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2018-08-08 20:41:31Marketing a Business: WebsiteEnglish up a Website? 11 Programmer Terms You Must Know

Setting up a Website? 11 Programmer Terms You Must Know

4 min read

If you’re new to web development, the lingo can be dizzying. Your web developer will toss out acronyms like “CSS,” casually mention words like “favicon,” and move on without a second thought. If that sounds confusing, it’s probably a good idea to get familiar with common programming terms. That way, you can understand what’s going on and communicate effectively with your developers.

Internet Browser

This is the program you use to access the internet. There are many different options, including Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer. When you click on your program, it opens a browser window. Most browsers support tabs, which means that you can have multiple pages open in the same window instead of separate windows. To change pages, all you need to do is click on the tab in the top of the window.


“Code” refers to the special language a programmer uses to build your website. There are many website coding languages, each made up of text which tells an internet browser how to handle each part of your website. The browser reads that text, follows the directions in the code, and displays your website on the screen. You might hear your web developer talking about common web programming languages such as HTML, JavaScript, Java and Python.

Back End

When your developer refers to the back end of your website, they’re talking about the part of your site that’s not visible to everyone. The back end is where all of the programmer’s work happens. It’s where the code lives, as well as any other programs you are using to manage the website.

Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML)

HTML is one of the most common coding languages for websites. It uses a standard set of elements to describe the structure and layout of your website. The H1 element, for example, is the most important heading. The body element tells the browser which text is the body of a web page. The [br] element adds a line break between paragraphs.

Cascading Style Sheet (CSS)

CSS is a kind of code that tells your browser how to format different HTML elements on your website. A CSS makes it easy to change the appearance of multiple elements at once. Imagine that you want all of the body text on your website to be in Arial font. Your programmer would make a CSS with that information and apply it to the website — then, all of the text that’s marked with a <body> tag would show up as Arial. Later, if you want to switch to Times New Roman, you could make the change just once in the CSS rather than making it to every page on the website.

Servers and Web Hosting

A server is a computer that stores the files for your website. Businesses called hosting companies own these servers. They rent storage space on the servers to you, so you can add your website files — this service is called web hosting. As long as you pay your monthly or yearly hosting fee, your website appears on the internet. Common hosting companies are GoDaddy and BlueHost.

Domain Name

A domain name is the text that people type into their internet browsers to get to your website. For your business, your domain name might be Domains are often called a web address because they tell an internet browser where to find your website files. For this to work, your domain name must be linked to your web hosting account.

Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS is a program that helps you control the content that shows up on your website. This tool keeps your content, or text and images, separate from the design and coding of the website. A CMS does two important things. Since it has a simple, user-friendly interface it makes it easier for you to add new blog posts or web pages after the website is finished — even if you don’t know any code. The tool also allows your programmer to make changes to the design or the back end of the site without affecting your content.


WordPress is a free CMS that’s popular across the internet. Your programmer might build your website in WordPress if you plan to take over managing the site after it’s done because the system is easy to use. All you need to do is log in to a website to edit pages, add blog posts, and change the look of the site. If you use WordPress, your programmer will install it onto the server space that’s provided by your hosting company.


“Favicon” is a stranger word that’s commonly used in web programming jargon. A favicon is the tiny image that appears next to a web page’s title at the top of a browser window. This image usually measures just 16 pixels square, and can be in color or black and white. Many companies use their logo as their favicon.


This term is simply a shortened version of “electronic commerce” or buying and selling online. Your business website might have an eCommerce component like a shopping cart system or a simple digital checkout.


In many cases, web programming jargon is actually simpler than it sounds. By taking time to understand these common developer terms, you can stay informed as your programmer builds your website.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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