This page tries in simple, non-technical language to explain some of the most important terms used in the online world. I will add more and more to this page and am happy to receive suggestions.


An abbreviation for ‘weblog’. A term used for a wide variety of web publishing including an online diary, personal or company news items, personal views and frequently updated information. Blogs are increasingly included in a website as regularly updated content helps the site’s ranking in search engines.


Bring your own device. People using their own laptop, tablet, smartphone at work.


Content management system. Essentially a database and set of templates which together allow you to create and run a website. Well known content management systems include: WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, but there are a lot more. This site uses WordPress which is now the biggest CMS in the world, and is free to use.

Content marketing

Creating useful content to help your existing and potential customers/clients in order to build trust and your reputation. An increasingly popular part of the marketing mix and a move away from a ‘hard-sell’ approach.


Cascading Stylesheet. The code used to create the design elements of a web page — fonts, colours etc. Essentially the style is set on a stylesheet and this is then linked to all pages. If you want to change a style element you only need to change it once and it will update automatically across your site.

There is also inline CSS. This is where you apply CSS code on a single page to create a style change or something visual such as a box around text.

Domain name

A registered web address starting with ‘www’ and ending with eg .com,, .org and many others. The domain name usually relates to your organisation or brand name and forms part of the URL. The domain name in the following URL is ‘’:


Hypertext Markup Language. The code used for creating web pages. HTML 4.01 is the current standard but HTML5 is also now in use and gives greater scope for creating moving and interactive content.

Hyperlocal media

Websites/blogs created by an individual or small group of people, sometimes at their own expense, covering news and information about a local area (some people also use the term to mean a particular subject or interest, but geographical area is usually an important criterion). Hyperlocal media are growing and becoming an increasing feature on the local media landscape.


The servers and connections that link together email and the worldwide web.

Responsive design

When a website is designed to adjust its size automatically to whatever size screen you are viewing it on. The alternative is to have different sites for phones, tablets and other mobile devices. This is a purer way of making web content fully accessible but is more complicated and expensive to implement.

Search engine

The tool you use to search for a website or specific content on the worldwide  web. Google Search is by far the largest search engine — estimates suggest Google is used for well over 80% and some say over 90% of searches. Other well known search engines include Bing (which is owned by Microsoft), Yahoo and YouTube, which is owned by Google, is also often quoted as the ‘second largest search engine’ — although it is not a search engine like most sites it has a search function.

Social media

Websites that offer any user the ability to create and share content including text, photos, videos, music etc. The best known include: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and a large number of photo and photo/text sharing sites such as Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest. But there are literally thousands of social media sites and new ones are being launched and existing ones closing at a rapid rate.


A design template used for creating a website.


Uniform Resource Locator. A web address, starting with http. Every web page has its own URL. The URL may include a domain name.


A website that focuses on providing facts and often allows a number of people to create, add and edit content. The best known is Wikipedia which is the world’s largest online encyclopedia.

Worldwide web (www)

All the websites/web pages and other content that are connected by the internet.