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Web Design Lingo Used by Digital Marketing Firms in Kelowna


If you've ever worked with one of the digital marketing firms in Kelowna, you may have heard a bunch of buzzwords you might not be overly familiar with: HTML, meta data, hyperlinks┬Ż  The world of digital marketing is laden with a mishmash of acronyms and other ambiguous words that hold little significance to the everyday Joe. To get you up to speed, here is a handful of commonly used web design terms used by the digital marketing companies Kelowna business owners trust with their online branding.



Ideally, you want your website to be accessible to as many potential visitors as possible. The term 'accessibility' refers specifically to those with disabilities such as:

  1. Visually impaired
  2. Hearing-impaired
  3. Colourblind
  4. Other disabilities

There are certain industry segments where providing good accessibility is particularly important, including:

  1. Health care
  2. Government
  3. Certain non-profit organizations


Ajax is the acronym for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. While you're shopping online for shoes or a new front door, for example, ajax allows web applications working behind the scenes to send and retrieve data from a server without changing what you see on the screen. Ajax also also content to change -- ie sidebar ads or 'you might also like' bar -- without the whole page needing to reload.  

Anchor Text 

Anchor text (also known as link text) is the clickable text in a hyperlink. When you click on this text with your mouse, touchscreen or track pad, it directs you to a corresponding page.


The wording of your website's anchor text performs two important functions. First, it should give the visitor an indication of the contents of the page it links to. Second, strategically choosing appropriate anchor text can improve your website's search engine results.  


You guessed it, this term reflects a web-based action that combines an action that happens 'automatically' and seemingly 'magically' for the user. Behind the scenes, a complex technical process is underway, designed to improve user experience. Because of how intuitive and 'smart' these features are, it does seem like magic for the user.  

Back End 

While it isn't accessible to general visitors, the back end of a website is what gives it its functionality. It is comprised of a

  1. Server
  2. Applications
  3. Database
  4. Content

The back end determines how the information on your website is structured and it enables web developers to control content management. There are many complexities that go into this, which is why many businesses choose to work with digital marketing companies in Kelowna that have experience in website design.  


In the world of search rankings, backlinks are kind of a big deal. A backlink is when another website links to your website. Google takes it as a sign there must be valuable content on your website, and improves your search rankings for certain keywords. For example, if a naturopathic doctor links to the sites of a massage therapist she recommends, and links on those two keywords 'massage therapist', the masseuse site is apt to have better search engine results.  

Bad neighbourhood 


We don't have too many of these near digital marketing firms in Kelowna, but it's certainly something to watch out for. In the web world, a bad neighbourhood is a server that's earned a questionable reputation because for spamming or using untowardly SEO practices. If search engines know your site is associated with a bad server/bad neighbourhood, you might get penalized by association, and you'll probably want to consider moving to another host.  


If you've got lot of bandwidth, it can mean: a) data can be transferred quickly, and/or b) that there is a large amount of space where data can be transferred to, thanks to your stellar internet connection.  The stronger the bandwidth, the faster pages load.  

Below the fold 


Way back when people read print newspapers, 'below the fold' was a term used by editors at broadsheets to describe the copy and images on the bottom half of the paper--what wouldn't be seen if you were walking past a newspaper box. Generally, the newsier items were 'above the fold' where passersby would see it and want to pick up a copy. In web design, 'above the fold' refers to the space a user sees at first glance on a site before they scroll. Again, this is where the most compelling information about your business should be--in case they don't scroll.  

Bounce rate 

How quickly do site visitors 'bounce' away from your site? If your bounce rate average is 10 seconds, that's a sign that people either happened upon your website accidentally and it's not what they're looking for, or they don't like what they see. In either case, a poor bounce rate is cause for concern about your content, navigation and the source of your traffic.  



Similar to the fable of Hansel and Gretel, breadcrumbs highlight the path visitors follow to reach a certain webpage on your site. This useful navigation tool is useful because it shows the sequence of pages and subpages you clicked. For instance, breadcrumbs for a personal care product website might look like this: Home > Products > Creams > Facial Moisturizer.  


Safari. Internet Explorer. Google Chrome. These are all browsers--programs you can use to search the Internet.  


When someone visits your website, their web browser can download cached files that will make it easier and faster the next time they visit.  

