Glossary of Interactive Marketing & Web Development Terms

Definitions & Terminology

Note: this glossary is intended to be factual & objective – the few exceptions are terms for Acro Media clients.

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A/B testing: a.k.a. A/B Split Testing – A/B testing is used to increase conversion, test assumptions and problem solve by changing a Web page (or element of a site or ad) and then measuring the success of the change. Example: change the heading text on an ad, run both ads randomly, and let the better converting ad win. A/B testing is not really a one-shot solution, but rather a series of tests, learning, measurement and iterative change.
Multivariable tests let you change many variables at once and still isolate the impact of each – these are more complex but can be useful if time is short.


AcroCommerce: relates to ecommerce, merchant accounts and payment gatewaysAcro Media developed AcroCommerce to make it easy for ecommerce products to communicate with the banking network and simplify an otherwise complicated process. AcroCommerce reduces the complexity of the software application which in turn reduces development time and increases reliability.


Acro Media branded business signatures: The combination of the Acro Media corporate signature and a descriptive name identifying each Acro Media-branded business.


Acro Media Corporate Signature: The combination of the Acro Media hand symbol and the Acro Media logotype.


AcroNet: AcroNet is Acro Media’s suite of free Web based tools, included with every project, provides two primary features:

  • Project management – schedule and deliverables – a timeline highlighting the project milestones and supporting tasks. The interactive format allows for approval and feedback.
  • Document management – a single point for project documents, reports and creative previews.

AcroNet integrates with Acro Media’s other Web tool such as email management, integrated support tools, content management, ecommerce and mailing list software.


Ad click rate: see clickthrough rate.


AdWords: Google's pay per click (PPC), which they call cost per click, advertising program which displays text ads which are considered contextually relevant to the Google search page displayed.


Abandon cart: relates to ecommerce, Web metrics and conversion – Abandonment is when a user leaves the shopping process prior to completion. Abandonment rate is the % of those who leave their cart versus those who checkout and purchase. Note: studies show that the virtual ‘shopping cart’ is often used as a quick calculator or as a wish list – so all abandonment should not be considered failure.


Ad audience: relates to CPM – the number of unique users exposed to an ad within a specified time period.


Affiliates: Web sites which receive commissions in exchange for sending sales or other desired conversions to ecommerce sites.


Algorithm: related to search engines (SEs) and SEO – A SE algorithm is a set of rules used to rank the listings contained within its index relating to an exact keyword query. SE algorithms are black boxes: no one knows exactly how their algorithms function, to protect from competitors and those who wish to SPAM. That said, by observation and experience, there are fairly well know guidelines of how the algorithms work – for instance see SEO.


Ascender: The stroke of a lowercase letterform that extends above the x-height.


Authentication: relates to ecommerce, AcroCommerce and authorization – authentication is the process of attempting to verify the digital identity of the sender of a communication such as a request to log in or purchase a product via credit card. Authentication is a way to ensure users are who they say they are – that the user who attempts to perform functions in a system is in fact the user who is authorized to do so. Credit Card verification for eCommerce Web sites uses authentication and verification is done by a dedicated service that receives the input and returns success or fail indication.

Authentication is the process of verifying a person's identity, while authorization is the process of verifying that a known person has the authority to perform a certain operation. Authentication, therefore, must precede authorization.


Authorization: relates to ecommerce, AcroCommerce and authentication – authorization is the process of verifying that a known person has the authority to perform a certain operation, while authentication is the process of verifying a person's identity – so authentication must precede authorization.


Backlinks: see inbound links.


Banner ad: also see flash banner ad – online banner ads are the closest thing to traditional advertising as they contain a high degree of creative and reach a large audience. Formats range from static images to rich interactive media such as Flash animation and full video.

Banner ads should carry out a specific campaign advertising goals or contribute to an overall corporate branding goal for your organization. Either way, eye-catching animations alone are not the only considerations for an effective marketing campaign. Banner ads should be part of a marketing strategy to ensure traffic converts. Acro Media will ensure that your banner ads are a direct fit into that strategy for call-to-actions, landing pages, and conversions to sales. Common uses of Flash banner ads include:

  • Branding (corporate or product)
  • Advertising a specific incentive, product or service
  • Call-to-action, conversion and persuasive navigation


Baseline: An imaginary line that runs along the bottom edge of the body of a letterform.


Behavioral marketing: In the context of Internet advertising, behavioral marketing is the practice of analyzing anonymous data to deliver ads to consumers based on their recent behavior: Web pages accessed and/or keywords typed into a search engine, and/or products/services shopped for online.  


Bid management tool (BMT): A BMT is, typically, an online program that helps Internet marketers manage paid search campaigns. Typically, BMTs automatically adjust one's bids for search words, according to pre-defined limits and time intervals.


Blog: a concatenated version of Web and log, it’s an online diary, journal or newsletter that is frequently updated. Generally blogs are public, frank, running commentaries that show the personality of the author or organization. Blogs are a popular source of unabashedly biased opinion in political information and alternative news coverage.
Also see user generated content (UGC) and Web 2.0.


Body copy: Text set in columns, usually in sizes ranging from 8 to 12 points. Also referred to as text or type.


