Blogging, like all good hobbies, has its own jargon and impenetrable in-language that is designed (we presume) to make the rest of us feel a bit stupid and left out.
Well, no more.
We put our heads together and came up with what we think is a fairly comprehensive list of all the blogging jargon and terminology you might need to bluff your way through the social media landscape just as we do, on a daily basis.
Have we missed a word? Let us know in the comments.
The foodies100 Blogging Glossary:
Above the Fold: This refers to the part of your website or blog that a visitor can see without needing to scroll down.
AdSense: A blogging network operated by Google that allows bloggers to turn individual words into click-through ads on their blog. Every time someone clicks on one of the links, the blogger will earn a small amount of money.
AdWords: Another Google service, this one allows companies and individuals to pay for their ads to appear whenever a user searches for their chosen keyword. The more popular the keyword, the higher the advertising cost.
Affiliate Ads: This advertising model lets bloggers make money by providing bloggers with tracked links to specific merchant’s websites – every time someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase, the merchant pays you a percentage of that sale as commission.
Alexa: Alexa is a US-owned website that tracks traffic to websites and blogs all over the world. It works by tracking the web pages visited by the thousands of people who have downloaded the Alexa toolbar onto their computers.
Algorithm: An algorithm is a formula. Search engines each use their own algorithm to identify and order pages in their search results, for example.
Alt Tag: This refers to a text description of an image used on a website. If the image can’t be displayed, then the alt-tag will be used instead.
Anchor Text: Whenever you include a link in your blog post, you’ll make the link out of a specific word or phrase. Anchor text is the name for the words you choose to make into a link. Using relevant words as anchor text can improve your post’s visibility in search engines.
Askimet: A popular plug-in for WordPress that automatically blocks and filters spam comments. It is free for non-commercial users.
API: An Application Programming Interface is basically the part of a software programme that allows other software programmes to communicate with it. So Twitter has an API, which is used by the Tots100 to help calculate its scores each month.
Archive: This refers to a complete history of your blog posts
Authorship: Google has recently introduced a new feature for people who write content on the web that invites you to add a small piece of code to your blog and blog posts, and link it to your G+ profile. Once complete, this lets Google know you have written specific content – and it can be attributed to you in search engine results.
Avatar: This refers to the small picture you use of yourself on a social network, such as Twitter or Facebook. You can define an avatar at sites such as Gravatar, which will then appear whenever you comment on different blogs and websites.
Backlink: This refers to a hyperlink somewhere on the website that points back to your blog.
Bitly: This is a free service that allows you to put in a long URL or web address, and shorten it. This is great when you want to post links without them being very long and complicated – such as in promotional materials, blog posts and Tweets.
Blagger: A derogatory term used by some people in social media to refer to bloggers who enthusiastically accept freebies from brands and PRs. [Are you a Blogger or a Blagger?]
Blog Hop: A blog hop is when a blogger writes a post on a particular topic and invites other bloggers to add a link to their own posts in a list at the end of their post. Each blogger taking part in a blog hop copies and pastes the whole link to appear on their own post. The idea of a hop is to ‘hop’ from one post to another, gaining new readers and finding new blogs as you go!
Blogroll: A list of blogs in your sidebar, that you recommend to your readers. The Tots100 offers its own blogroll that you can add to your site, which will display different randomly selected parenting blogs every day.
Bounce Rate: This term is used in website analytics and refers to the percentage of website visitors who leave a website after looking at a specific webpage. A bounce rate of 40% means that 40% of visitors stick around after visiting a particular page.
Bread Crumbs: This is a web design technique that helps users see where they have been on websites by displaying the categories/sub-categories visited at the top of a post. For example, on our site, you can see at the top of this post you have visited good reads then tech reads.
C-Panel: The control panel is commonly used by web hosting companies and provides a simple graphical tool that lets you easily manage a website – from setting a domain to backing up to adding new content.