Call to action 

'BOOK YOUR PARTY.' 'GET HELP NOW.' 'ORDER ONLINE.' These short, simple phrases are what we call a 'call to action' (also known as a 'CTA'). Their job is to encourage site visitors to take the next step, whether that's learning more, buying something, or making an appointment. Check out the a handful of 'call to action' examples in our post Get the most of out of your Kelowna Tourism Website.  

Cascading style (CSS) & CSS Framework  


Where HTML is your website's brain, cascading style sheets (CSS) are the brawn. CSS is used to give your website its signature look and feel, and a style of layout and/or typography that's changeable with just one file while keeping your existing content. It also simplifies a site's HTML files, which pleases Google and can improve search rankings. A CSS framework, then, is a group of CSS files that make up the foundation or framework of your website.  

Content management system  

Now that businesses know how much profits depend on website content, more and more executives are familiar with the term 'content management system,' which is the back-end tool your company uses to upload blog posts, for example, swap out feature images. Java, Open Cms and Magnolia are just a few CMS examples.  


What do you get when you combine a markup language such as XHTML, the DOM, JavaScript and CSS? Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language, aka DHTML  


The domain is the name used to identify your website and is associated with a corresponding IP address (or multiple IP addresses). For instance, our domain name is


When choosing a domain for your company, many of the digital marketing firms in Kelowna will recommend that you look for one that:

  1. Represents your brand or company name
  2. Is succinct
  3. Easy to remember



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When you click on a menu, let's say the 'pizzas' bar, and a sub-menu 'drops down' allowing you to click on pages for gourmet pizzas and gluten-free pizzas, this is a 'drop-down' menu.  


Short for electronic commerce, e-commerce refers to the practice of selling products online. If your website features an e-commerce module, your customers will be able to:

  1. Browse your catalogue
  2. Add items to their 'cart'
  3. Complete their order
  4. Make a payment
  5. Enter shipping details (for physical products)

In some cases, websites sell digital products (i.e. iTunes), which can be transferred electronically.  


Elements are like the bricks and mortar of XML documents. For example, the title on a page is contained in the 'title element'.  



When we size a font or another copy element, it's measured in 'em,' and in relation to the parent element, such as a heading. An H1 heading is 2em, where an H4 heading is 1em.  

Embedded style 

When CSS style is incorporated into the head of an XHTML document, we call it embedded style, and it only effects the layout and typography of that page instead of the whole site (as it would in a separate CSS file).  

Extensible mark-up language (XML)  

XML--the acronym for extensible mark-up language--is yet another markup language. If there weren't enough mark-up languages already, XML describes how to write new languages.  

External style sheet  

External style sheets--external CSS documents--make site maintenance easier because a change to one file affects the entire site, it reduces code so spiders can understand your content (and boost search rankings for keywords), and if it's cached, it'll increase your load times (which can improve bounce rates and rankings).  


Give your web address bar its very own customized icon with a favicon -- a tiny image.  

Fixed Width Layout  

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When a website has a set or 'fixed width' layout, the width won't change with different devices, browsers, etc., giving the design a consistent look across platforms.

Focal Point 

Screenshot 2016-04-19 13.42.53

Where is your eye drawn to on this website? The brunette's gleaming white teeth? For many site visitors, her mouth is the focal point of this screen. Which is good, because this is a dental clinic (a very good dental clinic that has been engaging the services of our Kelowna web design company for several years).  

Font Family  

Did you know there are hundreds of serif and sans serif fonts? And they each have their own family with slight variations: bold, bold regular, bold light, italic, all caps, etc.  

Font Style 

For web design and CSS, font style tells you if the text is in italics or not.  

Font Weight 

Is the font type thick or thin? Font weight refers to the width of a font.  

Front End 

The front end of your website, also known as the user interface, is what your visitors experience when they enter it. It determines how they will access your site's content. It typically comprises things like:

  1. Webpages
  2. Images
  3. Videos
  4. Content

Graphical User Interface  

Put simply, graphical user interface (GUI), is what the user sees on a website, and how it encourages interaction.  





Looking for a deep orange? You're going to need an #EE7600. Hexadecimal, or hex numbers such as this, define colours used online. The first two letters indicate the shade of red, the middle pair indicate the green shade, and the third defines the blue.  


