CMS, HTML, SEO: Web Jargon Defined

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To the uninitiated, understanding web jargon can often be confusing, and when you need to look up the definition of a word or abbreviation several times during any given paragraph, it can get pretty frustrating.

Here, for the benefit of anyone unfamiliar with them, are some brief definitions of some of the web’s more common terms, along with some examples of where you might expect to encounter them.

CMS

Or, Content Management System.

These programs were developed during the 1990s, and are now widely-used in many websites, particularly those that contain considerable amounts of content, such as retail, news or travel sites. Usually, the CMS will be composed of two separate elements, the Content Management Application which allows for the creation, editing and modifying of content of various types, and the Content Delivery Application, which updates the actual website with that information.

Any CMS is likely to contain several essential features, such as indexing of any data that may be produced by the organisation; search and retrieval of said data by the use of keywords, and online publishing.

CMS systems are often used for marketing purposes, since their indexing abilities allow for accurate segmentation of consumer data.

They are commonly offered as part of a package from web hosting companies. A search of comparison site WebHostingBlueBook.com, for example, gives details of several such deals among many other benefits.

HTML

Or, HyperText Markup Language.

Developed by Tim Berners-Lee in the 1990s, the primary function of HTML is to create web pages that can be viewed in an internet browser. Along with CSS, it’s kind of like the DNA of a website. Generally HTML is made up of elements called Tags, which normally appear in pairs, in angle brackets as follows <tag></tag>. In between these tags website writers can add text, other tags, comments and more. The web browser, such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer, then interprets this language and displays it on screen, without the tags, in the form of text divided into paragraphs, fonts and colours, or images structured to the preferred shape and size.

Nowadays in-depth knowledge of how to code in HTML to create a website is not essential, given the prevalence of website builders such as WordPress.

SEO

Or, Search Engine Optimization.

When a user searches for something using a search engine such as Microsoft’s Bing, it will typically bring up a list of results hundreds of pages long. It’s generally accepted that the vast majority of people click only on a link which appears in the first twenty or so results. SEO is, simply put, the art of placing a website or webpage as high up in that list as possible, so as to increase the chances of being clicked through.

Search engines employ bots, or spiders, to endlessly search the internet indexing websites, so that they can provide the user with the most accurate results possible. The websites most likely to score highly are those that know what the spiders are looking for, and work hard to attract them.

The list of techniques for doing this is vast, with some of the most common being link-building, creating fresh original content regularly, and including a basic sitemap and plenty of links to help the spiders find the way around a site. Once a website is prepared for the spiders, it is said to be optimised. Many people and businesses use a company that specialises in SEO to maintain their sites, since it is an essential, and ever-evolving aspect of online activity.

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