Carnival: A blogging carnival is a collection of posts on a similar theme, hosted by one particular blogger. They can be a great way of finding new readers and new blogs.
Categories: When you write posts on your blog, sorting posts into categories helps readers to find similar content. Using relevant words for categories can boost your site’s visibility in search engines. As a rule of thumb, try to stick to 10 or fewer categories
Circles: Just as you might organise people into lists in Twitter, you can add and organise people into Circles in Google+. Then, when you post information on the new Google social network, you can choose to share with only people in certain circles.
Client: In blogging terms, a client refers to a piece of hardware or software that accesses a service hosted on a bigger computer (called a server). Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are commonly used Twitter clients, for example.
Comment Thread: A list of comments is known as a comment thread. When someone comments on your post, some blogging platforms let you reply to each comment right below it, rather than replying at the end of the comments. This is known as a ‘threaded comment’.
Comment spam: There are millions of spammers on the Internet – most automated computer programmes – that exist solely to comment on blog posts and websites, leaving links to various dodgy websites. Spam comments will often be written in very strange English and include lots of web links that don’t make sense. Comment moderation allows you to catch and delete these comments before they get published on your blog. Be sure to delete spam comments – not doing so can flag your blog as spam to sites like Google.
Creative Commons: Every bit of content is owned by someone, and it is against the law to just use someone’s pictures or words without permission. However, lots of people post content using a ‘creative commons’ license, which usually means you are free to use the content providing you credit the original publisher, and don’t use the image or post commercially. You can search Google and Flickr specifically for creative commons content.
CSS: This stands for ‘cascading style sheets’ and is basically a way for website developers to specify how their website looks – you can use CSS to change the look and feel of your blog, and there are lots of tutorials online that show you to do basic CSS without any coding knowledge.
Custom domain: When you set up any website, the domain will usually reflect where the website is hosted – for example, blogspot.co.uk or wordpress.com. Buying your own personal or professional domain and redirecting your original site to this domain is referred to as using a ‘custom’ domain. [How to set up a custom domain]
Dashboard: This is what you see when you log into your blog account. It’s where you control everything from adding new posts to defining categories and uploading new images.
Deep Linking: Most links on the Internet point to website home pages – ending in .com or .co.uk, for example. Deep linking refers to links that point to specific pages within a website.
Digg: This is a social bookmarking site, where users can share Internet content they have found particularly interesting or valuable. Users of the site vote on stories and the most popular feature on the front page – which can drive many thousands of new readers to your blog.
Disclosure: In the UK, bloggers are required by law to tell readers when they are writing about something they’ve been paid to write, or have received compensation in some form. A simple sentence is usually more than enough for disclosure, such as “I received a free sample for the purposes of this review” or “This post is a paid advertorial from Company X”.
Domain name: When you visit a website the domain name is simply the name part of the address. Our domain, for example, is Tots100.co.uk
Duplicate content: Search engines generally like fresh, original content and will penalise sites by ranking them less highly if they find your content is used in more than one place.
Engagement: There are lots of ways to measure a website’s popularity but one of the most important is engagement – this is how people interact with a website’s content, for example by sharing on Facebook, or commenting.
Facebook Page: You might have a personal Facebook account, but many bloggers have a ‘page’ for their blog, which they use to share posts and engage with readers. Our Facebook page is www.facebook.com/tots100 [How to make the most of your Facebook Page]
Fair use: It is generally illegal to take someone’s content – whether words or images – and use it without permission. But there is a law called ‘fair use’ which means you CAN use a reasonable portion of someone’s work for the purposes of argument, illustration or review without needing permission or to make payment. The key word is ‘reasonable’ – what you take shouldn’t prevent the creator from being able to benefit from their original work. [A Blogger’s Guide to Copyright]
Favicon: This is an abbreviation of ‘favourite icon’ and refers to the small image that appears in a browser tab, or sometimes alongside the address bar, to illustrate a specific website. You can often create your own Favicon if you’re using a self-hosted website – just create an image and upload to the favicon folder.
