites’ external link, and, likewise, an external link on your site can direct your traffic to additional information or resources beyond your website. Both internal and external linking is important for your website functionality and SEO.
If you have questions about any of these terms, contact us and we’ll be happy to help!
Senior Designer Julie Varley is Imagine’s resident ray of sunshine, which is fitting given her Florida residence.