In an industry that moves as fast as ours does there are few things that are constants. We enjoy jargon, acronyms and of course companies with silly names (I’m looking at you Google). For those who aren’t as versed in the world of web development this can come across as a confusing mess of jargon, acronyms, and well, silly names. In order to help make sense of this mess we have put together this Web Terms glossary that we hope you’ll find useful when navigating your Web projects.

Accessibility – This refers to a website’s readiness for use with adaptive technologies such as Screen Readers, Screen Magnification Software or Alternative Input Devices.

API – API stands for Application Programming Interface. In simple terms, it is a bit of code that allows two applications to talk to each other. APIs are used all over the internet to do simple things like feed Instagram photos on to websites, pull data from WordPress blogs to be displayed elsewhere or to share your Shopify products on Facebook marketplace. Most major social media applications and website CMS’ such as Shopify and WordPress include APIs. Some applications can be setup using plugins or built in features in a matter of minutes while other applications require custom development.

Assets – these are the images, videos, and text files that make up the content of your website.

AWS – Amazon Web Services is a hosting platform that can be used to host web applications. AWS is a complicated hosting environment that needs dedicated management from a development team.

Backups – Regular backups should be taken of your website so that if you have any problems you can restore your website from a recent backup.

Blog – A blog or web log is a place where individuals or businesses can express ideas, share stories or expertise in a “News” like format. Blogs usually include an archive page where all posts can be seen in one place, along with categories and tags to help navigate the content. A blog is a great way for a business to keep in touch with their site visitors as well as show to Google and other bots that their website is being updated with new and relevant information that users may find interesting on a regular basis.

Booking integration – These are plugins or drop-ins that allow customers to book hotel rooms, services or other appointment-based activities. In general, we recommend that clients use third party apps rather than WordPress plugins for this, however there are plenty of great WordPress plugins that can be used for booking as well.

Captcha – a test or string of code that proves that you are a human visitor and not a bot when filling out a form field or logging in to a website

Categories – Categories on a website are used to help organize blogs, products or custom posts for better navigation.

Chatbot – A Chatbot is a program that runs on a website or in a web application that allows a user to interact with the website to get answers to questions or arrange to speak to a representative. Chatbots can be very simple and follow a prescribed sales script which prompts either an email or chat session. Alternatively they can also be very complicated and utilize an AI (artificial intelligence) that will attempt to answer questions for your visitors without engaging a human representative. There are many excellent third party chatbots on the market.

CMS – CMS stands for Content Management System, this is the interface through which you save and store the content for your website. Using a CMS greatly reduces the need for a developer once your site is complete. Without a CMS you will need a developer to edit your html files to make updates to your website. At GMD we use WordPress and Shopify to build websites. Other popular CMS’ include Squarespace and Wix.

Copy – These are the words on your website.

Copy deck – A copy deck is a document provided at the beginning of a web project that organizes all of the copy for your site into Pages and Section with Headings and CTAs.

cPanel – cPanel is a control panel software providing by some web hosts such as GoDaddy, Inmotion or Bluehost.

CTA – CTA stands for call-to-action. On a website a CTA might be a link to sign up for a newsletter, a link to a sales page, or a button that triggers a video to play. Basically a CTA is an action you want your users to take. CTAs should be clear and represent the goals of your business’ website.

Custom Fields – These are fields that are added to the back end of WordPress to add functionality to a site. Fields can be simple text fields or complex fields that allow flexible content pieces to be added to site pages or posts. At GMD, we use the industry standard plugin Advanced Custom Fields to provide this functionality.

Custom Post Types – Custom Post Types or CPTs are a special kind of post that allows for easier data management and usage within a website. CPTs are often used to create repeatable pages within a site for team members, documents, videos and other assets that can be interlinked using custom taxonomies.

Custom Websites – Custom websites are websites that are designed and developed from scratch for a client. At GMD, Custom Websites are built on WordPress utilizing Custom Post Types, and Custom Fields for optimum ease of use.

Dedicated Hosting – Dedicated hosting is website hosting that is entirely your own. Dedicated hosting environments come with a high price tag and require regular maintenance to ensure that they are secure and performing well.