Bots: see spiders.


Bottom-up organization: relates to Information Architecture (IA) and top-down organization – Bottom-up organization is based heavily on meta-information: the fields that are assigned to the documents and the specific values for those fields. A site’s bottom-up classification is often most visible during browsing and in the search process through the use of search zones, limiters, and sorting options. Bottom-up information organization also incorporates how the low-level objects are integrated with the high-level concepts of the site. An example of this is meta-information listings that allow users to browse or refine their search by specifying fields (e.g., “Services,” “Topic,” “Theme”).


Brand: 1) The combination of a number of visual elements (symbols, logos, signs, names, marks etc.), the whole of which make up a brand. 2) A brand is the perception of an organization (or person, place or thing) – the intangible sum of an organization's makeup (name, reputation, client list, history, packaging, advertising, etc.).


Brand elements: Primary brand elements include: signature, colors, typography, and secondary graphical elements (if applicable).


Branding manual: see corporate identity guide.


Brandmark (logo): A simple graphic element (with or without text) used to identify a company. Notable non-Acro Media examples include the Nike "swoosh" and McDonald's "golden arches."


Brand platform: A summary of all tangible and intangible aspects of a brand: brand vision, mission, values, personality and tone of voice. In addition, it should cover the pragmatic details such as name, logo and tagline. Often a Brand Platform would be compiled in a formal document such as corporate identity guide.


Brand standards guide: see corporate identity guide.


Bread crumb trail: see position indicator.


C++ is an object-oriented programming (OOP) language that is viewed by many as the best language for creating large-scale applications. C++ is a superset of the C language.


Call to action (CTA): relates to conversion – CTA is a specific message/graphic urging the user act. CTA Design is the art of moving visitors from one page to the next, and finally persuading them to take an expected, predetermined action.

The benefit of CTA Design is conversion – the art of CTA design is balanced by the science of Web metrics: specific CTA changes measured over time determine success in terms of hard evidence: conversions. Since dynamite graphics or beautiful aesthetics alone will not persuade or encourage site visitors to your goals if the CTA is not based on insight of the target market’s needs.

A CTA must be based on an understanding of the sales process, a well crafted plan, and communication that anticipates all the needs (and objections, questions, etc.) of the customer, rolled into messaging and/or graphics to encourage the user to act.


Cascading style sheets: see CSS.


Clear area (clear space): A defined area surrounding a signature that is kept clear of text and graphic elements.


Clickthrough rate (CTR): relates to Web metrics – CTR is a percentage of users – out of the total number with the opportunity to do so – who click on a link in a search engine or ad element that redirects to another Web location or another frame or page within the advertisement. There are three types of ad clicks: 1) clickthroughs; 2) in-unit clicks; and 3) mouseovers. (Ad clickthroughs should be tracked and reported as a '302 redirect' at the ad server and should filter out robotic activity.)


CMS: see content management system.


CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black): The acronym for process colors used in color printing.


Code languages. See PHP, C++, Java, JavaScript.


Color palette: The set of approved colors to be used throughout communications. This applies to color fields and type, not to photographic imagery.


Communications guide: see corporate identity guide.


Cookies: a.k.a. Web cookies or HTTP cookies – a small text file sent by a Web server to a browser and then sent back unchanged by the browser each time it accesses that server. "Cookie" is derived from the Unix "magic cookie." HTTP cookies are used for authenticating, tracking, and maintaining specific information about users, such as site preferences and the contents of their electronic shopping carts.


Content management system (CMS): A CMS provides control over Web sites to add, edit or delete content. An alternative to dependance on a technically trained staff or third party, a CMS lets you change your site regularly and keep it looking great without any specialized technical knowledge. CMS refers to a range of technologies and techniques – from software that allows simple Web page updates, to comprehensive Web portal publishing systems. All CMSs at least allow text edits to specific Web pages and the ability to commit the changes to your Web site and see them immediately published. More flexible systems allow for even more changes, e.g. formatting styles, adding pages and changing navigation. Enterprise CMSs provide business rules e.g. collaboration rules such as ensuring content creators’ work is vetted by a supervisor before it can appear on the Web site.
Also see Drupal, the award winning open source CMS, for its low 'total cost of ownership' and many strengths.


Contextual navigation: relates to Information Architecture (IA) – Contextual navigation allows users to browse among related content spread out across a site. On e-commerce sites this is known as cross-selling, up-selling, comparison and coordination shopping. On content driven site, it could be links to related research and services. Contextual navigation shows users information they may not have thought to look for on their own.


Conversion: relates to CTA – Web site conversion is a specific action related to internet marketing objectives, where a user’s behavior is measured when it changes from one state (or more) to a desired state.
Typical Conversions (often reported as a rate i.e. % of total traffic per month):

  • 'contact us' forms completed
  • phone calls from the Web site (1-800 etc)
  • request for information (RFI)
  • request for proposal (RFP)
  • whitepaper, product or service PDF’s downloaded
  • ecommerce transactions i.e.sales

Also, see more on Web metrics.


