I hang out in various blogging groups a lot. I see the same questions or confusion over certain web design related terminology pop up time and time again. I want to help bloggers understand some of these common terms and empower themselves to learn more about their blog as well as gain the confidence to talk to a designer and feel like you know what they are saying. (PS your designer should always help clarify anything you don’t understand, if they don’t find a new designer!)
It doesn’t matter if you are a new blogger or an experienced one, you still may find conversing with a designer or getting help from a developer confusing due to the differences in terminology. Just because you are a blogger doesn’t mean you’re familiar with the ins and outs of the web development industry’s terms, especially when it seems like there’s a new one to learn each week! You won’t find these definitions in the dictionary, but hopefully they will help you understand what that designer is on about!
This is your url for example, my domain is paritydesigns.com. You need this if you are going to have a self-hosted blog. It may or may not be included with your blog’s hosting package (many hosts do include a free domain for new accounts so be sure to read your package details).
ProTip: Still confused about this whole Domain/Host thing and if you need both? Answers this way.
This is the little icon that you will see displayed in your browser when someone is on your site, or saves your site to their bookmarks. It’s not mandatory to have, but if you have a custom one it gives your site a more professional look.
File Transfer Protocol. This is a method to easily transfer files from your computer to your host and is usually done with a FTP client. A designer or developer may ask you for this information if they will be uploading files to your site (ex. uploading a theme or plugin or editing your code). Your host usually provides this information and often will give it to you in one of their introductory emails.
Host or Web Host
This is the company, person or organization that gives you a place to put all the files you need to have your blog. This service may or may not include a domain name.
This is the generic term that means your site supports, in some way, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. This can be done one of four ways:
- Apps – You know what an app is 😉 This is usually best for sites that allow account management (ex: banks, shopping sites, etc).
- Mobile site – Great for sites that are very complex, like news sites.
- Responsive – The site’s design changes based on the view port size of the device viewing the site.
- Adaptive – Displays a different version of the site depending on the device viewing the site.
IMPORTANT: Google says your site MUST be mobile friendly by April 21 or it could hurt your search engine rankings! If yours isn’t you need to implement one of these solutions ASAP! Get in touch if you need a responsive blog design and I’ll be happy to help!
This means your site will work on a variety of devices from desktop computers to mobile devices, to TVs and smart watches. It might not look exactly the same on every device but it will change so that your visitors can use your site no matter what device they are on.
Search Engine Optimization. This is what helps search engines find your blog and the content you post, doing SEO well means you will get more traffic! It does not mean there’s one sure-fire way to get to the top of the search results in a short time.
Themes are what gives WordPress sites their look. If your site was a car, WordPress would be the engine and framework. The theme would be the body work and the paint job. Themes come in three varieties:
- Custom designed – These are designed just for you by a designer. No one will have the same theme. These usually run around $500.
- Premium – These cost a small fee usually around $30-50 dollars. Not custom, but usually look slightly more custom than a free theme.
- Free – Free and readily available, these are not custom and many other sites will use them, however there are still great options out there…and some not so good options.
WordPress is a free & open source content management system. However there are two terms you will see floating around the blogging community related to it:
- WordPress.org aka Self Hosted
In addition to free accounts WordPress.com offers managed WordPress hosting options. You can host through them. Self hosted aka WordPress.org means that your blog runs on WordPress, but it’s hosted on your own host with your own domain.