Social marketing jargon buster

I’m alwys being asked what things mean when it comes to terminology on the Internet;  so I thought I’d put together a social marketing jargon buster with the most commonly used phrases and terms.  I’ll keep it up to date and any words you want added that aren’t here already, just let me know.

Affiliate – an affiliate is an individual usually who that promotes products and services for a merchant, normally a website, in return for a commission.

Blog – a web log, or diary of sorts that enables people to connect around specific subject areas.

Bookmarks / favourites – a way of keeping track of the websites and services you like in order to find them more quickly in the future.

Browser – is the software that you use to read webpages. Most people use Internet Explorer, others include firefox, netscape and opera

Cache – normally refers to the space given on your computer to store web pages you have visited for quicker access next time.

Chat room – a way of allowing people to talk to one another in real time on the web

CGI – common gateway interface is a programming method that allows users of websites to interact more dynamically.

eCommerce – the buying and selling of goods and services over the Internet, more specifically they web.

Cookie – is a small piece of information stored on your own computer by a website so that it can identify you in the future. The most common use is to store usernames and passwords so you don’t have to remember them.

Conversion Rate – the conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who take a desired action. This may be related to purchasers or people who sign up to receive information.

Crawler – a piece of software used by search engines that indexes websites

Domain name – URL or web address that points to a specific website or particular page/file on a website

Download – to copy something from the web onto your own computer for future reference or installation (in the case of software).

Extension / file extension – used to denote the type of software that a file needs to use to allow your computer to read it. On the web these are commonly htm, html, php, jpg, gif etc…

Feed / feed reader – a piece of sofware that allows you to view the RSS or XML files created by some websites

Frames – an outdated website development tool that allowed one to create a navigation structure separately from the pages of a website.

FTP – file transfer protocol is used to move files from your computer to a server or vice versa, usually used by web developers these days

Forum – the more common way of allowing users of a website to talk to one another, not in real time

Head / header – tag used in a web page that gives specific information to a browser about how to display a web page. It may also contain information about the website such as a title and description

HTTP – hypertext transfer protocol is the method that is used to transfer information around the web.

Hypertext – is the means by which one website or page links to any other

Internet – collection of interconnected networks around the world which developed from Arpanet in the 1960’s and 70’s. It used TCP/IP as a means of transferring information between computers

Internet Merchant Account – is an account created by a bank or financial institution that enables a business to take and receive payments by credit or debit card online.

Internet Telephony – allows people to use the Internet to make telephone calls, often at reduced or low cost

IP (internet protocol) Address – a unique number given to every computer connected to the Internet, it is made up of 4 parts and may be generated dynamically whenever you connect to the Internet

Java – network programming language developed by Sun Microsystems

javascript – more simple programming language developed by Netscape to enable interactivity on the web

Keywords – are words that used as search terms on search engines or websites

Link – the action of linking one web page or web site to any other

Listservers – used by discussion groups, mainly in the 1990’s

Manual/Offline Transaction – is one that is processed after an order has been received and normally involves the merchant having access to credit or debit card details. Normally, these orders are processed by a terminal such as those found in shops.

Meta search engines – are search engines that return results from multiple engines

Meta Tag – small pieces of information that are used to describe a web page, they are usually found in the header of each page

Newsgroup – used by discussion groups, mainly in the 1990’s

Packet – information is sent across the Internet in ‘packets’. When all the packets arrive at their destination they are compiled according to the programme you are using, ie email or web. If any packet is missing then the document cannot be compiled and you get ‘packet jam’. Hitting refresh on your browser often sorts the problem out.

Page Rank – is the ranking of individual sites and pages by Google, all sites are ranked out of 10. Although the term Page comes from Larry Page, one of the founders of Google.

Payment Gateway – enables you to process credit or debit cards via the web and sends the funds to your merchant or chosen bank account.

PDF – portable document format is a way of ensuring that documents intended to be printed out keep their original settings

Plugin – a piece of code that gives extra interactivity or functionality to something on a website or computer

Privacy Policy – required by law to explain to users of a website what you will do with any private information you collect about them. In the UK, it is often linked to a businesses registration with the information commissioner.

Real Time Transaction – is one processed immediately usually via the web.

Relevancy – to be relevant on the web means that your site matches the search term a user has put into a search engine

RSS / RSS Feeds – really simple syndication is a way of keeping up to date with new information on websites without having to visit each and every one

Script – a programming language that is used to fetch and display web pages, usually pulling the information out of a database and into a template

Search engine – an online service that indexes pages and files on the web

Shopping Cart Software – records details of all products and services offered by an online business in a database that then enables the website user to locate and purchase the items they want more easily.

Site – refers to website

Social networking – refers to a range of web services that allow people to connect in different ways with each other

Spider – is a piece of software that the search engines use to find and index web pages and sites

SSI – server side includes is a way of enabling dynamically generated content to appear in a browser

SSL / Secure Server – Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a system that secures private information via the Internet. SSL works by encrypting information before transferring it over a secure connection. 128 bit is the industry standard and refers to the level of protection a website offers.

TCP/IP – transaction control protocol/internet protocol these are the protocols that determine how information is carried around the Internet

Title – refers to the information usually given in the blue bar at the top of the computer screen when you visit a website. This information can be found in the header section of a web page

TLD – top level domain, ie .uk, .com, .org, .net, .info etc…

URL – uniform resource locator or web address to the rest of the world.

Wiki – collaborative software used on the Internet that allow people to join in and create web pages

XHTML – extensible html is a mark-up language that is more universally acceptable to browsers

XML – extensible mark-up language, not very web friendly but often used to display information to other online services such as newsfeeds.

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  1. You are quite right Dave, Merchant accounts are notoriously difficult to set up. You would have thought that things might have improved over the years, but not so unfortunately. Which, of course is why businesses use services such as Google Checkout, Paypal and Worldpay etc…

  2. From my experience, setting up the merchant account is a tough process. I was searching the web and stumbled over quite a few bad offers. Eventually I got to and managed to apply with 3 providers, which allowed me to compare and start accepting cards with one of them.