Website Terminology and Web Marketing Terms


Unless you work with digital assets on a daily basis, the industry jargon proves a bit hard to follow. First, there are a lot of acronyms (e.g. SEO, SEM, PPC, URL, PHP). What in the world do all those letters stand for? Then they expect you to understand the subtle differences between things like web design and web development. No, they are not the same thing. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would put together a resource of basic website terminology definitions?

We thought so too.

Basic Website Terminology Definitions and Web Marketing Terms

404 Errors

When someone clicks a link and that page no longer exists on the web, Google returns a 404 Not Found Error. When a website has a lot of these, it can affect their search ranking.

301 Redirects

A 301 Redirect tells Google that you have replaced one URL with another – permanently. That way when someone clicks on a page that no longer exists, they will not receive a 404 error but will be taken to the new page instead.


AdWords refers to the paid advertising system used by Google. Advertisers pay to have their websites listed first in the search results when people search for specific keywords. Each time a searcher clicks on the advertisement, Google charges a fee to the advertiser. Normally, Google reserves the first four spots in the search results for paid ads, followed by local listings, and then SEO results.

Bing SEO

Google is the primary search engine but it’s not the only one. Bing is the second most popular search engine and the ranking algorithm is slightly different than Google’s. Many SEO professionals will optimize website content for both. They often refer to Bing SEO when they are talking about the latter.

Bounce Rate

Your bounce rate is the percentage of people who come to your site and leave again after only viewing one page.

Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system (such as WordPress) is a software program used to create and link your website content together. Think of it as a filing cabinet where each piece of content is labeled and cross-referenced for easy access. Your CMS uses PHP to access and display those files.


Website conversion is convincing your visitors to perform a specific task. This may take the form of registration, calling, or even making a purchase. The goal is to get them to take the “next step.”

Conversion Rate

The conversion rate is just the mathematical percentage of visitors that perform the desired task. For instance, the number of visitors that register for a seminar divided by the total number of visitors would give you the conversion rate for that objective.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

When you specifically design a landing page and its message so that it converts visitors into leads and/or leads into customers, then you are implementing conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies. This can include color theory, visual design, and messaging.

Cost Per Click

Most people incorrectly use website terminology, cost-per-click (CPC) and pay-per-click (PPC) interchangeably. PPC is the type of advertising program in which in pay for traffic (such as Adwords). CPC is the actual cost of that program.

Email Marketing

Email is just one of many marketing channels available.  Most businesses use email marketing campaigns to engage with existing clients or potential customers and to move them along their buyer journey.


Some companies highlight promotions or certain products using microsites. A microsite is a small (often one-page) website that exists apart from a larger corporate site. It can be a subdomain of the main site or a separate domain altogether.

Page vs Post

A landing page is a piece of static content on your website. For most, it includes your homepage, service pages, About Me, and Contact Page. Think of pages as the content that anchors your website.

Posts, on the other hand, are usually what we call “the blog.” They provide news and updates. Posts are written to reach targeted audiences and help drive traffic to your pages. Google sees sites with a lot of quality posts as more credible and gives them a boost in the search engine results.


Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a paid advertising program where you pay when someone clicks on your website in the search results. Participants in the program bid on the top ranking spot for their desired search terms. For highly competitive industries, PPC increases the likelihood that your website will be found.


PHP is the programming language used for dynamic website content. In other words, it tells the different files within your CMS how to interact with one another.


Search engine marketing (SEM) is all the combined strategies you use to drive traffic to your website. It includes Adwords, local directories, and SEO.


Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the strategies used to improve a website’s visibility in the search results. Some of the elements used in SEO include keywords, formatting, content, images, and links. It is just one part of your SEM strategy.

Resource: 5 SEO Questions to Ask Before Building a Website


This acronym should be part of any website owner’s basic website terminology. The letter SERP stand for Search Engine Results Page. When you Google a search term, this is the page of results that appear on your screen.

Split Testing

Also known as multivariate or A/B testing, split testing is a series of controlled experiments meant to improve website metrics. For example, you may test two versions of the same email to see which subject line generates more response. Based on the results, you can better plan future email campaigns.

Unique Value Proposition

In a nutshell, your unique value proposition is a clear statement that defines what you have to offer that your competition does not. It answers the question, “Why should I choose your product or service”? It is one of the most powerful and important marketing tools at your disposal.

Web Design

The web design is the front-facing presentation seen by your visitors. It often incorporates the look and purpose of the website. It often involves the visual elements along with website text to move your customers through your marketing funnel.

Web Development

Creating the custom code that makes your website “work.” Whether you are using a website template or have a completely custom site, someone will need to set up encryption and load scripts for Google Analytics and other tracking programs. Web development is about the back-end mechanics of a website.


WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that is used for both blogging and website development. Basically, it is the “filing cabinet” for all your files.

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