Say whaaaaat? Yeah, that’s usually what people say after listening to a website developer rattle off seemingly simple information. If you feel like you a need a translator for your website design project, this basic web design terms guide is here to help! And of course, our 100% woman-owned and jargon-free agency is too 😉
Common Web Design Terms You Should Know
No, you won’t be tested on this info. You won’t need flashcards! However, you will need to keep some of these common terms in the back of your head when you start a website design project. Otherwise, you might not know what to ask for! Studying up on some basic web design terms and parts of a website will ensure you ask for the functionality and style you want and need—and get it!
1. Navigation Bar or Nav Bar
Your navigation bar is super important for user experience, sales journey, and SEO. Traditionally on desktop, you’ll see a classic nav bar like yours truly featured above. However, navigation bars also come in
- Sidebar Menus. Featured on the side of your screen instead of up top. These are much less common nowadays.
- Footer Menus. The menu at the bottom of your website. This is redundant and much bigger than your main navigation menu at the top of your page.
- Hamburger Menu or Mobile Nav Bar. This is featured on mobile devices to save space. It’s the three little lines stacked above each other (like a hamburger or veggie burger) in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.
- Sticky Navigation Bar. Some nav bars stick visitor scrolls down to check out the page’s content. A “sticky” navbar stays with the customer as they scroll down your homepage.The main benefit here is that your navigation can be accessed at any time—the visitor does not have to scroll back up to choose which page on your site they’ll visit next. Plus, the nav is always there should they need it. We love the ease of sticky navbars, which is why we use one on our site!
You’ll want to make sure your navigation bar is structured in a way that suits your SEO ranking and customer experience. Feature your most important pages there and save the rest for the footer. Use the drop-down function to your advantage to nest important information under parent pages. Doing so gives your customers, clients, or patients all the information they need—and search engine spiders content to put in rankings.
2. Sidebar or Side Menu
We don’t use a sidebar on our website, but you should know about them when learning parts of a website!
Sidebars can help improve user experience on a blog, a shop page, or anywhere else where you want to highlight products or content based on topic and/or category. You can also use a side menu to suggest similar products your audience might also be interested in based on their browsing history.
3. Hero or Feature Image
Most websites use a feature image or hero image at the top of pages. This is the large scale image you first see above the fold of your site. Hero images are important to grab attention, keep users on your page, and tell them the information they seek. When you choose a feature image, make sure it plays nicely with text overlay!
4. Carousel Slider or Feature Image Slider
Sometimes websites use more than one hero image that cycles in and out like a carousel at the top of the page. We use a slider for our blog content to make it easy for business owners to find information they’re looking for. Whenever deciding whether or not to use a slider, determine the goal of the page. You never want to distract from your main CTA (call to action).
Your website’s footer is one of the most valuable parts of a website because it holds important information you don’t want to clutter the main nav with. Footers include everything in your nav plus extras like company bios, refund policies, FAQs, and more. If you don’t need something in your main menu, put it in the footer.
6. Contact Form
Website forms have very specific functions. In this case, lead generation. Keep your contact forms as simple and easy to fill out as possible. Write a catchy headline. Add autofill functionality. Then, use a plugin so new user information automatically uploads to MailChimp or another email marketing service. This is the beginning of a great lead generation and lead nurturing strategy.
7. Pop-up Form
Pop-ups can be super annoying, or strategic and very useful! You can edit the signals that need to happen to activate a pop-up. For instance, your pop-up can show up to new user sessions within 5 seconds of landing on your page. You can also have a pop-up show up when someone clicks to x out of your website. You can set pop-ups to activate on certain pages etc. The options are endless! Just think through your customer journey so your pop-ups aren’t annoying or distracting.
8. Social Icons
Feature your social media profiles on your website with social icons! There are lots of options when it comes to color and style. Your website designer should be able to download social icons that coordinate with your business’s branding.
9. Favicon or Browser Icon
You know those itty bitty, cute logos at the top of your search bar? Those are favicons! You can make a favicon for your website to reinforce your branding. Favicons are helpful when users have multiple tabs open, because your logo will show up in the corner. You’ll decrease the odds of getting closed out on and forgotten about.
10. Grid or Tile Design
It’s definitely preferred to organize your website content in a visually pleasing way that avoids large copy blocks. Enter, grid or tile design. Like Pinterest or Instagram, tile designs break up content and make it easy for users to find information. Check out what we mean on our reviews page.
11. Content Segment or Content Block
A content block can look like a lot of different things. It could be a web form, tile design, or carousel slider. It can also be a minimalistic headline, subhead, and image that’s repeated in style on the page. Tell your website designer what type of content blocks you prefer so your website turns out the way you envision. Using a customized WordPress template will make it easier to see what your site will look like before it’s coded with your content.
12. Trust Signals Bar
Trust signals or “as seen on” sections show off your street cred. We feature ours prominently on our home page—as you should too—so visitors can see your trustworthiness right off the bat.
13. Parent Pages or Core Pages
Parent pages are the most important pages on your website site. They’re featured in your navigation menu and often times have a drop down to feature secondary and tertiary pages. An SEO audit will help you determine your content hierarchy and site map.
When you create your sitemap (more about that in our common website development terms post), you will put your parent pages at the top—much like a family tree. From there, your content will form branches with child pages that have more specific. For instance, our parent page Industries has a Health and Wellness secondary page, and then nutrition and supplements page under that. They get more and more specific as they go.
Website Content Terms To Remember
Website content terms are really important to know during a website design project because they tell the designer what content goes where. This not only impacts user experience, but SEO too. Content will often accompany a brand style guide and logo and branding files so your website designer knows exactly what to do.
A headline is the largest font on your page. You will have a headline in every section. You’ll see them marked as H1, H2, and H3. This tells search engines the hierarchy of page importance as well as the user. Always write headlines that concisely state the purpose of the section and grab attention.
Subheads support your headline and come after it, in smaller type. Subheads give context to a shorter headline and provide additional information.
16. Body Copy
Body copy comes after your subhead and features longer blocks of copy or paragraphs.
17. CTA (Call To Action) Copy or Button Copy
A CTA is the main ask of the page or section. It tells customers what to do. For instance, sign up for a webinar, buy a product, or download a guide. CTAs are strategically complex and you should always A/B test and continue to optimize for the best results.
18. Anchor Text
Links in a website often come with an underline, hover action, or color accent to tell users it’s clickable. The words you link are called the anchor text. To improve search engine ranking, you’ll want to make sure the link anchor text on your site is accurate and diverse.
19. FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Your website FAQ shouldn’t be overlooked! In fact, there’s a ton of SEO benefit in writing FAQs like individual blogs—with keywords and copy length. Add questions that you get asked repeatedly to limit the amount of customer service emails you receive. This may also help with the bounce rate on your site if people can find what they’re looking for.
Starting a Website Design Project? Hire a Web Designer that Speaks Like a Real Live Human
If you’re getting ready to optimize, redo, or launch a business website, get in touch! Our website designers all speak english and won’t bore or confuse you with web jargon. Plus, you’ll avoid headaches of rogue developers or freelance designers. If you’re looking for the best website designer, send us an email to set up a free chat to learn more!