Dungeons and Dragons

The internet is full of strange and arcane terms for fairly boring, mundane things.

Don’t be fooled – we are all just nerds trying to make our jobs sound cool. Sometimes the marketing guys get in on it too – IT is a great industry for taking something you’ve always had, or bringing back something you used to have and we took away, and giving it a new name so that we can sell it to you again.

Here are some of the most important terms you’re going to find in this book, and what they really mean.

“HTML”: HyperText Markup Language. The code that web pages are made up from. You can see it if you use the “View Source” option in your web browser. Stuff like this: <h1>Hello World</h1> is hypertext.

“The Cloud”: Somebody else’s computer(s) that you access remotely.

“Spider”: A piece of software reads a web page, follows the links on it, and then reads the pages it finds. Spiders “crawl” the web.

“Link Juice”: When one website links to another, it passes “value” to the site – the internet’s equivalent of a vote. Back around 2007, a chap called Greg Boser decided to call this value “Link Juice”. I think it sounds kind of gross, but lots of people talk about Link Juice so… there you are.

“No Follow Link”: People concerned about losing their “link juice” love “no follow” links. A no-follow link contains a special, hidden code that tells the spider not to go down that path. A no-follow link passes no link juice.

“Robot”: See Spider.

“ROI”: Return on Investment – how much money you make as a consequence of the money you put in. Measuring the return on investment that your website provides is crucial – if you don’t measure this, then your website may just be a vanity project.

“D(a)emon”: An unattended process. The “mail daemon” does not rule over the special part of hell reserved for delivery people who think it is OK to leave your parcel in your bin and not even put a note through the door – it just sends and receives mail.

“Server”: Might be an unattended process or might be a physical or virtual device. (So, the “web server” might be a physical or virtual device which is separate from the “database server”, or we might be talking about two bits of software which are both running on the same real or virtual device).

“Network Marketer”: Someone selling to friends and contacts via their online social network. In many instances, also the new name for someone running a pyramid scheme. If Charles Ponzi were alive today he would probably be a “network marketer”.

“Vertical Market”: In short – what you do and who you do it for. Search engines don’t cope with websites that address multiple needs very well, so a lot of SEO advice will focus on working within your “vertical”.

“Virtual Server”: A portion of a larger physical server that acts like a real server. Typically a virtual server can easily be resized to provide more, or less, resources as and when required.

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