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Melissa Smith

By Melissa Smith

Dec 10, 2018


Web Design
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Web Design

42 Web Development Terms Everyone Should Know

Melissa Smith

By Melissa Smith

Dec 10, 2018

42 Web Development Terms Everyone Should Know

Do you ever find yourself sitting in a meeting or even after a meeting scratching your head wondering what on the earth your web developer is/was talking about?

I mean, what language were they speaking?

Don’t worry it happens to a good amount of us.

I can remember when I first started to grow an interest in development, I had no idea what I was reading. (Yes, you read that right. This coming from a self-taught developer).

Whether you are a marketer, designer, or someone completely unfamiliar with development, it is important to at least have a basic understanding of what they mean.

You ask, why should I have a basic understanding?

It is important so that you don’t sit in a meeting with a blank stare on your face having no idea what your web development team is talking about.

You can certainly still ask for a little more clarification, as we love to help explain what we do, but it is always good to have a base understanding. Plus, the global coding market is expected to hit $7 billion by 2023. So, these terms are only going to become more common!

Below are 42 development terms that will help you better understand what is going on during your website process.

1. 301 Redirect

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. This type of redirect is usually used to redirect from an old website page to the new website page.

2. 404

404 is an error message that a user sees when what was requested cannot be found. This is often due to trying to reach a page that doesn’t exist, or an incorrectly typed page URL. (Here are some examples of clever 404 pages.)

3. Accessibility

Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people who experience disabilities. (More on that here.)

4. ALT Tag

ALT is an abbreviation for “alternative descriptive text” that is added to the image tag. ALT text plays an important role in optimizing websites for ADA compliance and SEO ranking.

5. API

API stands for “Application Program Interface.” This is how computers and applications can communicate with one another.

6. Bandwidth

This is the amount of data that can be transmitted over a connection in a given time.

7. Breakpoints / Media Queries

These are points when your website will adjust to accommodate the screen size to make sure the user has the best experience viewing the website at that size.

They are usually industry set, such as mobile, tablet, and desktop, but your developer can adjust as needed to match your specific audience.

8. Bounce Rate

In the words of Google, your bounce rate is the percentage at which a person leaves your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page. (Here are a few ways you can work on improving your bounce rate.)

9. Cache

Cache is temporary data storage that helps site speed by storing relevant information on your computer the first time you visit a website. Thanks to cache, when you visit the website again, your computer does not have to reload all the website information as its already saved.

10. Cookies

Don’t get this confused with the dessert that Cookie Monster loves so much.

(Fun fact: I share a birthday with Cookie Monster. Not joking.)

This is data saved by your web browser on to your computer. It identifies you -- from how often you visit a site, to what parts you visit the most, even your preferences when browsing and more.

11. Call-to-Action (CTA)

My inbound marketers will recognize this one! This can be text, image, banner. or button that uses action-oriented language to get the user to click and engage with the website.

12. Classes

An identifier used to define different sections of a website to help target for styling purposes in your CSS file. Speaking of which....

13.  CSS

CSS stands for “Cascading Style Sheets.” This code that tells the browser how to display your website. This includes global styles for fonts, colors, images, menus, etc.

14. CMS

CMS stands for “Content Management System.”  This is a software system (like HubSpot or WordPress) that is used to edit the content on your website.

15. Crawl

This is what it is called when a search engine sends a bot to your website to gather information on pages that exist and no longer exist and update their database on the information it has gathered. It is necessary to get indexed by search engines and get found.

16. CDN

CDN stands for “Content Delivery Network.” This is a system of computers with scripts and other content that are used by many websites. The content on these computer will often be cached and be helpful in speeding up your website.

17. DNS

This is always a hard one to fully explain and Cloudflare does an awesome job.

“The Domain Name System (DNS) is basically the phonebook of the Internet. Humans access information online through domain names, like or Web browsers interact through Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

DNS translates domain names to IP addresses so browsers can load Internet resources.”

18. Favicon

Short for “Favorite Icon,” this is the icon that appears in your website browser tab.


19. Framework

A framework is defined as “a package made up of a structure of files and folders of standardized code (HTML, CSS, JS documents etc.).

This is a technical way of saying a set of software tools that helps people build websites easier.

(Examples: Bootstrap, Skeleton)

20. FTP

FTP is short for “File Transfer Protocol.” When it comes to websites, this is how files are uploaded to the internet.

21. Hosting

Hosting refers to a web server where the files for your website are stored.

22. HTML

Also known as “Hypertext Markup Language,” this is the language that is used to build your website pages and display content like content, images, video, and links on the web.


Instant SSL states, Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to.

The 'S' at the end of HTTPS stands for 'Secure.' It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. HTTPS is often used to protect highly confidential online transactions like online banking and online shopping order forms.

24. Javascript

Javascript is a programing language that is commonly used to create interactive effects within web browsers. For example, clicking on a frequently asked question and having the answer appear below.

25. Meta Tag

A meta tag is an important HTML tag for SEO ranking as it stores information about the web page. Search engines use this information to categorize websites and display information in the results.

26. Navigation

This can also be called a menu. This is how visitors get to different parts of your website.

27. Page Speed

Page speed refers to the amount of time it takes to load all content on a specific web page.

28. Page Template

A page template is a unique layout for a page or multiples pages of your website.

29. Plug-in

This is an add-on to a CMS (such as WordPress) to allow you to add features and extend functionality to your website.

30. Propagation

Propagation is the amount of time required for changes to your domain name servers to take effect.

In other words, when DNS changes are made, every DNS server in the world needs to update its records of what IP is associated with which domains and this can take time.

31. Registrar

Your registrar is the company used to register a domain. (Examples: GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc)

32. Responsive Design

Responsive design is a website that should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size. This is done automatically by using breakpoints/media queries in the CSS file.

33. Schema Markup

Schema Markup is code that you put on your website to help search engine give more informative results for users.

There are many different kinds of schema and some of the most common are organizational schema markup, website schema markup, site navigation schema markup, video schema markup, and even more for eCommerce sites.

34. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You know this one! SEO is the process of creating and modifying content for the best visibility on search engines.

35. SERP

SERP stands for Search Engine Results Pages and are pages that display the results from a searcher's search query.

36. Server Side Scripting

Server Side Scripting is a technique used in development which involves utilizing scripts on a web server that produce a custom response for each user’s request to the website.

37. Sitemap

This is organization chart of all the pages on a website (and they’re very important.)

38. SSL

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links. This ensures that all data transmitted between the web server and the browser remains secure.

39. User Experience (UX)

UX or user experience is the interaction a user has with an interface (such as an app or a website page).

40. User Interface (UI)

UI is the interaction between the visitor and a computer.

41. Wireframe

A wireframe is visual guide used to  show the structure of a web page without any design elements. It typically comes into play during a website redesign or page design.


WYSIWYG stands for “what you see is what you get.” It’s an interface inside some CMSes that allows you to apply styles to text and insert graphics. 

This allows marketers to edit content without coding knowledge and see exactly what the finished product will look like as they are making changes.

Now, You’re Speaking My Language.

There you have it. Now, there are hundreds of terms when it comes to web development, but these are some of the most commonly used in everyday conversation here at IMPACT and likely in any marketing office.

Happy learning, and I hope your conversations with your development team go a lot better after understanding these terms.

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