Google Garble / The Lingo

You may already know all these terms and more, but some people don’t. A web developer really won’t expect you to, anymore than an outsider to your industry would know terms explicit to your industry. Here are some very basic terms web developers use.

What’s A Plugin?

Plugins are like “apps” you install on your phone. We all love apps and developers love plugins!

  • Some are necessary. Maybe they allow the developer in put text into columns, animate graphics, speed up your site, send you analytic reports, or any number of things.
  • On the downside, a plugin might hog memory space, cause your site to run slow, or breach your security.


Plugins are critical yes, but plugins may not always “play well together” and can cause a site crash or malfunction. This can occur the moment the plug in is activated, or later as the plugin updates.

Not all plugins work well with all themes. Before installing a plugin, a developer will want to check to see if it is listed as “Compatible with your theme”. If not, they may want to abandon it altogether, or they may take a deep breath, back up your site, then install the plugin.

Also, some plug ins are “blacklisted” meaning there were problems, “known issues” with the plug in. Maybe the plug in has been abandoned by it’s creators, so there are no more update or support for the plugin. And as hackers get better and WordPress versions get updated, the plugins need to adjust with the flow. Or maybe the plugin has had so many reported issues, that it is no longer recommend (dis-recommended) by WordPress.

  • Most hosts automatically remove plugins, once they become blacklisted or hacked, from sites to protect clients. When this happens, the owner of the hosting account will receive an email notification. This is great news on one hand, but it means that the developer of the site will need to research and workout a new plugin or perhaps layout, as removing the plugin also removes the function that plugin performed. IE: All of your columns disappear, your contact form stops working, images no longer show, various things can happen, depending on the what the plugin was doing for you.
  • Also note, plugins can get hacked at anytime, before hosts become alerted to the situation.

Part of the reason it takes time to develop a site is on the developer end, they have to pick and chose and test to order to find the best plugin for your theme and your site. It takes a lot of experimenting and testing (as well as keeping current on plugin trends and development of newer plugins).


No, this is not Gidget’s cousin.

Think of widgets as chunks of code that allow a developer to add content to your site without having to write code. Some widgets are edited directly, like the Text widget. There are many types of widgets, some might add video to your site, or forms, or link outside to one of your social networks.

Some plugins add widgets to the developers dashboard (the back end of the site that only they would see). While the sidebars (if you are using sidebars) on either side of a template (a page) might have any number of widgets, footers generally only support four widget columns. Header widget areas vary according per theme, or a developer might edit your theme to include header widget, if the theme allows it.

The most common place for widgets to be used is the sidebar or footer / header area.

Google Authorship

Dead. Google Authorship is dead. Don’t worry about it.

Google Authorship was Google’s way to allow authors of content to identify themselves for display purposes. The web developer used code within web pages. Google extended from this to link it tightly with Google+.

An example of how it looked:


Author Rank

Author rank is not a Google term. It’s a term the SEO community assigned to the idea of ranking verified authors higher in search results.

In particular, Google looks for visible bylines that often appear on news stories.


SEM in an acronym for Search Engine Marketing. It is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines.

This includes:

  • Paid search ads
  • Paid search advertising
  • PPC (pay-per-click)

The cost of the ads vary. Plumbing for example, is a highly competitive market. So to purchase an ad for plumbing is quite costly. Last I checked, the client pays up front, say $50. Whether its over a day or week or month, each time it is clicked on, it costs the client…let’s just say for example, $10. In that case $50 pays for 5 clicks to the clients web site.

From my experience. People don’t click on Google ads. I don’t click on Google ads. I think we have an adversity to clicking on ads; so we can set this up for you, but I do not recommend this. Your choice.

Call to Action (CTA)

Text, image, banner or button that uses persuasive, action-oriented words that urges a visitor on a website to do something. CTAs encourage a visitor to take an expected, predetermined action. (ex: Download, Register, Contact Us, Learn More, etc.).

Content Management System (CMS)

A software system used to control the content on your website. This allows login into the “backend” of your website and editing the text and images. Some examples include WordPress, Joomla & Drupal.


Navigational elements primarily refers to the “menu bar” located at the top of a website or along either side, it can also include links throughout the pages.

This should always be simple for customer retention. Frustration navigating a site will quickly cause a visitor to leave the site and find another source.

Just like we read left to right, we as a society expect that clicking on a website header will always take us back to the home page. We anticipate menus to be located clearly at the top or side of the content. We expect links to be usually a lighter blue or underlined and change color when we hover the mouse over them. It’s also important that linking outside your own site opens a new tab, verses taking visitors off your site completely, (out of sight out of mind).

Page Template

A unique page layout for a website. Typically a website has 5-10 page templates. For example, the homepage and contact page of a website look different and contain different elements, therefore they are two different page templates.

Design Template

Your page template (see above). This is the layout or blueprint of your site. It is the structure of your website, IE: areas pictures and text are placed, navigation bars, widgets etc..

Responsive Design

A website that adjusts to the screen it is being viewed on, desktop, mobile, ipad or smart phone. Images, columns, grids and the site menu are adjusted to fit the screen.

Site Map

A document showing a global, hierarchical view of a website’s pages and content. This site map directs Google to all the pages, posts and images on the site. Site map error will cause redirects, misdirects or error messages to pages on your site or cause your site not to be found at all.

A site map can also mean a menu of all the pages within a website. Sometimes you will see these situated in the footer of a website.


A theme dictates the look and style of your website.Themes are made up of font types and sizes, your color scheme and other areas that affect the aesthetics of your site.

There are a plethora of themes out there; some are free, others are bought. Some are magazine style layouts, others are more store front, some are specific to blogging, others are specific to industry needs. Based on what your industry is and the “feel” you want users of your site to experience, your web developer will help decide on a theme.

Another factor I always consider, is if you, the client, be editing your own site. If so, then I make pretty darn sure it is friendly on the back end so you are not overwhelmed. I also lock down parts of the theme so you cannot easily crash your theme accidentally.

Never  underestimate the effects of a good theme.