DNS – DNS stands for Domain Name System. This is the system that allows a plaintext “Domain Name” like to be forwarded to a numerical server location such as 123.456.789 so that you can access that server via your web browser by typing You will need to know where your DNS is stored or hosted in order to launch a new website project. In many cases the DNS is controlled by the domain registrar but in some instances the DNS is controlled by the Web Host.

Domain – The name which users type into the web browser to access your website at its numerical server address.

Domain Registrar – Domains are leased from Domain Registrar’s such as GoDaddy or Namecheap on a yearly basis for a fee.

Drupal – Drupal is a website Content Management System. Drupal often requires developers to add new features or make changes to the site.

E-Commerce Website – websites equipped to take payments and sell products online. At GMD we make E-commerce sites using Shopify but can also add E-Commerce functionality to WordPress websites using WooCommerce.

Email Hosting – The host on which your email files are stored, this can either be a traditional host such as GoDaddy or it can be through a service such as Gsuite or Outlook. We do not provide email hosting services.

FTP – FTP or sFTP is stands for File Transfer Protocol. This is a system for uploading and downloading files on your web server.

Google Analytics – Google Analytics is a service that tracks and records user data and usage of your website. To setup Google Analytics you need to include a script in the code of your website that verifies that the site belongs to you.

Google Maps – Google Maps can be added to your website using an embed (iframe) or by using an API. In order to use the API you have to register an account with Google that has billing enabled. In most use cases Google Maps is a free embed or API.

Google Search Console – Google Search Console is a service that crawls your website and informs you of any search issues such as 404 errors on your site. When your site is launched we also register your sitemap with Search Console so that Google knows what your site map is supposed to be.

Google Tag Manager – Google Tag Manager or GTM is a service that allows you to setup specific goals or actions that you can use to track conversion on your website.

Gravity Forms – Gravity Forms is our preferred WordPress plugin for complex forms. Gravity Forms can be used to add users to Mailchimp lists or connect to popular CRM services such Salesforce or Hubspot.

Headless – A Headless website is one which uses WordPress as its CMS but relies on a single page application built on a javascript framework to serve the front end of the website to the user. This allows for many performance and functionality improvements over a traditional web theme, however Headless sites also rely heavily on development time to get off the ground. These are an excellent choice for enterprise level sites.

Images – images on the web come in several forms, jpegs, pngs, and animated gifs. Images should always be 72dpi RGB files.

Joomla – Joomla is a website Content Management System. Joomla often requires developers to add new features or make changes to the site.

Landing Page – A simple web page with one clear CTA or intent used for marketing purposes as a location to drive traffic from ads, social etc.

Mailchimp – Mailchimp is an industry leading email newsletter SaaS (software as a service).  Mailchimp helps get your newsletter delivered into users inboxes without being marked as spam, like a bulk email normally would.

Meta data – Meta data is the information stored in your website’s html code that tells bots, and web browsers what content is on the site, who owns it, and what other social accounts etc. are also owned by them. We use a WordPress plugin called Yoast to make managing site meta data easy.

Meta description – A Meta description is the meta data snippet that describes what content the user should expect to find on the website. This description should be between 50–160 characters. Every page or post on a WordPress site using Yoast will have a meta description area that should be filled out for best SEO.

Mobile first – A mobile first website is one in which the site design and coding address the needs and usage of mobile users first and scale those decisions up for desktop users. This is opposite to the traditional approach in web design which starts with a desktop design and scales down for mobile devices.

Mobile sites – Mobile sites were introduced to address the need for sites that looked good on mobile phones before responsive sites were standard. Mobile sites often have a address to indicate that it is a mobile site. These sites are very bad for SEO.

MVP -An MVP or Minimum Viable Product is the simplest version of a website or web application that can be launched and still provide users with a useful and enjoyable experience. App developers and Startups use this method to introduce an MVP which can then be scaled based on feedback from real world users.

Optimal Word Count – This is the number of words needed to be in Google’s good books, and less than this and Google will start to lower the ranking for your page. Currently this number is 400 words but more is even better.

