You don't need a degree in computer
technologies in order to learn how the Internet will work for your business.
You do need to know some techno-words to understand how some things work
on the Internet. We offer the following glossary of terms to get you started.
America Online is often
abbreviated as AOL. AOL offers Internet Access, which means
any AOL member can get to your Website.
- Interested in getting an Award
for your Website? The most prestigious award is probably www.pointcom.com's
Top 5% of the Web award. These nominations can take three or
four months to process.
- Bandwidth has come
to be a simple shorthand term for "Internet airtime" in its most general
sense. Web designers will use the term to mean download time, or the
time the reader needs to wait to be able to view a site. There are specific,
technical meanings of the term, but most people don't use it
in its most technical sense.
Banners are one form
of advertising on the Web. These are usually narrow graphics, sometimes
logos, sometimes signboards, about an inch and a half high and about
4 inches long.
Very popular sites sell bannerspace
on their pages as billboard ads. They sell banner space based on the
number of "hits" on their page--that is, the number of different readers
who will simply see the banner. Or they would pay only for click-throughs,
that's the number of people who actually click on the banner in order
to visit the advertiser's site.
There are some popular banner
exchange programs that trade banner space among smaller sites. You
allow them to place a banner on your site, which rotates through their
members. They keep track of the number of hits you get there, and the
more hits your site gets, the more times your banner is displayed on
other members' sites.
What's a bookmark? It's
just an address book entry for a Web Address. Some browsers call this
a Favorite Place or a Hot Spot. Most browsers contain
a simple "address book" where the reader can store the addresses of
their favorite places. Click on the name of the place, and the Browser
automatically goes there, like an online phone book with an autodialer.
Browsers are the essential
tool of the Web. The browser is the software program that runs on
your computer and lets you see Web pages.
Cache (pronounced cash)
actually has several different technical meanings. But the most important
one in regard to the Web has to do with trying to speed things up. Every
request you send over the Internet for a picture or text takes time.
The Cache is a file on your reader's computer where their system
stores a copy of things they've asked for recently. Then, if the reader
asks for the same thing again, instead of issuing another Internet
request, the reader's computer can simply use the copy from the Cache,
sometimes saving as much as 10 or 20 seconds.
On the Web, Content
is everything. It's words worth reading. Content can be graphical: a
bar chart of company sales, or a photograph or text.
Lots of people love cookies--and
some people don't. One of the main problems is privacy (not security)--people
may not want to give the information back that the server is requesting.
Cookies cannot get data
from your computer other than what is in the cookie file, and they can't
get your e-mail address or any information that you didn't give the
requesting page in the first place. What they can do is store the information
in between visits on your own machine, and then give it back to the
site when you visit the next time.
Yes, e-mail is a wonderful
way to distribute information about your company and products--provided
you're working with a qualified list of people that want
to receive the information. Sending unwanted e-mail, or posting
ads to noncommercial areas may generate some sales: but it will
also generate a lot of flames, and alienate
many more potential customers than it gets.
Assuming that you are sending
e-mail to qualified prospects, you will probably want to look
into an Autoresponder. Similar to many fax-back services, an
auto-responder is a program that will automatically generate a response
when an e-mail comes in. This is very useful both for handling information
requests and for generating order acknowledgments. Your
web site and your mailing list can work together. Include announcements
of new web site features in the mailing; provide a way for visitors
to sign up for the mailing list.
Flame is a nasty note,
or hostile letter, either written to a public forum or sent privately.
Flamers usually think they're justified, and are particularly fierce
in attacking what they see as misuses of the Internet.
Beginning in 1996, though, Netscape
began offering Frames. Frames are a way of dividing a browser
window into two or more parts. This allows the reader to scroll through
one part, like our glossary, while leaving another part-time equivalent
of the menu bar--available at all times.
Although frames are used for
a number of purposes, one of the most common is for a Navigation
Bar, or Navbar. A Navbar is just a kind of "Table of Contents"
of a site that stays available so the reader can move easily from place
A Hit on a web site is one
'visit' from a reader. Different statistical packages count hits
differently, Suppose you have a page that has some text and 10 tiny
graphics. The way the Web works, the reader's system will have to
ask your site for 11 things: the main page, plus the 10 graphics.
From a marketing point of view, that's one hit. But some
statistical packages will count that as 11 hits!. Our page counters
will track both hits and visits.
- Hypertext is simply text that,
when clicked on, jumps the reader to somewhere else. It may also be
called links. In most browses, hypertext is shown underlined.
- Internet Access Provider
- Internet Services Provider
Internet Presence Provider
When it comes to the Internet,
your computer plus your modem is your "phone"--your access account
will come from an Internet Services Provider (SIP). Most access
accounts cost about $20/month if there are no per-hour charges. Some
have a lower monthly fee, but then tack on per-hour charges after
the first few hours. All Internet access accounts that we're aware
of give you e-mail (a way to send messages to other people's computers).
Most also give you much more.
What's an Intranet?