Feed: One of the things that makes a blog really clever is the ‘feed’ – a stripped down version of your blog’s content that is published on the Internet. Readers who subscribe to your blog’s feed don’t need to visit your site to get updates – they can see all the different feeds they subscribe to in one place, such as a feed reader like Google Reader.
Feedburner: This website, now owned by Google, allows you to manage your blog’s feed. With Feedburner, you can offer an email subscription service to your feed, add extra features such as Twitter buttons, and even collect information and stats about your feed’s subscribers.
Follow Friday: This is a weekly activity that happens on Twitter where you recommend people that you think your followers should follow. To take part, just Tweet the user names of your recommended Tweeters and use the #ff hashtag.
FTP: File Transfer Protocol, or FTP, is a way of sending information from one computer to another. If you have a self-hosted blog, you will use FTP software to upload files to your website, and download files. Free FTP software is widely available, or might be free via your hosting company.
Gadget: If your blog is on Blogger, a gadget is a small, self-contained piece of code that you can add to your blog to perform a specific function. There are thousands of gadgets you can download to do things like provide a link to your Facebook account, or display your most popular posts. You can also create your own gadgets using HTML code, to add pictures and logos to your site, for example.
Google Analytics: This is a free piece of software from Google that monitors traffic to a blog or website. To use Analytics, first sign up for an account, then copy the code provided into your blog – your account will then start tracking things like visitor numbers, as well as where your visitors arrive at your blog from, and what posts they read while they’re visiting.
Google Reader: Another free piece of software from Google, this time used to read blog and website RSS Feeds. Google Reader used to be a great way to keep updated on all your favourite sites from a single place. It doesn’t exist now. Try Bloglovin’ for something similar.
Google Plus: Is a new social network from Google, designed to compete with Facebook. Like Facebook, you can share status updates, pictures, posts and videos with your friends and colleagues. There are also online communities (a bit like forums) and Hangouts (a bit like live video conferences). [Five Great Reasons to be on G+]
Hashtag: This refers to a symbol # which is added to Tweets. Clicking on a word that is hashtagged will bring up a list of all other Tweets using the same hashtag – making it a great way to explore a topic and find new Tweeters who are of interest to you.
Header: Your blog’s header is the image at the top of your blog. It should tell readers what your blog is about, and give an idea of your personality, without taking over the entire blog – people should still there able to see your content!
Host: Your host is the company that provides the computers where your blog lives. Many bloggers using WordPress.com and Blogger are hosted by WordPress and Google respectively. If your blog is self-hosted, your host might be a company such as 123-reg or Bluehost.
Hotlink: Sometimes web users steal an image, save it on their own computer and put it on their blog. Often, though, they will link to your image directly, displaying your picture in its original location, within their website. This practice is known as ‘hot-linking’ and is frowned upon for many reasons – it’s copyright theft, and also involves using the original website’s bandwidth to host the picture on a new site without permission.
Keyword: When someone searches for something on a search engine, the words they use are known as ‘key words’. Writing posts that incorporate these keywords will improve your blog post’s visibility in those search results. In practice this means when writing a post, you should decide on what your keywords should be, and use them in your post’s title, in the image alt-tag, and also in the first and last sentence.
Linkbait: When someone writes a blog post with the sole intention of provoking people to link to that post. This is commonly seen in very controversial posts and sometimes in ‘top 10’ lists.
Linky: When a blogger writes a post and invites people to share links to their posts on a widget/list at the bottom of the post. Unlike a Blog Hop, users are not required to display the list on their own sites to take part. [30 Lesser Known Linky Posts]
Load time: This refers to the amount of time it takes a particular page on the Internet to be fully visible. Having large files on your blog posts, such as large images, will slow down your load time. Having a slow load time means many users will click off a page before even reading it.