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Also referred to as the feature or main image, the hero is the main attraction on the home page. Designers often use bright and compelling images here to communicate the benefits of the product or service as well as the personality of the brand.  


Most people think of hits as the number of site visitors you get in a given period of time. In fact, a hit is a request for ONE FILE (a single web page) from a web server (which sends you that file). Way back when, it used to be that each page was one file, so you could track views with 'hits.' However, today's webpages are made up of multiple files, and each request is a separate hit.  


HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It is the language (or code) web developers use to create webpages. It provides web browsers with the directions they need to structure a webpage's information and features.  

HTML tag 

HTML tags indicate what kind of element the mark-up language is for -- a heading, a link, a space, etc.  


HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) -- yes, we're referring to that 'http://' you see in front of domains -- outlines the rules for transferring requests between your web browser (ie Safari), and a web server.  


HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure is the same as above but with a super secure and encrypted connection.  



A hyperlink, often simply referred to as a link, offers a way for your website visitors to jump from one webpage to another. Hyperlinks can either be internal, meaning they link to other pages within your site, or they can be external, meaning they take you to other websites. Comprised of clickable text (see 'Anchor Text'), hyperlinks are typically made to stand out from the other text by either underlining the text or making it a different colour.  


If text includes a hyperlink, it becomes hypertext.  


We use inline frames or iframes to display a web page within a web page, kind of like a pop-up, to guide site visitors to another place or process without taking them away from the main web page  

Image map 

Kelowna web designers get a little excited about image maps -- maps that use XHTML to create clickable (and non-clickable) elements.  

Inline style 

When we talk about inline style, we're referring to elements (ie a heading) with CSS written around just that element (rather than a separate style sheet).  

Landing Page 

Let's say one of your customers enters a search query in Google and a link to your website shows up on the results page. The place they'll be directed when they click on your link is called a landing page.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 3.35.10 PM

Landing pages can be linked to from a variety of sources:

  1. Search results
  2. Online ads
  3. Email marketing campaigns
  4. Social media

By working with digital marketing firms in Kelowna, you'll be able to tailor your landing pages to convert site visitors into leads and sales.  

Link farm 

Because Google deems backlinks as signs of strong content and therefore worthy of higher search rankings, in an earlier era, link farms were everywhere. These websites have reams of links to other websites, and business owners paid for the exchange. Since then, search engines have discovered how to recognize these types of sites, and now, being associated with a link farm can actually be bad for rankings.  

Input field 

When you're asked to enter your name or your email address on a form, such as on the 'contact us' page or a newsletter sign-up form, these are input fields.  



Markup or markup language is the type of coding that surrounds text to make it an HTML document, for example.  


Meta data tells search engines what your webpage and website are about. Because this copy is housed on the 'back end,' it doesn't appear on the website itself, though you will see it in searches.  

Meta tag 

Within the header of your page, meta tags (HTML tags) are used to include meta data (descriptions of your web page/website) so Google's spiders know what your website is about and can deliver it in relevant searches.  


Mock-ups are an early design of a web page, often without actual content (yes, this is where lorem ipsum comes in). Sometimes designers will do this for a home page and/or an internal page to give the business owner an idea of how the pages will be styled so the designers know early on if they're on the right track in terms of aesthetics.  


Navigation refers to the tools and features of a website that allow visitors to move around it. This could include:

  1. Menus
  2. Hyperlinks
  3. Breadcrumbs
  4. Navigation bars
  5. Sitemaps

When used properly, these tools allow a visitor to move from one page to another to enhance the user experience.  


You know those 'nesting tables' Ikea makes--the group of three tables, each a different size, that 'nest' or fit together? Nesting for web design is kind of like that, except it's with HTML elements put into one another.  

Open Source  

When the code for a computer program is 'open' -- it's available to anyone. Open source software, both for the web and desktop use, generally comes from non-profit organizations and/or several programmers.  


When your website has a pageview, someone looked at that page. Technically, it means the browser of a site visitor requested a web page document.  


Where blog posts and news articles can sometimes change locations over time (and therefore web addresses), a permalink gives you the chance to permanently link to a specific post.  


