Web Jargon simplified for businesses considering a new website

We have found that over the years our clients have come to us with various levels of web and digital design knowledge. Some clients know exactly what they want and need, and some clients are fearful to approach an agency. This is due to their lack of knowledge and fear of being undersold/oversold on what their business needs. It’s like going to a car mechanic. You need to trust they will give a fair and honest price along with a reasonable timescale to fix the issue.

So, we thought what better way to help businesses than by providing a simple list of terms, to help understand the world of web design and explain how agencies should be working with their clients.

We believe that how Happy Giraffe operates is the best way to approach a new website project. Always working to our client’s budgets, there is no set cost or time to any build that we do. As an agency, we believe that it is our job to ensure our client’s needs are met within their time constraints and budgets. We offer different packages and solutions with recommendations based on our many years of experience in Marketing, Brand, Design and Digital. Every project is bespoke to our clients and we are flexible enough to be able to adapt to changing requirements and deadlines.

Below is a list of terms that may help you understand a little more about websites. This will allow you to approach your projects armed with basic knowledge and confidence in the future.


Brochure Site

Brochure sites are similar to physical printed brochures. They are there to simply inform and provide visitors with an overview of the business and its services.

Harper Fox is an excellent example of a Brochure site that we designed and built for Scarlett Allen-Horton a finalist on BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’: https://harperfoxglobal.com


Portfolio Site

When you have work or projects to show off to the world.

The Happy Giraffe site is a good example of a Portfolio Site: https://happygiraffe.wpengine.com/


Ecommerce Site 

Ecommerce refers to electronic commerce or internet commerce. These sites are intended to sell products that customers and clients can purchase over the internet. Ecommerce sites are quickly becoming the most popular way to shop in the 21st century.

We have all visited e-commerce sites from clothing to food shops, however, the Black Lodge Potions website which was designed and built by Happy Giraffe is a good example of a site that offers a unique experience for its customers! https://blacklodgepotions.com/


Portal Site 

A web portal site brings information from different sources in a uniform way. Sites are designed in a way to usually allow users to configure what is shown with specifically dedicated pages based on the source.

Example sites include online banking, government sites and sites where members can log in to their areas like what we did for Wolverhampton Grammar School where parents, students and staff can log into their specific areas (login areas found in the footer of the site): https://wgs.org.uk/



Microsites are small websites usually containing only one page and are usually designed to supplement one larger website. These are often dedicated to a specific marketing need and may only have a relatively short life.

Tec Stop is an example of a successful Microsite that Happy Giraffe designed and built bespoke to the client’s needs: https://tec-stop-wiring.co.uk


Landing Page 

The page that acts as the entry point of a website is the landing page, much like a microsite, these are often dedicated to specific marketing activities, events, products or campaigns.


Web Design

This is a catch-all term for many aspects of a website’s construction, but generally, it will refer to the visual representation and user experience (UX).


Web Development

Where web design is the look and feel, Web development is the coding and technical backend configurations of a website.



CMS stands for a content management system. This is an application that allows users to manage the content on their websites, such as blog posts, news articles, pages and e-commerce products through a dashboard and user interface. CMS can also be used to update and change existing content on a site.



WordPress is a type of CMS used to build and maintain websites, it is one of the most popular tools on the web for creating and designing websites. Templates and tools are used to create pages instead of coding a website from scratch.



Plugins add extra functions to websites and expand the different uses of programmes and apps. For example, Ninja Forms is a popular plugin that controls website forms with ease and Yoast is a great plugin to enhance website SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).



Application Programming Interface. This is generally how one online service can interact or share its data with another. A simple API example is one such as Twitter. Twitter has an API that allows your latest tweets from your account show a feed on your website.



Maintenance or site maintenance is the act of regularly checking through a website for issues and faults to keep the site updated and in full working order. This should be done frequently and thoroughly; most web design agencies will offer to do this for you on a contracted basis.


Domain Names 

These are your .com, .co.uk, .net and so on depending on your preference. You can purchase domain names from many companies online such as 123-reg or GoDaddy. Once you have purchased a domain name you can have a website and email dedicated to that URL.


Web Hosting 

This is a server or space on a server where you store all your code and files that make up your website. Via your domain name settings (DNS) you can direct your domain name to the web host to make your website appear at the URL.


SSL Certificate

Secure Sockets Layer… no need to understand what that means, but an SSL certificate is what is required to use https:// before your domain name. These are issued and paid for via various suppliers. Some are simple and some are complicated. The varying degrees of certificate strength depends greatly on the sensitivity and amount of data you are transferring via your website. Big corporations pay big bucks, but in general, most Brochure sites only require a relatively simple certificate.



Subdomains act as an extension of your domain name to help organize and navigate to different sections of your website. You can also use a subdomain to send visitors to a completely different web address, like your social media page, or point to a specific IP address or directory within your account.


Here at Happy Giraffe, we pride ourselves on giving our clients something bespoke and tailored to their business needs. This is how every agency should work in our humble opinion. So, when you approach your new website project, or any design and marketing project, remember to look for flexibility and options from your chosen agency.

It is an agency’s job to work with you to meet your requirements and a collaborative approach should be considered to ensure both client and agency are Happy. 


If there is anything else Happy Giraffe can help you with, please get in touch by calling: 01384 394582, emailing: hello@happy-giraffe.com or visiting our website where you can contact us through our webchat function.