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Holistic Website Planning

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Holistic Website Planning

Terms used in Web Projects

The following list of terms are commonly associated with website build projects and their longer term support. Many of these are referenced in the book, but the list below will be helpful for anyone involved in a website project.

Glossary of Terms


The broad subject of making your website accessible across devices and making provision for users with specific access requirements. Making your accessible for individuals with different needs is a legal requirement and of course best practice to ensure no one is prevented from being able to access information or complete a task online.

Anchor text

The clickable text in a link to another page. Anchor text should be descriptive (supporting SEO and the UX) and avoid phrases such as ‘click here’.

A/B Test

A method of testing different versions of a webpage or email campaign. Two variants are seen by a limited number of users over a period of the time, with the version that makes the greatest impact version then used on the remaining pool of users.

Above/Below the Fold

A term that relates to traditional broadsheet newspapers where content would be displayed either above or below the fold. In web terms it refers to content that can be immediately seen when the page loads (above the fold) or content that requires the user to scroll (below the fold).

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

A type of mobile page developed by Google intended to speed up your site and improve your rankings on mobile devices. However the page format requires a separate code template with content cached by Google so visits to these pages can't be monitored.

API (Application Programming Interface)

A set of coded rules that allow a website to link in with other systems, applications or services so they can share data and features to extend functionality.


App is short for application, which can refer to a mobile app or a website based Saas service. It can also refer to your eCommerce platform or content management system.


A term that refers to the processing done on the web server or a login area that might be used to make changes to your website.


Temporary storage found on servers and in your web browser that takes a snapshot of a website at a specific time. Caching can be implemented in several different ways, but by loading cached pages, performance and the user experience of using the site can be significantly improved.


Clicks by visitors that are recorded typically from ads and email links directing traffic to your website.


The term given to a variety of web-based services. In reality, the cloud is on the ground, housed in data centres across the world that store your data, making it accessible from anywhere though a website or application.


Customer Relationship Management. Software (typically a Saas app these days) that allows you to keep customer records and details of your sales prospects.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheet)

A file that contains all the style rules for a website. These rules cascade across pages to ensure a consistent look and feel to the design.

CX (Customer Experience)

The end to end interactions a customer has with your company across all touch points or platforms (includes online or offline). This is not the same as UX, which refers to digital platforms and contributes to the overall customer experience.


Most website content management systems or web apps require a database to store your content and other records. These can be in a variety of different formats depending on your technology stack.

Denial of Service Attack (DDoS)

The system that routes traffic around the web based on domain names and server IP addresses.


The system that routes traffic around the web based on domain names and server IP addresses.


When people interact with your content online through likes, comments, replies and shares, these are all classed as engagement. Higher engagement rates suggest people like and value your content.


A term used to refer to website behaviour within the browser and output seen by users, so typically content, on-page behaviours, look and feel.


A typical website CMS will allow you to manage content and hold the rules for how its displayed. A headless CMS decouples the content management from the content display. In other words the CMS isn't the website, but the content engine only, making that content available to other digital platforms such as mobile apps or other devices.


The server (or combination of servers for more complex sites) housed in a data centre where your website is stored and accessed by the world.


The coding language used to build the structure of your website. This is what browsers and search engines read and interpret when displaying a webpage. HTML is also used in email campaigns.


Often referred to in SEO or online advertising, an impression is registered when your ad or search result is displayed for a given search phrase, but there was no clickthrough. In other words, the link appeared, but was either overlooked, or wasn't compelling enough to encourage action.

Inbound Marketing

The process of drawing in potential customers by providing content that they're actively looking for, as opposed to Outbound Marketing which focused on mass broadcast distribution in the hope that potential customers will respond to it.


A coding language that runs in the browser. It’s commonly used to create all the dynamic on-page behaviours for your website, such as interactive elements, animations, validating email addresses or auto-saving data.


An image format that is widely used for images on websites. It offers the best type of compression (file size) for the quality and should be the default image type used for editorial images on websites.


A coding language that runs on web servers. It’s used for transactional processing and calculations, interacting with databases and other systems and forms the underlying codebase of many popular applications and content management systems.


A image format (similar to JPG) that offers transparency and therefore useful for graphical elements of a website layout. The compression isn’t as good as JPG images, so this shouldn’t be used for editorial images.


A redirect occurs when a visitor is automatically forwarded to a different page. The most common type of redirect is a 301 which is essential when moving or migrating content. A 301 redirect tells search engines the page move is permanent, and any reputation from the old page should be carried forward to the new one.

Responsive Design

The best practice approach for building mobile friendly websites. A responsive website will naturally scale to different screen (device) sizes making your website user friendly and accessible. Responsive sites use a single code base that determines the layout for both desktop and mobile viewers of your site.

Robots.txt file

A specially formatted file that prevents search engines from indexing your site, or specific pages of your site. The file itself is commonly found in websites, but its the content that determines which pages are included or excluded from being listed.

Saas (Software as a service)

Cloud based software paid for through a monthly or annual subscription. Examples include platforms such as Xero,, Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. tags

Specific code understood by major search engines that can be included in web pages to enhance search engine results. For example, Schema tags can allow search engines to extract product information or events and display them alongside search results.


Search Engine Optimisation. The process of improving the quality and quantity of traffic to a website from search engines, such as Google or Bing.

Shared Hosting

A type of hosting where your site is hosted on the same server as perhaps several hundred other websites. This is fine for small websites, but you carry the risk of downtime if someone elses website suffers a surge of traffic, or the server is impact in a denial of service attack (DDoS).

Style Guide

A type of web page that is a subset of your brand guidelines and includes all the brand styles used across your website along with rules about when each should/could be used.

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)

A graphics format used on the web that will scale in size without loss of quality. Often used in graphics, illustration or logos.

User Journey

The journey visitors to your website take from start to finish. Note this can start offline or on other digital channels, and continues beyond the point they become a customer.

User Testing

The process of testing your website with your target audience to gather feedback and insight into how user friendly your site is, or how accurate the messaging is.

UX (User Experience)

The term used by design teams that encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with your digital platforms. It needs to take into account branding, visual design, usability and function.

Version Control

A tool used by developers to track changes to the code base in your website and avoid any file conflicts during development.

Virtual Server

A common type of hosting where your site is stored on a single server that is broken down into specific partitions. Each partition is guaranteed a minimum level of resource, making it an intermediate hosting option for growing websites.


A low-fidelity outline of a web page layout (often in black and white) to show the order of content, interactive elements and placement of text, media and calls to actions.

XML Sitemap

A specially formatted file that essentially lists all the pages in your site. Submitting this can aid indexing of your site by search engines and its considered best practice to have one.