Corporate messaging: relates to corporate identity and corporate identity guide – Corporate messaging is a complete set of values and promises that professionally and consistently describe your organization, staff, products and/or services. The benefit of corporate messaging is that it clearly instructs when and how to use each message version. It is important set of guidelines to keep the integrity of the brand – ideal for sales and marketing staff through to other third parties or partners who handle the brand.


Corporate identity: also see corporate identity guide – A corporate identity is the overall impression that an organization makes on its clients, including, but not limited to, logo, brand names, and corporate colors. It is the visual reflection of an organization and its products and services. The design elements of a corporate identity should be carried over to other corporate assets including Web sites and traditional media, such as printed material. This consistency helps to give the organization the image it seeks as part of its overall strategic direction.


Corporate identity guide: relates to corporate identity as a whole – defines your brand, outlines your communication standards and use of graphics. (This guide may also known as a corporate communications guide, Branding Manual, Brand Standards Guide, Messaging Platform etc.) It is an important step to build, and maintain, the integrity of your brand – ideal for marketing staff and vital for other third parties and partners who handle the brand.

Conveying a consistent set of values and promises that describe your organization, staff, products and/or services is the simplest and most powerful way to build your brand. The benefit of a corporate identity guide is to clearly instruct when and how to use each version of a graphic and message in the protrayal of your organization. The result is a consistent message that a customer, partner, investor and employee identifies and retains each time they come into contact with the company.


Cost per acquisition: relates to Web metrics – it is the cost to acquire one customer, and is one of the ultimate return on investment (ROI) calculations. Sometimes acronymed as CPA, but note that the acronym CPA is more commonly used for cost per action.


Cost per action (CPA): relates to paid Internet marketing – CPA is a model that rewards a final action (such as a qualified lead or an ecommerce sale) instead of an intermediary action, such as visitors or clicks (as in PPC), or paying for a given number of impressions (CPM). Affiliate and referral programs are examples of CPA programs. It is an ad model has that is growing in popularity, since it is considered the optimal form of buying online advertising from the advertiser's point of view. An example is Amazon that pays 5% of all sales generated by a visitor coming from an affiliate site.


Cost per click (CPC): see pay per click.


Cost per thousand: see CPM.


CPA: see cost per action.


CPC or cost per click: see pay per click.


CPM: Cost per thousand impressions (M being the Roman numeric symbol for thousand).
CPM is a traditional media term for measuring number of impression (people who may potentially see an ad). Also used in Web terms as cost / 1000 unique visitors.


Crawlers: see spiders.


CSS: used to format HTML, SGML and XML-based documents. CSS is a stylesheet language used to describe the presentation of such documents, for example Web pages. Its most common application is to style Web sites.


CTA: see call to action.


CTR: see clickthrough rate.


Descender: The stroke of a lowercase letterform that extends below the baseline.


Directory: A searchable index such as DMOZ (a.k.a. The Open Directory Project, which powers the Google Directory) and Yahoo! Directory that are compiled more by human editors than by automation, versus a Search Engine that uses a software algorithm to create indexes of information.


Drupal: A content management system (CMS). Drupal is an award winning open-source CMS, known for its low 'total cost of ownership' and many strengths. Read more about Drupal...


Ecommerce: a.k.a. electronic commerce – software solution and system for doing business online. Ecommerce software typically includes a frontend catalog and shopping cart component and a backend transaction payment gateway component that handles the security, authorization and money.

Leading ecommerce solutions come with a full suite of tools for easy ebusiness management and maintenance. In a professional ecommerce package expect include:

  • Upload/download product data, include bulk product & picture uploads
  • Manage products & customer specific prices (B2B or B2C)
  • Manage clients/customers
  • Manage orders, including refunds and returns
  • Manage taxes and shipping
  • Manage prices, coupons, sales and incentives
  • Statistics ecommerce sales and Web metrics
  • Ecommerce hosting
  • Integrated email for marketing and auto-responders (thank-you/confirmation)

Acro Media developed AcroCommerce to make it easy for ecommerce products to communicate with the banking network and simplify an otherwise complicated process.


Ecommerce Payment: see payment gateway.


Electronic or Digital Artwork: Artwork, such as the Acro signature, in a digital format to ensure accurate reproduction.


Electronic shopping carts: see ecommerce.


Extranet: see intranet/extranet.


Flash: also see Flash banner ad – Flash is an Adobe (formerly Macromedia) product, is a universal plug-in Web interactivity and can be integrated seamlessly into most Web pages. While great for dynamic Web page elements and ads, there are challenges the prevent Flash from being ideal for entire Web sites.


Font: The full type character set of a given cut and/or weight, including upper- and lowercase letters, numerals and punctuation marks.


Flash banner ad: type of banner ads – a Flash banner ad is a highly effective, appealing and interactive format to reach your target market – on the Web sites that they frequent.  It is similar to a mini Web page – allowing multiple calls-to-action and relevant results based on the users click-through: secondary in-ad information or redirected to a relevant landing page on your Web site.

The advantages of Flash ads are the opportunity for high creativity, varied messaging and user interaction. In particular, the benefits of this premium ad type offer eye-catching graphics and persuasive interaction – the user becomes involved with your brand.


