Learn the Lingo: A Guide for Newbies.
I have worked with a wide range of clients from Marketing Managers who know Google Analytics inside out (probably better than me) to the people who barely know how to turn a computer on (don’t worry if you are one of those people, I got your back).
I’ve been in this industry for over 15 years and for the best part of my career, I was a designer & developer. Over the past 2/3 years, I have moved towards a management/training role. Which has given me a real insight into the different levels of competency when it comes to using the web (that’s the Internet).
Having seen both sides of the fence makes puts me in a unique position to be able to help those with lesser knowledge understand what your web agency is talking about whenever they use terms like UX, UI, SEO, FTP and so on.
UI & UX
User Interface & User Experience
This is a relatively new term within our industry and something you will have no doubt heard of at one point. UI stands for User Interface and UX stands for User Experience.
UI is essentially the front of the website – the bits that you see. So whenever you see a colour of a button, the style of font, the position of the banners and images, that’s the interface the user sees.
UX is different in that it is how the user interacts with the website. So, whenever you click a button, where does it go, what does it do and how does it make you feel. You might think that last point is a bit silly but what if you were to click a button and it didn’t do the thing you thought it would – you would feel frustrated and annoyed.
Good UI & UX is essential on your website and there is no point having one without the other.
Content Management System
There are 3 types of sites you can get:
- Static. This means to update the site you are required you to send the changes to your web developer and allow them to make the changes.
- CMS. This type of sites allows you, the user, to login to the backend of the website and update things like text and imagery.
- eCommerce. Need to sell something online? Then you need an eCommerce website. The second you add a buying function to the site it becomes an eCommerce site. Most eCommerce sites are also CMS but have the added functionality of being able to take payments.
To elaborate slightly, a CMS site is what the majority of people require. The ability to change text, add a blog post, change banner images with ease is something we at Big Pixel Creative consider essential and thus build all our websites in WordPress – the largest open source CMS platform in the world.
There are over 76.5 million WordPress websites in the world with an approximate 50,000 new websites going live daily!
Search Engine Optimisation
If you haven’t heard of the term “SEO” before you may well have been hiding under a rock for the past 10+ years. In saying that, people often misuse or misunderstand the term and don’t realise how deep SEO can go.
In its most basic form – if you website has had SEO taken into consideration throughout the build, it should rank highly on search engines (like Google). However, Search Engine Optimisation is so much more than just the final result – SEO is the things you do to the site to make it well optimised.
Things like reduced file sizes of images, adding alt text for all images, ensuring the site has an SSL certificate (don’t worry, we’ll cover that soon), there are no 404’s (we’ll cover that too), ensuring content is relevant and headings tags are used throughout. And trust me, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
There are tools that can help with making your site well optimised like Yoast which we install on all our content managed sites.
Pay Per Click
Both PPC and SEO effect your Google position but in very different ways. SEO is what is known as an organic way to be listed on Google which (in the long term) is a much better way as you are more than likely going to stay there providing you don’t do anything silly.
PPC does what it says on the tin – you pay to be shown at the very top of Google but each click costs a pre-defined amount. For example, you could set a budget for £100 @ £1 per click. This may make you show highly in Google and other search engines but it means that after 100 people click your link, you are essentially gone from Google.
You can give PPC a go yourself but the chances are you will choose the wrong words, set the wrong amount and be shown at the wrong times to your target customer and will end up costing you more than if you hired a PPC specialist.
Secure Sockets Layer Certificate
Ever noticed that little green lock icon at the very top of the screen beside your domain name? If you have one – good. If you don’t have one – we need to talk.
Security is on the top of most peoples agendas now especially since the requirement of GDPR legislation. If you visit a website without an SSL certificate, it means that the data you enter into forms etc is insecure and more susceptible to being compromised.
SSL certificates are becoming a Google requirement from July 2018 onwards. That means if you don’t have an SSL certificate, Google will show a warning to all users stating “This site is unsafe”. “How do I get an SSL certificate?” you may ask. If you have a professional website hosting company, adding an SSL certificate to your domain will not be an issue. There are of course many options and security levels regarding certificates but for a standard brochure website, it is not an expensive add-on but an absolutely essential one.
Page Not Found
Ever clicked on a link or a button and it’s brought up a blank page with a “Page Not Found”? Well, that’s a 404. You might think “why do I need to know this?” but it is imperative you do not have any 404’s on your website as Google HATES them and will heavily mark you down for having them.
“What causes a 404?” you might ask. It can be a whole list of things but generally, it is because someone has removed the page, the domain name doesn’t exist anymore or even the page has changed its name and thus its URL (explained next!).
“That’s great, now how do I fix a 404?” is usually the next question and as always, there’s a couple of ways. The most effective but the most complicated is to use yet another set of numbers – a 301. A 301 is essentially a forwarding or redirecting method. If someone visits www.mysite.com/thispage and it doesn’t exist (a 404), you can set up a redirect (a 301) to www.mysite.com/thatpage so that no 404’s will appear and no links are broken.