Understanding online buzzwords

Get to grips with the key terminology and jargon you need to know to get your business online...

Getting online and starting a website can be hugely beneficial for start-ups and small businesses. It opens up a whole new potential audience for the content, products and services you may want to promote.

However, the online world is full of terminology that might seem a bit alien to those who aren’t familiar with it. Impenetrable jargon can often be a barrier to achieving your objectives, but these complex sounding terms can normally be simply explained.

In this article we have explained some of the most common buzzwords you might come across, to avoid confusion and remove any obstacles that may stop you getting your business getting online.

Test your buzzword knowledge here >>

Brand storytelling

People love stories. If you want your messages to resonate with customers then tell them in a way that they can easily identify with, take them on a journey and appeal to their emotions to build a real connection. In recent times the beer brand Guinness has been one of the best at this type of marketing, telling stories through its adverts.

CMS (Content Management System)

A CMS is a central platform through which you can write, edit, delete and manage all of the content on your website. This allows you to plan and schedule content to go live, including articles, images and videos. WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are all very popular CMS tools.

In many ways a CMS is a more flexible, customisable version of a web builder but it usually requires some web skills to get the most out of the platform.

Building a website for your business idea is easier than you might think. Our online tool ranks the top website builders that offer free trials.


Website and other digital service providers may offer what they call freemium products or services. This is where they will provide you with something for free such as a basic website or social media page but additional premium services are then offered at an extra cost. The free or ‘lite’ version will have certain restrictions that can only be removed when the user pays. LinkedIn and Wix for example are free to use but key advanced features are only accessible for a price.

Going viral

If a piece of content e.g. a video, or Facebook post has ‘gone viral’ it means it’s been shared thousands of times. A good example of this is the ALS ice bucket challenge that swept the internet in 2014. If the content is positive about your business then it’s great for publicity but if not it could harm reputations. All the more reason to carefully consider what you put online.


H2H or Human-to-Human is a new way of thinking about online communications. Traditionally marketers talked about reaching B2B or B2C consumers but the H2H method is instead just about one human talking to another. Bryan Kramer has written a book on the subject ‘there is No B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human: #H2H’


Infographics are a useful way to share information in a visual and engaging way. They come in many shapes and sizes and are great for sharing on social media.

Online presence

Online presence is the collective term used to describe existence of an individual or business on the Internet i.e. anything that would appear if you searched their name in Google. There are many things that can fall under this umbrella, social media profiles such as a LinkedIn or Facebook, or a blog would also count. Your domain name (web address), which you can obtain from a registrar, would also be an example of an online presence e.g. yournewbusiness.com.

Professional email addresses

Email addresses have been around for decades but there is a difference between a professional email address which represents your business and a free email address used for personal purposes. Once you have purchased your domain name for your business you can create email addresses linked to the domain e.g. sales@yournewbusiness.com which makes a much better impression on customers than a free email likes yournewbusiness@gmail.com.

Responsive Design

This refers to the layout and design of your website and how it changes depending on who is viewing it, and what device they are viewing it with, a laptop or mobile for example. This is implemented when a website is designed, and ensures that the user gets the optimum experience no matter how they access a site. This type of web design will only become more significant as the growth and importance of mobile use continues.

Social Hub for a website

Creating a social hub on a website is a way of pulling the feeds of all of your different social networks into one place. Any visitor to your website will be able to easily see your most recent activity on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and other networks. Bringing the different networks into one convenient place makes it easy for users to follow, like or subscribe each of the networks displayed on the web page. Cisco has an excellent example of how this works in practice.

User-generated content

The internet is a great place for people to create and share. So instead of just creating all web content yourself, encourage others to contribute to your site for mutual benefit. Not only does this take the pressure off you to generate content but it also adds diverse voices to your website. The Guardian uses this effectively with GuardianWitness which allows users to submit their own content for news stories.

Web address

A web address, also called a domain name is like an online postal address, every website on the internet has one that is unique to them e.g. www.start-online-with.com. While they always start with www. it’s up to you what words make up the rest of the address. You can even choose the domain name extension.he bit at the end and the most important part of the web address. The most commonly used is .com.

Website builder

Building a website doesn’t mean you have to become an expert in coding overnight and do it all from scratch. There are plenty of tools available that will take you through the process of creating a website, helping you to produce a fully featured site with images, videos and ‘contact us’ functions in as little as a few hours. Website building tools are often offered by the same company where you registered your domain name.

As you can see, these fancy terms and phrases are quite easily explained, and can be really useful in helping to launch or improve on your online presence. To find out more about how to make this happen for your business, visit The Small Business Guide.

This article is a part of the ‘Getting Online’ series sponsored by Verisign.