Flash slideshow: A Flash slideshow (a.k.a. ‘webcasts’ or ‘screencasts’) is a graphical Web presentations, typically is a series of transitions between images, audio and text. A webcast is a one-way presentation and allows limited interaction (e.g. play, pause & stop) between the presenter and the audience, in contrast to webinars.

The benefits of Flash slideshows are easy creation and relative low-cost – especially when compared to traditional video presentation. Webcasts are considered highly effective for B2B marketing, since they provide eye-catching, animated visuals that are effective at drawing and holding visitor’s attention. Common uses of slideshows include:

  • Communicating a competitive differentiator
  • Educating visitors on the purpose of the Web site
  • Drawing attention to a specific section within the Web site
  • Advertising a specific product or service


Global navigation: relates to Information Architecture (IA) – Global navigation consists of the navigational elements that are persistent across the entire site. It is often presented as graphical links at the top of the page, but it can also include textual links or appear on either side of the page. Sites with graphical global navigation at the top of the page often repeat the links as text at the bottom of the page, as a way to meet accessibility guidelines.

Global navigation is important because it provides branding and helps users set the boundaries for a site. It should be consistent across the site and allow access to the major content areas, and the most important tools and features offered on the site, such as login, search, help, supplemental navigation and the shopping cart.


Headline: The most significant text in the visual hierarchy of a communication.


Hex (hexadecimal): The way to code RGB color in HTML. See RGB.


Hits: relates to Web metrics and not commonly used in marketing anymore – also see page views and unique visitors. A hit is created when your Web server delivers a file to someone's browser. However, a Web page is typically composed of many files, which might include HTML files, photos, background images, Flash movies, ads, and more. As a result of varying numbers of page elements, the number of hits is not an accurate indicator of unique visitors.


IA: see Information Architecture.


IBL: see inbound links


Index: The collection of information a search engine has that searchers can query against. With crawler-based search engines, the index is typically copies of all the Web pages they have found from crawling the Web. With human-powered directories, the index contains the summaries of all Web sites that have been categorized.


Information Architecture (IA): a field of study and an approach to designing clear communications by careful and planned structure, context, and presentation of information. The Information Architecture (IA) is like the blueprint of your Web site.

Information design and interaction design are inseparable in developing clear communications, regardless of medium. The defining elements of IA, relating to Web development, are:

  • The structural design of shared and interactive information.
  • The art and science of organizing and labeling Web sites, intranets, online communities and software.

The benefit of Information Architecture is site/software usability and information ‘findability.’

Specific elements of effective IA are as follows: global navigation, position indicators, local navigation, contextual navigation, supplemental navigation, top-down organization, bottom-up organization.


Inbound links (IBL's): a.k.a. backlinks, related to Internet marketing and SEO – IBL’s are links on external Web sites that point to a particular Web page (or in general, a whole site). IBL’s are one of the most important set of variables in a search engine’s algorithm of your site’s importance, since SEs look at the whole link network (or link topography) to determine the syntactical relationships between keywords and Web pages.


Internet marketing: umbrella term for search engine marketing, online advertising and Web site promotion related synonyms.

There are two general parts to Internet Marketing:
1) Search engine optimization (SEO): the onsite tactics for increasing the potential for high rankings in the natural search (a.k.a. organic) results for specific keywords. Search engine ranking placement (SERPs) cannot be purchased in the natural search results (e.g. meaning you can’t pay Google to be number one in the left hand side of Google results).
2) Paid Internet marketing is an all-encompassing term (a.k.a. Web site promotion, online advertising) that brings together all paid strategies and tactics to increase online equity and drive traffic to your site. There are several common ways to describe paid internet marketing strategies. Link building is a common strategy named after the goal of increasing inbound links (IBL’s) – since IBLs are one of the single most important variables in a search engine’s determination of your site’s importance. Traditionally many paid internet marketing methods are described by payment type such as pay per click (PPC), cost per click (CPC), cost per action (CPA), cost per thousand (CPM) ads displayed, etc.


Intranet/extranet: a.k.a. secure login and/or password protected area – intranet, extranet and portal are terms used to designate a private and restricted content area of a Web site, where only registered user can access exclusive content. A login and authentication mechanism limit access to approved users. ‘Intranet’ generally refers to employee exclusive content, ‘extranet’ to customer or supplier content, and ‘portal’ to collaborative and user-configurable workspaces – though these terms are flexible.

A password protected area is a useful way for an organization allow specific users to search and access corporate information. It is a single gateway for users, such as employees, customers and company’s partners to log into and retrieve corporate information/documents, exclusive product/service information and other interactive resources.


Impressions: also know as ‘ad views’ in the traditional advertising costing method of charging per number of ads displayed, or ‘ad impression’ measured in cost per thousand (CPM) – where ‘M’ is the Roman numeral for one thousand.


Interactive agency: an advertising agency or marketing firm specializing in the so-called ‘new media’ often relating to Internet technology. The term generally means a full service Web development firm like Acro Media that offers services from marketing strategy and creative design all the way to integration of ecommerce shopping carts with ‘legacy’ corporate database systems.