Plugins – Plugins are bits of code that are added to WordPress or Shopify sites that add functionality such as the ability to limit access to certain areas of the site, forms, custom fields etc.

Responsive website – A responsive website is one that will adjust its styling based on the size and resolution of a device’s screen.

Scalable –  When a website or web application is scalable it means that it can be added on to at a later date without major refactoring of its code base.

Shared Hosting – Shared hosting is a hosting environment where your website is stored on a server with other websites. Unfortunately you have no control over who your file space is shared with in these environments meaning that you may be sharing space with website of ill repute that will expose your website to threats from bots and other malicious actors. Shared hosting environments are also usually a la carte, meaning they do not include essential services such as SSL Certificates, Backups, Updates, or Security without paying an additional fee.

Shopify – Industry Leading E-Commerce platform. All-in-one service that includes hosting, cart and checkout areas, payment options and shipping calculations.

Single Page applications – a single page application uses a javascript framework such as React to serve up an application within the browser. These are custom applications that are highly customizable and come with a commensurate price tag

Single Page Website – A website where the content is all displayed on one page. Often single page websites are optimized for mobile users, however there on page SEO often suffers for lack of crawlable content.

Squarespace – Squarespace is a SaaS that provides the ability to make a website on their CMS for a monthly fee. Squarespace can be a great option to get started with a website but is not suited to the needs of many businesses.

SSL certificate – a Security certificate that allows your site to be displayed with an https address indicating that it is secure.

Stripe – Stripe is an online payment provider that can be added to your website or even to a form so that you can take payments online.

Tags – Tags are usually used on a website to provide granular attribution of characteristics to posts, products or custom post types. Tags are also often used for creating filters in e-commerce or similar contexts.

Taxonomies – Taxonomies are just like Categories. These can be used to create very specific organization structures within a website. For example, a Team member post type might have a custom taxonomy for “Role” and another for “Department”. These taxonomies can then be used to interlink this team member with other content on the site that relates to their “Role” and “Department”.

Theme Websites – Theme websites are websites built using a theme framework. At GMD, we use theme frameworks to provide efficiencies on sites with small site maps.

Updates – On WordPress websites regular updates need to be made to the core software, plugins and themes to ensure that your site is performing at its best and is fully secure.

Videos – Web videos can either be hosted on your site which requires good hosting and lots of bandwidth or they can be served using services such as YouTube or Vimeo and then embedded using and iframe or API connection.

VPS – A VPS is a Virtual Private Server. In this type of hosting environment you have a partitioned segment of a server that is entirely your own. This offers some of the advantages of a Dedicated hosting environment at a lower cost. Depending on the hosting provider a VPS may require maintenance or it may be included with your monthly costs.

Web App – This is an application that runs inside of the web browser. Web applications can be very simple (a quiz) or very complex (AirBnB). Web applications can rely on input from users or from stored browser data to provide a tailored experience that is specific to that user.

Web Application Firewall – A firewall that is run on the server to ensure that malicious actors are not able to gain access to your site.

Web Form – A web form is a form that collects information using html form elements. Web forms can be created using third party services such as Google Docs or Jotforms, or they can be built right into your site using a WordPress or Shopify plugin.

Website Hosting – Physical location where the files that comprise your website are stored (hosted).

Wix – Wix is a Sofware as Service (SaaS) that provides the ability to make a website on their CMS for a monthly fee. Wix can be a great option to get started with a website but is not suited to the needs of many businesses

WooCommerce – WordPress plugin to convert a WordPress website into an E-Commerce site by adding the ability to create products, collections, cart page,

WordPress – Industry leading Content Management System. WordPress is open source software that allows developers around the globe to share knowledge with one another. WordPress currently comprises approx. 40% of the internet.

WordPress Hosting – This is hosting that is dedicated to hosting WordPress websites. By focusing on one technology these hosts are able to provide a faster and more secure hosting environment for WordPress websites. Our hosting is provided by a WordPress hosting company on a VPS where only GMD websites are hosted.