Website Glossary

glossary of website terms


 This article is part of the WWW 101 Series which provides an introduction to small business websites.


Are you embarking on a project to create a small business website? As you work on your website, you may encounter unfamiliar terminology. This glossary contains common website-related terms.

Domain Name

A domain name is also called a website address or URL (in case you were wondering, URL stands for uniform resource locator). The domain name is the name people type to get to your website. It consists of a word or series of words followed by a dot (.) and an extension. Examples of common extensions are: .com, .net, .org, .gov. You can purchase a domain name online from an authorized domain name registrar. There are many options; my favorite is Go Daddy.

Website Hosting

Your website is made up of a bunch of files. You will need a place to store those files so people can see them on your website. That’s what hosting does. Typically, you identify the amount of storage space you need and that determines the price. For a small business website, you won’t need a lot of storage space, so you can probably select the smallest, lowest cost hosting option. You can pay on a monthly or annual basis. I recommend buying your hosting account and domain name from the same company so it is easier to manage. My favorite is Go Daddy.

Website Analytics

Website analytics contain data about your website’s traffic and visitors. Examples of the data you can see are: number of visitors per day, which pages were viewed, traffic sources (how people found your website), amount of time people spent on your website, and so much more. A popular, free website analytics service is Google Analytics.

Call to Action

A call to action is a prominent area on your website, e.g., button or graphic, that encourages visitors to perform a desired action such as make a purchase, complete a registration form, or sign up for a free trial. When the call to action is successful, you have a conversion (see section below).


A conversion is when a visitor comes to your website and performs a desired action such as make a purchase, complete a registration form, or sign up for a free trial. When you create your marketing plan, you may set a goal to have a certain number of website visitors and a certain percentage of conversions (conversion rate).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Unlike placing a classified ad in the newspaper, when you launch a website it may not (and usually doesn’t) automatically display on search engine result pages. To help improve your chances of displaying when people search on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., it is necessary to optimize your website. SEO involves a variety of activities like incorporating keywords and link building (see sections below).


A keyword is a word or group of words that people type into a search engine to find a website. For example, if you live in Los Angeles, California and want to find a hair salon, you might type the following keywords: hair salon Los Angeles, hair salon LA, hair stylist Los Angeles, Los Angeles salon. One of the things you can do to optimize your small business website is to identify the keywords that your customers are likely to type and then use them in your website.

Link Building

Link building involves exchanging links with quality websites. When you do a link exchange you put a link to the other site on your website and it puts a link to you on its website (this link is called a back link or inbound link). Effective link exchanges can help your SEO efforts and provide helpful resources to your visitors. However, it is important to learn more before you jump in and just start exchanging links with anyone and everyone because some practices can have a negative impact on SEO.

Organic Search Results

Organic search results contain websites that have not paid for an ad (see Pay Per Click section below). These websites display because they are optimized, e.g., they utilize the words (keywords) the person typed in the search box, have quality inbound links (link building), etc.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay per click is a means of paid advertising in which you pay when someone clicks on your website link. One of the most widely known PPC options is Google Adwords. The websites that display in the shaded area on the top and right side of the page are PPC ads. PPC advertising is not like putting an ad in the newspaper. Just because you create an ad, it doesn’t mean your ad will display in the search results. There are several factors that determine if an ad displays such as your keywords and bid per click.