Java: a programming language expressly designed for use in the distributed environment of the Internet.


JavaScript: a scripting language developed by Netscape to enable Web authors to design interactive sites. Although it shares many of the features and structures of the full Java language, it was developed independently. JavaScript can interact with HTML source code, enabling Web authors to spice up their sites with dynamic content.


Keyword: a word or multi-word phrase which forms all or part of a search engine query. In the context of search engine optimization (SEO), the most popular keywords are selected (based on historical search data) for the best organic search and PPC performance. Keyword research is the indispensable foundation of SEO for Web pages and PPC ads.


Labeling: relates to Information Architecture (IA) – Labeling is important at all levels of a site. At a high level, labels include those used for global navigation elements, product categories, and site features. At a low level, labeling systems include labels of individual products, chart column headings, and contextual navigation links for specific reports. Labeling pragmatically fits in with keyword research, keyword selection and SEO.


LAMP: an acronym based on Linux (operating system), Apache (Web server), MySQL (database system) and PHP (programming language). The group of LAMP technologies is helpful to define a Web-related domain such as server infrastructure or programming language for development. LAMP generally refers to free and open source software, used to run dynamic Web sites or servers. For example, Acro Media is a LAMP expert.


Link building: a primary part of Internet marketing – Link building typically identifies, qualifies, and then pursues the best link opportunities in your industry. This may include free, paid or reciprocal links. A link building campaign generally includes the following two parts:
1) Search Engine & Directory Submissions
Web properties are generally grouped in search engines, directories or other relevant and targeted sites.
2) Linking Campaign
Request and/or purchase links for direct ‘in-bound links’ (IBL's) or reciprocal links (both parties link to each other). Links are typically gained from partners and suppliers, or purchased (essentially like purchasing a text advertising spot).

Quality assurance requires human involvement with each final identified potential opportunity. The end result is more communication points with your targeted community providing inbound traffic and a favorable link network that boosts your online importance.


Local navigation: relates to Information Architecture (IA) – Local navigation changes between content areas, allowing users to browse within a content area, such as products or services. Local navigation is necessary when an area is important, complicated, or contains a lot of content. Local navigation should be consistent within an area, but it may vary from area to area. It is important that the local navigation reflect the needs of the current section, while working in a consistent manner so users do not have to learn a new system for each area of the site.

Local navigation often provides links to the “local home page” of a section and “sibling pages” (i.e. overview section landing page, or pages on the same level of the hierarchy). Ecommerce sites often do this by allowing users to see the product hierarchy or classification. Well-done local navigation can keep users from having to “pogo stick” back and forth from an index page to all of its lower-level pages by making all of the options available from every page. Like global navigation, it can also use position indicators to show users where they are in relation to the other content that is nearby.


Landing page: The specific Web page that a visitor ultimately reaches after clicking a search engine listing. Marketers attempt to improve conversion rates by testing various landing page creative, which encompasses the entire user experience including navigation, layout and copy.


Leading: The amount of space between lines of text. It is expressed in points or fractions of a point. Leading is measured from baseline to baseline.


Letterhead: A sheet of stationery with the signature, name and address of an organization.


Logotype: The corporate name "Acro Media" in specially drawn letterforms. It cannot be set in standard typefaces. Almost always, the logotype is joined with the hand symbol in an approved configuration.


Local search: Capability of search engines to limit search results to particular geographical area, such as Yellowpages. An interesting technical twist beyond the likes of Yellowpages that require a user to input the area (i.e. city, state/province, etc.) is Google Local that identifies a region by IP address.


Metasearch: Search using multiple search engines and directories. Dogpile is an example of a meta search engine.


Meta tag: HTML tag that stores information about a Web page, including keywords for search engine and directory use. Meta tags include: title, description, keywords etc.


Merchant account: A merchant account is required to collect money via ecommerce. Beyond the most basic online selling such as eBay, an ecommerce vendor must set up a merchant account with a bank.


Messaging platform: see corporate identity guide.


Minimum size: The smallest size at which a signature may be reproduced in order to ensure its legibility.


Natural optimization: see search engine optimization.


Needs analysis (NA): one of the first processes in a Web or software development project. It identifies the requirements for Web site, software and/or Internet marketing success. Needs analysis is a review of internal or organizational needs, end-user needs (the client’s client) and industry factors (competitors and norms).

In many cases the Needs Analysis process highlights other opportunities or considerations (e.g. after examining some competitors a new Web tool is recommended). A Needs Analysis focuses a project by explicitly listing what is in scope.


Organic listings: a.k.a. Natural Listings – Search page results that are free, and based upon the search algorithms of that particular search engine.


Organic optimization: see search engine optimization.


Page views: relates to Web metrics and unique visitors – a page view includes all the embedded images and other files in a Web page. Understanding how many page views and the traffic flow to/from each page is important in gauging the overall popularity of a site, and the popularity of specific pages. Much better for measurement that hits.


PageRank: a Google measure of the importance of a Web page, measured from zero to ten. Google describes PageRank as follows: "PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."


Pantone (color): A set of standard coolers for printing, each of which is specified by a single number.


Password protected area: see Intranet/extranet.