Meme: Nobody can decide how to pronounce it (meem, me-me, or mem) but we all agree on what it is – Blogger A writes a post about Topic X and ‘tags’ other bloggers to write about the same thing. Each blogger who writes a post ‘tags’ other bloggers, creating a virtual chain of posts, each linking back to the person who tagged them.
Meta Tags: This refers to bits of HTML code that help search engines see what a blog post is about. The most commonly known tags are the ‘title tag’ and the ‘meta keywords tag’. On some blogs, particularly those using an SEO plug-in such as Yoast or All-in-One SEO, you will be able to set a title tag and keyword tag.
Name Server: If you have a website domain (eg myblog.com) then you will need to tell your domain company where your website is hosted. You do this by changing the ‘name server’ in your domain settings, usually to those of your hosting company. So if your blog is hosted by MYHOST then your name servers might be NS1.MYHOST.COM and NS2.MYHOST.COM
No-follow: When you include a link in your blog post, Google will look at who you have linked to and takes your link as a recommendation of the site you’ve linked to. This might mean the site you link to appears more highly in search results. If you have been paid to include a link, in a sponsored post or advertisement for example, Google prefers not to count your link – otherwise companies could just buy their way to the top of search results. So the ‘no-follow’ link was included. Adding a small ‘nofollow’ tag to your links means that Google will not count them when they index your site. [A Simple Guide to Nofollow]
Page Rank: Google ranks websites on a scale of 0-10, according to how many sites link to them, and how influential those sites are. Most blogs score a Page Rank of between 2 and 5. A Page Rank of 3 is double the score of a Page Rank 2 – so the higher Page Rank becomes, the harder it is to jump up to the next figure.
Page Impressions: You may be asked by PRs for page impressions – this refers to the number of times pages on your blog load, and is usually expressed per month. You can find this information in Google Analytics or by using services such as Sitemeter and Statcounter.
Partial Feed: Every blog can publish an RSS feed which lets people read their content in a feed reader, without visiting the site. Some bloggers encourage subscribers to continue to visit their site by only publishing the first few sentences of each post in their feed. To read the full post, subscribers must click through to the blog itself.
Permalink: Every blog post has a permalink – this is the URL or address of the post. By default, many blogs will use numerical permalinks that look like myblog.wordpress.com/p=124. But it’s smart to change your permalinks to incorporate your post title, because it tells search engines what your posts are about. This can easily be done in your blog settings.
Pillar Post: This term was coined to describe the core posts on your blog that are timeless and people will want to read above others. It might be a set of tutorials, or personal stories, or dramatic posts – highlight them on your blog, perhaps by adding links to your blog sidebar, or creating a ‘favourite post’ category linked from your home page.
Pingback: When you write a post and link to another blogger, your blog will send a ‘pingback’ to the blogger you linked to – this will alert them to the fact that a new post has linked to them. If the blogger approves, then a link to your post will appear at the bottom of your post. Not all blogs have this functionality enabled. A trackback is a more detailed version of this technology, and will send a snippet of your post to the person you linked to.
Pinterest: Is a new social network that is based almost entirely on sharing pictures. Users can like and share (repin) pictures they enjoy and organise pictures on to different boards for different purposes. Pinterest is now one of the biggest sources of traffic to blogs – if you write about crafts, cookery or anything visual, you should add your posts to Pinterest. [Use Pinterest to Grow Your Blog Traffic]
Plug-in: In blogging, a plug-in is a software component that can be added to another bit of software to add new functionality. WordPress users can add plug-ins that offer everything from enhanced SEO capability to automated back-ups. You might also add plug-ins or extensions to your web browser to handle certain sorts of video or multimedia content.
Podcast: A podcast is a sort of media file that you download from the Internet. Usually, podcasts are audio content and they’re especially popular when you visit somewhere and want to record your thoughts ‘live’ to share with readers on your blog.
