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Seven Common Internet Terms You Should Know

By - Posted under Terminology

It's easy to get caught up in the jargon of our industry and forget that people who don't live and breathe it everyday like we do may get confused by it. The Internet has spawned a seemingly endless list of new terminology that's constantly growing. One thing I always try to be conscious of when I communicate with clients is to use plain language. However, it's not always possible to avoid certain industry terms when discussing projects.

If you have ever been confused by web-speak, here are seven common terms defined:


Short for "application" and popularized by Apple ("There's an app for that"), an app is a small computer software program. Typically associated with smart phones and other mobile devices such as tablets, apps can also run on computers as well as smart TVs. Apps usually perform a specific function and can include games, productivity tools, online shopping and store finders, social networking, music streaming and much much more.


A browser is a free software tool that is used to view web pages and other online content on your computer or mobile device. It's what you're using right now to read this blog post. Popular browsers include Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari.


Short for "content management system", a CMS is a software program used to manage a website. It contains all the content of a website - text, images, documents, videos, etc. - and the code required to display that content graphically in a browser. A CMS can have multiple users to administer a website from content authors to approvers to publishers.


A domain or domain name is the main Internet address of a website - what you type into your browser to visit a web page. A website address must be unique and therefore, domain names must be registered and purchased through an authorized domain name provider, such as GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc. For example, the domain name for our website is crimsonleafstudios.com.


This is the language and code that many web pages are built with. HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the code that tells your browser how to organize your website's content. CSS, or cascading style sheets, is the code that tells your browser how to display that content. It's what controls the style or design of a website, including what fonts and colours to use.


Search engine optimization (SEO) was covered in this blog post so I won't go into detail here. Search engine marketing (SEM) includes SEO and other marketing activities such as pay-per-click advertising aimed at promoting a website in search engine results.


Short for "universal resource locator", URLs are the complete addresses of web pages and files across the Internet. They are different from domains in that they are the full Internet address of a particular page or file on your website, whereas a domain is just the main address of your site (as explained above). A URL includes a domain but can also include additional directories and file names. For example, the url of this page is http://www.crimsonleafstudios.com/our-blog/seven-common-internet-terms-you-should-know.

While these are some of the more common terms we use every day, there are hundreds more out there. What other internet terms have you come across that you'd like explained? Share them in the comments below.


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