Payment gateway: a.k.a. payment processor & relates to ecommerce – a Payment Gateway is an ecommerce system component for direct integration with the banking network and fraud prevention tools (address and card verification services). A Gateway Service Provider (GSP) is required to complete pre-authorizations, sales, credits and voids. Examples of GSPs are:

Acro Media developed AcroCommerce to make it easy for ecommerce products to communicate with the banking network and simplify an otherwise complicated process. This reduces the complexity of the software application which in turn reduces development time and increases reliability.


Payment processor: see payment gateway


Pay per click (PPC): a.k.a. cost per click (CPC), and relates to cost per action (CPA), and a primary part of Internet marketing – PPC is a type of paid Internet advertising where the advertiser pays only when the ad is clicked on. PPC’s advantage over other ad types is that PPC ads (text or image*) are displayed based on a trigger. Most often this is a user’s search query (the search engine will match it with a proprietary ‘relevancy’ algorithm), though they are also displayed on some Web pages based on that page's theme. The relevant keywords are purchased by advertisers, often via an auction like Google AdWords. The ads are subsequently distributed by the search engines over their affiliated system of Web sites.

Compared to traditional adspend, the benefit of PPC is measurement and flexibility. The ability to measure a PPC campaign is unprecedented – you can see what term was searched for, the Web site on which your ad was displayed, to what page they came, and if they converted. This clarity is not found anywhere in traditional advertising media. In terms of flexibility, a PPC campaign can be turned on or off at will, and includes the ability to pause specific ads or adjust the ad wording to more effective/persuasive text.

PPC is often recommended for several reasons:

  • You get qualified traffic to your Web site (increasing brand awareness and sales) that supplements your organic search results
  • You may reach target market people at the end of the buying cycle, when they are ready to purchase and are looking for a business (versus the ‘informational’ organic listings)
  • PPC can be targeted to specific geographic locations and for specific periods, making it the ideal promotion tool. For instance, you select for people clicking on your ad in January in the State of California
  • The extra volume of Web traffic and additional inbound links from PPC increases your online equity and indirectly improves your search engine rankings

*graphical online advertising campaigns may also be based on PPC or CPC versus the traditional ad model of cost-per-thousand (CPM) ads displayed.


PHP: relates to code languages – PHP (originally named Personal Home page, and now known as Hypertext Preprocessor) is an open source scripting language commonly used to retrieve, add or update content from a database and dynamically generate it on a Web page.


Point: Unit of measurement, used principally for designating type sizes. There are 12 points to a pica; approximately 72 points to an inch.


Portal: see intranet/extranet.


Positive (signature): The positive version is used when the signature appears on a white background. It may not be inverted (modified to reverse form) for use on a dark background.


Position indicators: relates to Information Architecture (IA) – A system to show users the content area they are currently in. Position indicators can take the form of a highlighted label, arrow or some other simple indication. This can be a helpful way to give users a high-level view of where they are in a site. When users do not have these simple clues, it can be difficult for them to tell which part of the site they are in, especially if there is nothing else on the page to tell them. This often happens when users are deep within a site. A bread-crumb trail is a type of position indicator.


PPC: see pay per click.


Query: Synonym for "search". Relates to search engines.


Ranking: A Web page's position, in response to a particular keyword search, on search engine result pages. Higher ranking often indicates better SEO, more and higher quality traffic.


Return on investment (ROI), also called rate or return (ROR) or just return: the ratio of money gained (or lost) on an investment versus the amount of money invested. Sometimes ROI is further detailed into Return on Marketing Investment, or ROMI. In this regard, ROI is the amount of money an advertiser earns from their ads compared to the amount of money the advertiser spends on their ads. ROI does not inherently specify a time period, but it is often used in annual terms.

Of note, when comparing ROI rates, it is important to remember its a ratio—therefore the total dollars gained (or lost) are not easily compared. For instance, an SEO initiative may cost $10,000 and result in $28,000 in sales in a year, equaling ROI of 180%. In contrast, a Google PPC campaign may cost $60,000 (e.g. $5k / month) and result in $90,000 in a year, equaling ROI of 150%.
Recap (in $1,000s):
      SEO: $28 / $10 = 180% ROI (sales increase by $28).
      PPC: $90 / $60 = 150% ROI (sales increase by $90, approx. three times the SEO initiative).


Referrals: related to Web metrics – A referral is a Web page that contains a link to one of your pages that was used by a visitor to get to your site.


Reverse (signature): The reverse version is used when the signature appears on a black background. It may not be inverted (modified to positive form) for use on a light background.


RGB (Red, Green, Blue): The acronym for subtractive color used for true color representation on screen.


Robots: see spiders.


ROI: see return on investment.


Sans Serif: A typeface (without serifs) that is even in overall weight, with almost equal thickness of vertical and horizontal strokes. Arial is a sans serif typeface.


SE: see below, search engine.


Search engine (SE): Program such as Google that searches its indices or databases in response to a user's query, retrieving lists of documents containing specific keywords. Google, Yahoo!, Bing and are some of the top search engines which use software algorithms to create indexes of information. This is different from directories, which are compiled by human editors.