Screenshot 2016-04-19 20.42.12

If you hear your web guy say, 'Yeah, we can do that. We just have to install a plug-in,' it means with a bit of coding, you can make your website more functional without overhauling your entire website. Popular plug-ins include search engine optimization tools, contact forms, and commerce systems.  


Fonts, backgrounds, borders -- these are all types of style properties used in CSS.  

Really Simple Syndication


Internet news and RSS concept

Yes, RSS really does stand for Really Simple Syndication. If you subscribe to an RSS feed, it means content (blog posts, news articles, etc.) are easily syndicated between sites through its standardized XML format.  


In web design, resolution = number of pixels being displayed on the screen.  

Responsive Layout



Any of the digital marketing firms in Kelowna will tell you responsive layout has become an essential feature for successful websites. This trend is driven by people's ability to access the Internet using an array of devices, including:

  1. Desktop computers
  2. Laptops
  3. Tablets
  4. Smartphones

These devices come in an array of screen sizes, and websites that feature responsive layout will optimize the user interface based on the browser size. That way, your website will function just as well on a Samsung Galaxy smartphone as it does on a large-screen desktop monitor.  


You know how on some websites, you roll your mouse over an image, and the image (or a colour or a font) changes? Designers refer to that as 'rollover.'  



Search engine optimization (SEO) involves using keywords in a strategic yet subtle way in both front-end and back-end content as well as other practices (like backlinks, low load times, fresh content) to help search engines know what your website is about so they can deliver your site in searches.  


Script refers to a language used in HTML to give web pages a pulse. JavaScript and VBScript are two types of scripting languages that allow web pages to change to cater to user experience and exude a unique personality.  




If a script runs on a web server rather than a user's browser, we say it's 'server-side.' That can mean these scripts take a little longer to load.  


Standardized Generalized Markup Language, the oft-ignored cousin in the markup family, is actually the foundation (or parent) of XML and HTML. It's used to define a document's structure.  



Simple Object Assess Protocol (SOAP), part of the XML family, is an information exchange tool that allows websites to use applications and databases on other sites.  


  Just like specs for any other purpose, a specification in the web design world gives specific instructions and/or requirements for the use of applications and services.  



Tags are characters, such as () for bold, which surround text elements and give them a specific style or behaviour.


Templates are frameworks for layout and design elements (colours, fonts, etc.) that can be used on multiple pages for a consistent style and simple content upload.  


We bet you didn't know that URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. But you probably know what it means: the address of your website, ie.  


UI is the acronym for user interface -- what the site visitor, or user, sees and experiences as they navigate through your site.  


UX stands for user experience. Designing with 'UX' in mind means thinking about how the layout and functionality of the site will make it easier and more enjoyable for your website's users.  


How simple is it for site visitors to find the contact page and get back to the home page, switch the colour of that sweater or make a reservation? If your website was designed with users' needs in mind, we might say it has great 'usability.'  


When the coding on a page is in line with that HTML/SXTML's specifications, and there are no errors, it's valid! There are a handful of platforms that allow you to double-check  

Web Page 

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A web page is a document designed to be viewed in a web browser. They are commonly created using HTML code and they represent the building blocks of a website. In order to create an effective website, these webpages need to be interlinked to provide an easy-to-navigate interface.  

Web Server 


You can think of a web server as the mother ship, the place where web design companies Kelowna businesses trust host other websites.  

Web Standards 

To make it easier for web designers and developers to create websites that are consistent across browsers, web standards have been created. These guidelines are recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium for standardizing web design.  




 A wireframe is like the blueprint for the layout of your website. Using boxes labeled with elements such as 'contact info' or 'image slider' the designer, developer and copywriter (as well as you, the business owner!) have a map of where things are going.   


When XML and HTML get together and everything 'clicks,' the result is XHTML, or extensible hypertext markup language.  


XML, the acronym for extensible markup language, creates other specifications with its markup languages. If your business needs a new website or a site overhaul and you're trying to decide which type of company you should work with, check out our post: Should You Hire a Kelowna Website Design Company or a Marketing Company? 

Do you want to reach a wider audience and grow sales? Call Twin Creek Media. As one of the leading digital marketing firms in Kelowna, we'll help you develop effective online strategies that yield results.