10 Tech Terms Simplified

I still remember the time our VP, Jeff, asked me if I could do 301 redirects for the new website.

“It’s easy,” he said. “You can even use a plugin, if you want.”

I’m sure I said yes, possibly even with some confidence in my tone. But my face definitely screamed, “HELP.”

See, there are inherent differences between web developers, programmers, and digital marketing reps. One of the main differences? Javascript sounds like coffee to me. I know just enough about HTML tags to italicize the words I’m writing to you now. I can talk to you about Oxford commas and the relevance of Snapchat to millennial markets all day long. But ask me to manually access a server? Yea. No.

Perhaps some of your are in the same boat as me; if someone asks you a particularly tech-y question, you go running to find one of your tech-y friends. Well, I’ve had a few discussions with mine, and they don’t want you to be intimidated by the scary computer machines that go ping. Instead, how about you and I learn a couple tech terms? Impress all your friends and conduct 301 redirects in a pinch. Sounds like a great means of self-improvement.


10 Tech-y Terms Explained by a Very Untech-y Account Manager

1. HTML: A great term to start with, because it’s universal. HTML (hyper-text markup language) is used to determine how content will be organized on a web page. It gives web pages their structure.

2. CSS: CSS (cascading style sheets) is another language that works in tandem with HTML. While HTML focuses on the content, CSS focuses on appearance. With it, you can create rules that determine the look and feel of the web pages you develop, including display choices like colour and font.

3. 301 Redirect: This term is especially important when you’re refreshing a website. 301 redirects permanently funnel an old URL to a new one. 301 redirects often come into play when a business is launching a new website, so that all of the traffic from their old website will be sent to their new one.

4. Plugin: Plugins are extensions to software applications. They equip that existing software with additional features, such as media players or ad blockers. They’re a great way to add functions to a web browser or site. (They also make those 301 redirects easy – *audible sigh of relief*.)

5. Site Map: Site maps show the layout and navigation of a website according to its pages and content. Everything is organized according to hierarchy. We use site maps a fair bit around here – they help our web designers determine how to structure content within the site. It’s the best way to plan and prepare a development project.

6. Responsive Design: If you’ve met our president, Bill, you may have heard him mention this one. He really loves responsive design. The term refers to a method that allows web pages to transform according to proportion constraints. When you use responsive design, your web pages will maintain their aesthetic appeal, optimized to perform well on any device. Since a lot of people will browse from their mobile phones, responsive design is crucial to web development.

7. Front End: The front end of the website refers to the portion of the site you can see in your browser. It includes all the aesthetic features and content organization (ie., HTML and CSS) – anything visible to you.

8. Back End: Conversely, the back end deals with all the invisible pieces of the website. The back end includes the internal workings, such as databases, servers, and applications. These elements tell websites where to get their data from and how to function.

9. VPN: VPNs (virtual private networks) allow authorized users to connect to a private network, even if they’re off-site. For businesses, VPNs are especially helpful. If employees are working remotely, they can access this network instead of using a public one that has less security. It helps organizations protect important and confidential information.

10. Server hosting: Servers are devices that provide support for a company’s networks and relevant data. Internet service providers (ISPs) often own these services, and will provide hosting services to companies that need it. Server hosting is simply the process of renting out server space and providing connection to the Internet.

Granted, this is only a small piece of a much longer list. We have good news – we’ll do more posts like this. Keep checking back to learn more tech terms with the untech-y Account Manager!