Search Engine Marketing (SEM): see Internet marketing.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO): important component of Internet marketing – SEO is the art and ad hoc science of placing highly searched and very relevant keywords into a Web site, PPC campaign, press release etc. Natural SEO, a.k.a. organic SEO, is the on-site tactics of retooling a site so that it fits with the target market's terminology and so that it's more likely to appear high in the natural or organic search results (versus the paid results, as in PPC). An example of natural results are those on the left of Google search results (no one can pay Google to get into this list) – often under a few sponsored ads (PPC) at the top. On the right hand side of a Google search are all sponsored ads (PPC).


Secure Login: see Intranet/extranet.


SEM: acronym for search engine marketing – see Internet marketing.


SEO: see search engine optimization.


Serif: The finishing strokes at the top and bottom of a letter. A serif typeface generally has obvious contrast in thickness between vertical and horizontal strokes.


Shopping carts: see ecommerce.


Signature: The stand-alone, proprietary visual representation of a company, which serves as its legally protected mark of ownership.


Site search: relates to Information Architecture (IA): Well-implemented search can allow users to jump right to the specific piece of information which interests them. Like supplemental navigation tools, search gives users alternative ways to access site content. The search results page is key to the effectiveness of the search– allowing users to filter, sort, and refine search results is important when queries yield many results.


Software as a Service(SaaS): a model of software delivery where the software company provides daily operation, maintenance and support for software provided to a client, for a regular lease fee.


Spam: two definitions relevant to the Internet:
1) related to email – virtually any and all email that you don't want, in particular unsolicited bulk email. The use of Spam in email comes from Monty Python's hilarious Spam sketch, which was based on the canned meat.

2) related to Internet marketing and SEO – Any Internet marketing method that a search engine deems to be detrimental to its efforts to deliver relevant, quality search results. Some SEs have written guidelines about what they consider to be spamming, but ultimately any activity a particular search engine deems harmful may be considered spam, whether or not there are published guidelines against it. Example of spam include the creation of nonsensical doorway pages designed to please search engine algorithms rather than human visitors or heavy repetition of search terms on a page (i.e. the search terms are used tens or hundreds or times in a row). These are only two of many examples. Determining what is spam is complicated by the fact that different search engines have slightly different standards.


Spiders: Software created by a search engine, a.k.a. crawlers, robots or bots, that automatically scour the Internet, reporting Web page contents back to a search engine's index or database. These are built by search engines to build their index.


Supplemental Navigation: relates to Information Architecture (IA) – While other types of navigation (Global Navigation, Position Indicators, Local Navigation, Contextual Navigation) exist alongside the content on the page, supplemental navigation provides users with “outside the box” ways to access content. Site maps, tables of content, indexes and guides give users a way to navigate a site without having to drill down through the primary hierarchy. Supplemental navigation is most useful when it gives users with a specific goal direct access to what they need. But supplemental navigation can also provide an overview of the site, allowing users to feel more comfortable with what is (and is not) there.


Top-Down Organization: relates to Information Architecture (IA) & bottom-up organization: For most sites, there is a key set of content that is crucial to the site’s success. For e-commerce sites, the products are most important; for an analysts’ site, it is the research. For example, a good classification scheme for the research will help users quickly and easily find what they are looking for. The classification scheme also represents how the analysts describe the “intellectual space” they work in, and in essence becomes part of their brand.

The top-down classification of research provides the high-level framework for browsing. The goal is to break up the research into categories that make sense to users so they can drill down to the specific piece of research they are
interested in.


Typeface: An entire family of fonts, including Roman, light, condensed, italic and bold, unified by its consistent visual properties.


Typography: The process and specifications for typesetting (e.g., alignment, leading, size, weight and color) to obtain a specific style or design.


Unique Visitors: relates to Web metrics and site visits – This is a more precise way to measure visitors to your site than hits. Each person visiting your site is counted only once, regardless of how many times they visit. This is a way to measure how wide an audience you are reaching. For instance, one person who returns five times to a site is counted as one unique visitors and five visits. Tracking of unique visitors versus visits is often done by cookies.


URL: Universal Resource Locator. A unique Web address typically in the www format. The URL contains the name of the protocol (the method to be used to access the file resource), a domain name( which identifies a specific computer on the Internet) and a pathname ( a hierarchical description that describes the location of a file in that specific computer).


User Generated Content (UGC): User generated content (UGC), which is also known as consumer generated media, or CGM, is any text, images or videos published generally for free in the public domain (confusingly, some UGC content is from from professionals such as copywriters).
Also see Blog and Web 2.0.


Validation: relates to Web site implementation and quality assurance – validation means Web code (such as HTML) that passes specifications. The goal is running code, that is, code that works. Open standard specifications are set and maintained by organizations such as

The benefits of validation are as follows:

1. Accessibility – validating your code identifies problems that search engine spiders or visitors from accessing your Web site. Running your site through a code validator checks for errors that need to be corrected so your pages will render well.
Why should you do this?
a) Allows your site to be accessible to a larger audience (vision impaired, motor skill impaired, cognitive impaired)
b) Allows your site to be accessed by wider range of devices (hand helds, screen readers, text browsers, search engines)
c) Is a requirement for some United States Federal and State Government sites

2. Search engine (SEO) friendly pages – clean and simple code enables search engines to spider your pages more quickly and completely.

