Welcome to the World of Web Development
In one TV sitcom or another, we’ve all watched the scene where the tech savvy IT nerd attempts to explain something to a colleague. More often than not, this attempt at an explanation is met with humorous heckling, along with a request that the web development expert repeat the explanation in ‘English’. Slapstick though this may seem, I’m sure you are all aware that it’s not too far from the truth. Tech-talk is almost incomprehensible to the unpracticed ear, and with so much to learn, it’s hard to know where to start.
Let’s begin with an easy one. In the web development world the word accessibility refers to how easy your website is for people to use. Some people may be accessing your site using mobile phones or using outdated software, so your content must be able to adapt to their technological circumstances. Users with disabilities and visual impairments should also be considered.
The anchor tag is the HTML code for creating a link to another page or a specific section on the page you are currently browsing. The most common example of this is when pages feature a ‘back to the top’ link at the bottom of a page. Anchor tags are particularly useful when you are working with long chunks of content.
When used in a HTML tag, an attribute is a specification that dictates certain aspects of an element. More simply, it defines a property of an object or file. Attributes are made up of a name and a value. There are lots of attributes you can use to manipulate your online content. One of the most well-known attributes is the href attribute.
Backlinks – also known as inbound links – are created when a third party website creates a hyperlink to your webpage. Websites which receive good quality backlinks are likely to rank higher in search engine results and gain more website traffic. A high quality backlink will usually come from a well-known or reputable website.
A blog, formerly known as a weblog, is somewhat akin to an online diary. Nowadays blogs are often used by companies for marketing purposes as well as by the media and individuals. Most blogs maintain a casual, personal tone and tend to focus on a specific niche. In some cases, successful bloggers can earn their entire living by blogging alone.
If you visit a website but then leave after only viewing one page, this is referred to as a bounce. If your website’s bounce rate is high, this may mean that people find your homepage off-putting. A high bounce rate could be the result of boring content, an outdated design or a complicated layout. On the other hand, a blog may have a high bounce rate as all of its content is on the first page.
A cache is the specific part of a computer’s memory that is dedicated to storing recently used data. Caching is the process of storing the data in the cache. For example, if you were browsing a web page, then left that page, and decided to revisit the page a short time later, the browser would retrieve the page from the cache rather than from the original server. This process improves speed.
CMS is an abbreviation for content management system. Basically, the definition of a CMS is an application which allows multiple parties to edit, publish or manage data, content or information on a website. An obvious example of this kind of software is WordPress, which evolved from a small blogging system, to by the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world.
This term is perhaps more important for web developers in the marketing world. A conversion is the most important factor driving the success of your online marketing strategy. In general, it means getting your customers to do what you want them to do. For example, if your website is selling a product, and you website encourages lots of purchases, you would have a high conversion rate.
The Graphics Interchange Format is more commonly known by its acronym, GIF. In simple terms, a GIF is a file format for graphics. In modern society, animated GIFs populate our social media feeds, with a select few even reaching viral status. These animations are created by combining several images and frames into a single file.
An acronym for Hypertext Mark-up Language, HTML is present on every page you see on the internet. It may sound scary, but HTML is not a complex programming language. Put simply, the HTML instructs the webpage how to display the content. It does this by using a variety of tags and attributes which work to define the structure and the layout.
Internal links and external links are types of hyperlink. A hyperlink allows you to to click through to another page or domain. External links take the user away from the site they are currently using and deliver them to a third party site. Internal links, however, allow the user to negotiate around the site they are on.
The term metadata refers to data that describes other data. A document’s metadata may include the author, the date it was created and the file size. Metadata is very important when working with webpages. This is because the metadata will contain keywords and descriptions of the page’s content, which displays in search results and makes the page easier to find.
As the name suggests, a permalink is a permanent link for a given post, page or other pieces of content on your website. Usually, it will include the domain name and something called a slug. CMS applications like WordPress may generate a slug on your behalf however it is often recommended you change these slugs to make them more SEO friendly.
SEO is short for search engine optimisation. Web developers, content producers, journalists and most other media professionals are now responsible for utilising techniques. By doing this, the content you have produced is more likely to rank highly when someone performs a google search. Applying keyword and phrases to your title is one example of how this works.