Premium theme: Many blog themes (templates) are free, but a premium theme is one you pay for. The advantage of a premium theme is generally better customization and the option of support if you get stuck
Reach: In social media people talk a lot about the ‘reach’ of campaigns – this simply means the total number of accounts/people who might have seen mention of a brand or campaign online.
Redirect: If content moves from one web page to another, then a redirect is a simple command that sends visitors to the original page to the new page.
RSS: Sometimes called Really Simple Syndication, RSS is a standard format for publishing web content that lets it be easily syndicated and shared. Any RSS feed can be accessed through Google Reader, for example.
Self-hosting: When you set up a blog, it is usually hosted on Google or WordPress servers. But if you want more control, you can set up your own blog by installing blogging software like WordPress onto web space that you pay for annually from a hosting company. This is known as a self-hosted blog. [How to set up a self-hosted blog]
SEO: Search Engine Optimisation sounds scary but it’s really about creating and organizing your blog content in such a way that search engines can easily index it, and direct relevant visitors to your site. [Simple Guide to SEO]
SERP: Often used in SEO, this stands for ‘search engine results page’ and is exactly what it sounds like – the page of results you see in a search engine when you look for something.
Sidebar: Most blogs have their content organised in two columns – a main column, and a smaller sidebar to the right or left hand side. The sidebar is generally where you add advertising on a site, or other important information.
Sitemap: A sitemap is effectively an index of the content on your blog that is designed to be very easy for search engines to read and understand. You can set up a sitemap on most blog platforms, and it should automatically update regularly, helping your blog content appear in search engine results.
Slug: Sounds gross, but a slug is simply the short snippet of text that is attached to a blog post. The ‘slug’ of this post is ‘a-z-of-blogging’. Using keywords in your post slugs is very important in SEO. Setting your preferences means this will happen automatically.
StumbleUpon: This is another social bookmarking site, and a little less tech-focused than Digg. You can ‘stumble’ your own and your friends’ posts, to find new readers, and there are browser buttons you can download that will let you easily ‘stumble’ a page while you are viewing it.
Subscribers: People who read your blog regularly and receive updates via email or RSS are known as subscribers. Higher subscriber numbers are considered an indicator of higher influence.
Tags: Your blog is probably organised using categories, and it is wise not to have TOO many categories on a blog. Tags are labels for individual blog posts and can be more specific and numerous. Clicking on a tag at the bottom of a blog post will usually bring up a list of all the posts on the site that share the same tag.
Technorati: This is a directory of blogs from all over the world, organised into topics and ranked. Blogs are ranked according to the number of links pointing to them from other websites in the past 30 days, and given a score from 0-1,000 called ‘Authority’. You need to register for your blog to appear in the directory.
Themes: A theme is a pre-designed template for a WordPress blog (the Blogger equivalent is called a template). Themes can be downloaded from within WordPress or from third party sites, and you can customize them with different colours and logos. Themes allow anyone to have a professional looking site with no programming expertise needed.
Troll: An individual online who seeks to provoke disagreement and outrage. Not to be confused with someone expressing a strong opinion or disagreeing with you – a troll’s sole intention is to cause trouble. Best ignored, hence the Internet refrain: “Don’t feed the troll”. [Tips on handling Trolls]
Trending: A word, phrase or hashtag will be considered to be ‘trending’ on Twitter if it is one of the 10 most commonly used at any given moment on the site. Trends can be personal (based just on the people you follow), regional, or global.
Unique users: If someone visits your site and looks at two pages, they will have generated 2 page impressions but they are only one unique user. PR agencies and brands might ask for this figure to get an idea of how many people are visiting a site.
URL: The address on the Internet where any given web page resides.
Vanity URL: Another phrase for ‘custom domain’.
Vlog: A blog post that incorporates video. With high-speed connections, many bloggers are using video content to add interest and personality to blog posts. Used well, and kept short and professional, video can be much more engaging than text.