3. Faster Loading – if your Web page contains HTML errors it will take a longer time for the search engines to spider it, therefore slowing the loading time. If your page doesn't display in several seconds your visitors will click away to your competitors' sites.

4. Reduced server load – clean and simple code won't tax your server as much as a site which has complicated code or contain many nested tables. Cascading style sheets (CSS) will greatly reduce the amount of code within your Web pages. This will also cut down on the amount of Web space and bandwidth used thus saving you money for hosting your site.

5. Ease of updating and maintaining the Web site – with correct HTML code it is easier and faster to make changes to your Web pages. For Web site designers, this means you save time and money when maintaining clients' sites.

6. Browser compatibility – validated code ensures your site is compatible with the current browsers and future browsers. You might say "It looks fine in Internet Explorer, so why bother with Firefox or Google's Chrome?" – but the landscape continues to change. Current browsers will continue to update their rules and future browsers will make sure they are HTML compliant.

7. More visitors – if you ensure your Web pages appear correctly in all the major browsers you will be able to reach a larger audience which then increases the earning potential of your site.


Visits: relates to Web metrics and unique visitors – A visit includes all the pages viewed by a visitor to your site. Visits begin when a person enters the site and end when the same visitor leaves the site or remains idle for a period of time (usually 30 minutes). For instance, one person who returns five times to a site is recorded as one unique visitor and five visits.


Verbing: a common form of etymology and neologism in English, as well as a type of wordplay and a form of anthimeria, in which words other than verbs are used as verbs. Verbing is often done by using nouns and adjectives as participles, though there are numerous other variations. Example: Googling – meaning to query Google (or any search engine).


Web 2.0: If you’ve heard the term ‘Web 2.0’ but can’t define it precisely, join the club. Since its coinage in 2004, it has become a catch-all term for a truckload of new and not-so-new activities and applications for sharing and collaborating on the Internet. Definition too nebulous? Consult an excellent Web 2.0 example.

A ‘wiki’ lets users create, browse and search information on the Internet. Volunteers contributed Wikipedia’s 7.2 million articles, and although anyone can theoretically edit them, volunteer editors/peers must approve changes before they are published to the Web. Apparently, people inherently trust people.

Web 2.0 examples from Acro Media staff:

  • D., a sports car owner, buys performance tires in consideration of independent consumer reviews on
  • S. checks her Facebook messages to plan her social calendar. Local bands send notices of upcoming gigs, friends send party invites, images and links.
  • T. buys computer bits on eBay, relying (and contributing to) peer ratings of the seller’s trustworthiness
  • J. and C., wedding photographers, encourage clients to let friends preview wedding shots online.
  • And everyone at Acro Media has watched YouTube...

Also see Blog and user generated content (UGC).


Web directory: See directory.


Web Analytics: see Web metrics.


Web site promotion: see Internet marketing


Web Metrics: a.k.a. Web site measurables, site stats or Web analytics – Web metrics includes activities such as log file analysis or Web traffic analysis – but this is only part of the picture. The real point is measuring business marketing goals. The following list of measurables is the most common measure set of variables across all industries:

  • Conversion rates: number of conversions per time period:
  • contact us form filled in or emails
  • phone calls from the Web site (1-800 etc)
  • request for information (RFI)
  • request for proposal (RFP)
  • whitepaper, product or service PDF downloaded
  • ecommerce transactions
  • other:
    • Average number of hits per month
    • Average number of unique visitors per month
    • Rate of increased Web site traffic over last year
    • Ratio of new to returning visitors
    • Number of offline sales generated from online research
    • Average duration of Web site visits
    • Amount of increased traffic to bricks and mortar business related to online campaigns
  • Average customer acquisition cost, a.k.a. Cost per Acquisition (CPA)?
  • What is the average cost per sale?
  • Pay per click (PPC) or cost per click (CPC)

See more relating to Web Metrics: conversion, hits, unique visitors and visits.

Google Analytics is an example of a good free Web metrics solution.


Webinars: is short for Web-based seminar, which are interactive communications. Related to, but different from, a webcast.


Webcast: live media file distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology. Essentially, webcasting is broadcasting over the Internet.


Weight: The lightness or boldness of a font, which is determined by the ratio of stroke thickness to character height.


Wireframe: A wireframe is a simple graphical layout guide with filler text and little or no color and images. Its purpose is to show the allocated space and location for each structural page element, such as the toolbar, logo, tagline, ads, content and images, as well as the calculated visitor movement within the Web site through call to actions.


WYSIWYG: WYSIWYG is an acronym for "What You See Is What You Get" –  an interface in which content during editing looks like the final product.


X-height: The height of the body of a lowercase letter, excluding ascenders and descenders (e.g., "x").


Zee End: a.k.a. "The End" and may be pronounced by a tall chap in a funny, high pitched, voice. Often associated with black-and-white movies and gales of laughter. Think 'Monty Python.'   Think "I FaceBooked your Mother."