Simple: it's when a company uses Internet technology to deliver information
to a closed group of its own employees--and possibly
stockholders and customers. Intranets are the hot item right now because
the Internet companies realize there may be a lot more money in helping
a Fortune 500 company get its information to thousands of employees
than there is in handling the same number of consumers using home
systems. Intranets may be even simpler to run than systems that have
to deal with the Open Web because the company knows exactly
what kind of computers its employees have, and so doesn't have to
design for as many different alternatives. Intranets may include
access to the entire Internet, but many companies don't--they simply
find Internet technology a highly cost-effective way of meeting their
internal computer communications needs.
KEYWORKS - Meta Tags
Keywords tell the Search
Engines how to catalogue their site so that readers can find it.
For example, if your site provides
consumer information about children's safety belts, you'd probably
like to be listed under the following: car safety, automobile safety,
infant seats, seat belts, safety equipment. Sounds simple, right?
Although Meta tags have many purposes in a web page, some search engines
use these to store keywords. So you will hear some people talk about
Meta tags as synonymous with keywords. While technically there's quite
a bit more to them, from the marketing manager's point of view, keywords
are an important feature of Meta tags.
LINKS, RECIPROCAL LINKS
A Link is normally
a hypertext entry which lets the reader jump to a new location. In
current Web use, it specifically means a Web address, or URL, which,
when clicked on, transfers the reader to that location. This has its
good and bad points. The good point is that by linking to interesting
and relevant sites, you can provider your readers with much more information
than you could write on your own. You can show information from independent
analysts and industry authorities. Reciprocal
links are links between two sites--sort of "I'll tell my readers
about you if you'll tell your readers about me." These may be a courtesy,
or they may be contractually required. For example, some Web Awards
require that if you display the award, you always display a link back
to the award giver's site.
A small, simple web site, the
online equivalent of a business envelope-sized paper brochure. This
is essentially a description of a business, product, or service, with
an e-mail link to allow customers to get more information.
SERVICES FOR WEB SITES
Many people have attempted to
apply rating systems to the Web. The most common reason is to identify
sites with adult content that might not be suitable for children. There
are many different services available. Almost all allow you to register
your site for free.
640 x 480, 800 x 600
If you're familiar with printers,
you know that printers with more "dots per inch", like 600 DPI printers,
can show more detail in the same amount of space than printers with lower
DPIs, like 300 dots per inch.
The same type of measurements
hold true for computer screens, but there it's called Screen Resolution.
Most home systems and many office systems come with 14 inch monitors
set to 640 x 480 resolution. That's 640 dots (or in this case, pixels)
wide, and 480 dots high to make a full screen.
Most 14" monitors
use the 640x480 resolution setting and designing web page sized at 800
x 600 may mean a significant portion of viewers may have to use the
arrow keys to scroll sideways and read your web page.
ENGINES and YAHOO
Search Engines are the
automated card catalogues of the Web.
Completely automated, Search
Engines keep huge files with short catalogue entries of literally
millions of web sites. Then, when you want to find information on
"Weather in Cincinnati" or "Beanie Babies," the search engines do
their best to make a list of all the catalogue entries that might
be what you're looking for.
The most popular search engines
are Webcrawler, Lycos, Excite, Altavista, and Hotbot.
SERVERS Secure Servers
A Shopping Cart is a
program or a series of programs that let visitors to your site make
selections from more than one page before sending in that order. For
example, suppose your web site sells auto parts. You might have one
page for spart plugs, another page for batteries, and another page for
replacement gas caps. With a traditional web page, your customers would
have to place each order before they left each page, so they would have
to send in one order for the spark plugs Then go to the gas caps page
and place a separate order for the gas caps. A shopping cart on the
Web works just like a shopping cart in the real world--on each page,
your customer can "put things into the shopping cart" but not have to
actually pay for them yet. As they go from area to area of your online
store, they can add more items or put items back. Finally, they get
to "check-out" where they place their combined order.
Note: One term you
may hear associated with shopping carts is cookie. A cookie is
part of a special file used to store information from one web page to
another. You don't really need to know anything about cookies as far
as planning promotions go--they're a specific technique used to store
Spiders and Robots
(or "bots") are simply automated programs that explore the Web, looking
for information. The most common kinds of Spiders are the ones that
collect Web addresses for the Search Engines to catalogue.
The only time that you are likely
to have to think about these Spiders is when you're trying to get your
site listed in a search engine, or avoid having some test pages on your
web site automatically catalogued by a search engine before you're ready.
If you do want to create
a test area on your web site and you want to keep Spiders out until
it's finished, you'll need to tell your Web Administrator so they can
put up a special "keep out" sign for these automated programs.
A Secure Server uses
a special code to make sensitive information difficult to read for anyone
not authorized to access it. They're not perfect, but they're far better
than unsecured servers. Most companies that accept credit cards over
the Web do so through a secured server. You might also want to secure
other sensitive types of information.
Adding this kind of security
to your web site requires three things:
- Secure Server to host
- Your customers must use browsers
that can handle secure information;
- You must register your "secret
code" with a security agency like Verisign
Readers know that they are
ordering through a secure secure because of visible cues on their screen--Netscape
uses a blue key to show that they are connected to a secure server.
Most people who purchase over the Web are accustomed to seeing these
signs, and won't accept other assurances. Your can choose either purchasing
your security "key" directly or using a sub-directory in our
secure server to process orders.
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