Glossary … or Web Terminology Explained Simply!
Have you ever wondered what some web terminology means?? Don’t worry – you’re not alone!
So let’s try to answer a few of those questions for you … Hopefully the following will explain some of the more common terms you’ll hear. We’ll start at the very beginning, and then build on that …
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that uses a standard form of communicating between themselves. The Internet had its origins back in the early 80s, and has evolved over the years since then to become an enormous “network of networks”, comprising millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, all linked together by various types of electronic, wireless and optical technology.
The Internet runs many different information services – think BIG Apps! Probably the two most well-known are the World Wide Web (WWW) and Email. Some other services that run on the Internet include file transfer, remote computer control, newsgroups, and online games. The “World Wide Web” and “WWW” are terms often used interchangeably with “Internet”, but technically the World Wide Web refers to a vast collection of interconnected documents (usually called web pages), that can be accessed on the Internet.
Individual pages on the Web are normally accessed via a Web Browser. There are many different browsers around, but the most common are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari.
Each individual page on the Web has a unique identification code, known as a URL (Uniform Resource Locator). For instance, the URL of this Glossary page you are currently reading is “http://www.timesaverswebdesign.com.au/glossary”. If you type a URL into the Address Bar of a Browser, the browser will then display the related Web page. By the way, the “http” prefix stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol” and just refers to the way all computers on the Internet exchange data between themselves. Often these days, it isn’t necessary to type the “http://www.” part of a URL into the browser’s Address Bar.
In order to navigate to other Web pages, browsers can also usethat have been specially setup within a Web Page, sparing you from knowing – and typing! – a long URL. All you need to do is click on the “link”, and your browser finds the unique identification code for the page you requested, and then displays the related page of information.
Any information published on the Web must be attached to a domain name. For instance, the domain name for this website is www.timesaverswebdesign.com.au – all pages on this website will include that domain name in their URL. Each domain name on the Internet must be unique, and is administered by a particular individual, business or organisation – with all details being recorded in a central registry. For a business, their domain name becomes their business name on the Internet. The suffix part of a domain name (eg. “.com.au”) refers to the type of entity which owns that domain name (eg “.com” is normally a commercial business), and the country it is registered in (“au” is Australia).
So when a business creates a website, where are all their individual website pages stored, so that people – using a Web Browser – can actually find the information??? That’s where Web Hosting companies come in… Web Hosting companies have huge capacity computers connected to the Internet, and they provide the ability for you to store your information on their computers, so other computers that are part of the Internet can access your web pages. This is known as “hosting” your information, and is usually provided via an annual subscription service.
As the amount of information stored on the Web amassed over time, there grew a need to have an easy way to find the information you wanted. That’s how Search Engines evolved. The most popular of these is the infamous Google, which takes the lion’s share of the search-engine market. Alternatives to Google, that also have a good user base, are Yahoo and Bing. Search engines work by using an automated program (often called a “spider”) to “crawl” (or read through) every page on the web, and then index what they find, to make later retrieval of the information super-fast. Pictures and other media types in a website can also be indexed – not just words.
The usefulness of a search engine depends on the relevance of the results it gives back. While there may be millions of web pages that include a particular word or phrase, some pages may be more relevant, popular, or authoritative than others. Most search engines use methods to “rank” the results to provide the “best” results first. How a search engine decides which pages are the best matches, and what order the results should be shown in, can vary widely.
So in order for a business to be found on the Web (apart from someone just typing in the URL of the website directly into their browser), it’s important that the website and its pages rank well in major search engines – particularly Google, as that’s by far the most popular search engine. From the need for a website to rank well to be found, has grown the role of “Search Engine Optimisation” or SEO. It’s important when creating a website to incorporate SEO concepts, so you can maximise the visibility of your site to the web-browsing public.
How are the pages of websites created and displayed? Three major steps are involved:
- Telling your browser WHAT to display … this is done by HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language)
- Telling your browser HOW to display the content, so it’s more eye-catching and appealing … this is done by CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
Because HTML, CSS and other programming languages are often difficult for the inexperienced to use, interface programs (or “platforms”) developed, which allow end-users with no technical background to create content for their websites, and also allow them to have some measure of control over how that content is displayed on the Web. These platforms are known as Content Management Systems (or “CMS”).
Probably the most popular and flexible CMS these days is WordPress, which is used worldwide by both individual bloggers,
large global businesses – and everything in between! WordPress provides a wonderfully easy platform for an end-user to have instant control over the content of their website, and that’s why we at TimeSavers Web Design develop all our websites using the WordPress platform. We do the “heavy lifting” for you in creating the look and feel you want for your website. It’s then a simple matter for you to update the content of your pages, whenever you want! But don’t worry if computers aren’t your thing. We are always available to do the updating of that content for you. WordPress is just a handy tool that provides immediate content updating options for those who are a little computer-savvy!