How to Talk to Your Web Designer: Website Terminology 101

It’s no secret that having a strong online presence for your company is a major factor in building your business’s long-term success. While not every entrepreneur has the skills to design a stellar website on their own, working with a professional is a great option.

When outsourcing this responsibility, it’s important to be able to communicate with your website designer to get the best results. To help facilitate smooth communication, we’ve compiled this list of basic website terminology. 

Accessibility & ADA Compliance

In terms of web design, when we talk about accessibility we are talking about how accessible a website is to people with disabilities. Accessibility includes both the content and functions of a website. 

ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the ADA, websites are legally required to be accessible by people with disabilities. You can follow this link to make sure your website is ADA compliant. 


A vertically stacked list of items that can be clicked to reveal or hide content relevant to each item.

Closed accordion:

Open accordion:


Active State vs. Inactive State

The active state is how an item element in a menu or toolbar looks when it is currently being viewed or used. Therefore, an inactive state is how that element looks when it is not currently being viewed. 

Alt Text/Alt Tag

This is the text used in HTML to describe an image on a website. If an image fails to load on a website, the alt text will appear in its place. Alt text is important for both accessibility and SEO. If someone with a visual impairment is using a screen reader to visit a website, the alt text is the description of the picture that the screen reader will use. Search engines also use alt text to read your website and rank it based on content.


The backend is the part of the website that regular users cannot see or interact with. It is where a lot of the website development happens. If you create a blog post or add a product to your website, you are doing so on the backend.


This term refers to the text at the top of a web page (underneath the header) that helps users have a better understanding of where they are on the website. For example, this text on an athletic apparel site may read ‘Running Shoes > Men’s Shoes > New Releases.’

Users are also generally able to click the text within the breadcrumb, which allows them to stay in the niche they’re active on within the site.

Call to Action

As the name implies, a call to action (CTA) is a phrase or sentence that encourages users to take a particular action. More often than not, it asks them to sign up for an email newsletter, follow the company on social media, etc.

These are essential to incorporate since many users aren’t as likely to take a specified action without guidance. A CTA usually takes the form of a button on the page. This can be a graphic or in-line link, and is generally more successful if it stands out from the other information on the site.


CMS stands for Content Management System. A CMS is a software that is used to create and manage digital content. It is very helpful when developing a website as it can be used to update content and manage a website. WordPress is our go-to CMS. 


This is the actual meat and potatoes of your website. Content refers to the text, images, sounds, and videos that make up your webpage. 


CSS is short for Cascading Sheet Styles. It is a style language used to describe the presentation of an HTML document. Using CSS helps improve accessibility and provides more flexibility and control over the customization of an HTML document. Because it allows for more unique customization, CSS can also take a bit more time to develop. 


The domain is the name of your website.They are used in URLs to identify your web page.

Dropdown Menu

This type of menu expands downward to reveal an extended list of pages when a user hovers over the main text with their mouse. It allows you to save a significant amount of space on your website.

File Size

File size is different from image size. It refers to the amount of space–or data–a file takes up on a particular drive (either your computer, an external drive, or the cloud). File size is measured in bytes (B), kilobytes (KB), megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB), terabytes (TB), etc. 


The footer is placed at the bottom of each page of the website. Information on the footer can include elements such as basic contact info, a copyright notice, links to social media, a call to action, a sitemap, etc. The footer remains consistent as a user navigates through the website.


The frontend of the website refers to the web pages that regular users see and interact with. It contains all of the content that you want people to access through visiting your site. 


The header is placed at the top of each page of the website. It generally contains a business’s logo and name. It also remains consistent as a user navigates through the website. Often the header will also contain a menu and search bar.

Hero Image

This is the oversized banner image that is placed at the top of a website. It is an important visual that is often the first thing that people will see when they visit the site.


This is the main page on a website that provides an overview of the company and its services. It is the page that viewers will see when they navigate to your website’s url.


Hovering is when you place your cursor over a link without pressing on it. With certain web designs, hovering will activate a visual effect such as the link changing color or a thumbnail popup of the URL page that will load if you click the link.


HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. HTML is the standard markup language for creating Web pages. HTML describes the structure of a Web page. HTML consists of a series of elements. HTML elements tell the browser how to display the content.


This can be a word, phrase, or image that redirects you to a new link or document when clicked. A hyperlink can also redirect you to a different section of the current web page you are on. If text contains a hyperlink, it is typically a different color or style than the rest of the text on the page. 

Image Size vs. Resolution

The size and resolution of an image are related, but they are not the same thing. Both terms tell us something about the amount of pixels in an image. Pixels are basically the smallest visual elements that make up an image. If you zoom into an image as far as you can, you will see that the pixels are all of the squares  that form the greater picture. 

Resolution refers to the density of pixels in an image, read as ppi (pixels per inch). This means that an image with 72ppi has 72 pixels per square inch, and likewise a photo with 300ppi would have 300 pixels per square inch. 

Size refers to the actual height and width of an image in pixels. Despite what you might see on CSI, if you take a small sized image with a low number of ppi, and try to enlarge it, the image will become blurry. Similarly, if you increase the resolution on an image, the overall size of the image will shrink. 

When adding banner or slider images to your website it is best to use ones that are at least 1200 pixels wide at 72 ppi. 

Keyword or Keyphrase

These are the words and phrases that someone would enter into a search engine to find your website. They define what your website content is about. It is important to make sure your website contains the keywords and keyphrases most relevant to your website content so that someone typing those words into a search engine will be able to find your site. 

Landing Page

Used for digital marketing, a landing page is a single webpage with a specific goal. Typically someone will arrive at a landing page by clicking on a link in an email or on an advertisement. It has one focus or call to action and unlike a homepage it does not navigate to the other menu items on your site. 


The menu is a list of links to all of the important pages on your website. It is often located in the header or a sidebar.


This refers to linking one web page to multiple URLs. It is what happens when you type in a particular URL and the website forwards you to the web page of a different URL. It allows someone to attach multiple domain names to the same website, or prevent old links from not working if you move web pages on your site. 

Search Bar

The search bar is a field where users can type keywords or queries to help them navigate through the website. Product names or categories are common search terms people use. The search bar is typically located in the upper-right corner of a web page, within the header.


Short for Search Engine Optimization, SEO is the process of getting your website to rank higher on a search engine. Searching the web is one of the main ways people find websites, so it is crucial that you maximize your websites searchability. We offer a free local SEO report, so you can see how your website currently ranks. 


This navigational element is located on the right or left side of the webpage.  It displays key information that users will likely be looking for on your site. Often it will contain a navigation menu and/or news, ads, or contact info.


A slider refers to a rotating slideshow incorporated into a web page. It’s referred to as a slider because of the transitions often applied to the images as they change. Sliders can contain background images, text, overlays, and more.


A slug is found at the end of a URL and references the particular page on a website that you are on. It should identify the page using straight forward terms that make it easily readable for both search engines and users. Typically, if you have multiple words in a slug, they are separated by hyphens. 


SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and refers to the security of a website. If your website handles sensitive information or data such as handling eCommerce payments, then it needs to have the added security of an SSL certificate. Your website hosting company can apply an SSL to your website, or one can be installed from a third party provider. If you don’t know how much to pay or who to use, ask your web developer for a suggestion!


Short for Uniform Resource Locator, a URL is more commonly known as a web address. For example the URL of the site you are currently on is The URL of the blog post you are reading is, which is the URL of the website plus the slug for this specific page.

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