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Digital Presence for Beginners: Terminology

Updated: Jan 7, 2023


If you struggle to understand the latest online terminology and it leaves you feeling left behind or worse, like you shouldn't try to participle, this article is for you. The online world rapidly changes, and so does its terminology. Often my clients struggle to keep up with the abbreviations and slang prevalent with many different platforms and digital strategies.


This article will break down the popular vocabulary and is separated alphabetically. As companies introduce new features, they will also coin new terminology, and this article will be updated to reflect changes from time to time.


Social Media Definitions:


AMA - stands for Ask me anything; since its inception, this term has been used to introduce discussions where they allow their following (audience) to ask them anything. These are conducted in various ways but have become popular through live conversations, stories, groups, and feed discussions.


Algorithm - This is a mathematical set of formulas developed for a computer or program to perform a specific function. We often hear algorithms closely related to social media sites which decide how to serve the user content. Understanding what each social site considers important in their algorithm is crucial for your success online. Thankfully, most websites freely share what their algorithms consider important, ranging from posting frequency, user engagement, and links in the chain (how many followers you may have).


Avatar - This is an image or a username representing a person online. With the rise of virtual reality, many networking sites now ask you to create an avatar to express yourself online. Meta (Facebook & Instagram) has introduced avatars for their metaverse, allowing users to personalize reactions instead of using standard emojis.


Bitly - This URL shortening service rose to popularity to help users share links (URLs) on social sites that were considered long. Sites such as Twitter made using bitly popular to shorten lengthy URLs to fit within the character counts of a tweet.


Bio - A bio is a short text explaining who a user is on social media sites. Many sites limit the character count for users to explain who they are to their audience. It's important to have a great bio that is clear and to the point; users who are new to your profile will only see a short snippet of who you are, and the keywords you use in your bio may help attract new users to your profile.


Clickbait - A term used to describe a marketing or advertising tactic that uses sensationalized headlines to attract clicks. Many platforms are working vigorously to ban clickbait advertisements, and this practice is not recommended to develop an audience that engages with you through trust. These tactics heavily rely on the users' curiosity to create interest and provoke engagement and are often misleading.


Clickthrough Rate - A common social media metric calculated by the number of times a user clicks on a piece of content, which is then divided by the total number of impressions the piece of content receives.


Comment - A comment is a user's response to the content you have shared or posted. Any time a user types a response to a social post or blog would be considered a comment.


Community Manager - A community manager is a common term on social networking sites, referring to the person responsible for building and managing online communications for a group or business to grow an online community. They are also responsible for ensuring their community members are represented in a way that does not violate their policies or guidelines.


Connections - This term is common on the social networking site LinkedIn. As users network, they may not be friends with the individuals so they rely on connections to help grow their online chain. Rather than using the term 'friends' or 'followers' like other popular sites, LinkedIn's connections are other professionals that you may have met through work, speaking engagements, workshops or networking events.


Conversion Rate - A conversion rate is a standard metric that tracks the percentage of people who complete an intended action. The planned action may be different depending on where the interaction takes place. On a website, a conversion rate may be how many users filled out a form, while on social media, it could be how many people started following your account.


Cover Image - A cover image refers to the image or slide show you choose to represent your business page or profile on Facebook. This image is the first thing new users will see when they visit your professional page and should represent your business well; it's also in a valuable location, so consider changing this image to reflect promotions or fresh ideas.


DM or Direct Message - A DM or direct message is a private conversation on a social media site. A user can direct message your account and begin a private conversation with you. Many social sites now utilize direct messages for sales and allow businesses to record pre-written responses to fulfil first contact with their clients; this is especially helpful for small businesses that may not have a team to answer customer inquiries.


Emoji - Emoji's are small cartoon-like images that can be used to convey a reaction. Emojis are common ways to engage with users on social platforms or through text messages.


Endorsement - An endorsement is when another user recognizes you for a strength, often a skill. This term is commonly used on LinkedIn when another user endorses a skill you have listed on your profile.


Engagement Rate - An engagement rate is another social media metric used to describe the amount of interaction your content has received. The engagement rate measures likes, shares, and comments for any content you publish on a social networking site.


Evergreen Content - This content stays relevant regardless of when it was first created. This content can be reshared on your accounts and is an important part of any content strategy. Evergreen content stays away from time-related topics or trends.


Facebook - Facebook was founded in 2004, and in 2020 was renamed to Meta. The site was designed to connect people with friends, family, and acquaintances. The platform also allows businesses to create a free professional page and network with an audience, run advertisements, and review social metrics for posts and advertisements. As of 2020, the platform had around 1.49 billion active users.


Favorite - Favorites first became popular on Twitter and allowed users to click a small star icon to signal to the creator they liked their content or post. In 2022 Instagram also released the ability to mark accounts as favorites, placing their content in a specific feed to allow you to curate further what the platform shows the user.


Follower - A follower is a person who has subscribed to your account to receive social media updates.


Friends - Friends is the term Facebook uses to represent the users you connect with and the folks you choose to follow. On this platform, these are users that you decide you are okay with seeing your private Facebook profile and allow them to engage with you.


For Your Page or #FYP - This hashtag #FYP is used on TikTok. When users add this hashtag to their content, the feed algorithm automatically sends users content from people they follow or related to hashtags they may be interested in.


Groups - Groups are online communities that users join to learn about or discuss specific topics. Groups are popular on Facebook, and LinkedIn, and in 2022 Instagram released the ability to join groups that revolve around sharing a photo or video content with friends or like-minded users.


Handle - A handle refers to a username on social media websites. A handle is represented by using the @ symbol and then a string of letters, characters, or numbers without any spaces. Your social handles should be consistent from platform to platform, for example, @yourbusinessname.


Hashtag - A hashtag is represented by the pound symbol # and is used on social media sites to help users find relatable content. Hashtags help users find your content and can be used to help measure engagement at physical events. Hashtags always begin with the pound symbol and are followed by lowercase words with no spaces, for example, #abstractart


Header Image - A header image is a large image that appears on the top of your social media profile. Twitter coined the term 'header image'; however, this is the same concept as the 'cover photo' found on Facebook.


Impressions - Impressions is a marketing term marketers and advertisers use to see how many times an ad or piece of content was viewed or 'fetched' and counted.


Insights - Insight is a term that social media sites use to keep track of analytics. When users sign up for a free professional or business account on Facebook or Instagram, they will receive powerful insights that allow them to see how their page and content is performing.


Instant Messaging - Instant messaging or IM is real-time text-based communication between two or more people. If you have ever used Facebook Messenger, you have successfully instant messaging with your friends, family, or customers. Instant messaging is becoming more advanced and allows users to connect through video or audio.


Instagram Live - Instagram Live is a real-time video conference. This allows the account holder to live stream and engage with their audience. While the account holder will share their video and audio, participants can only participate through chat. In 2022 Instagram released an update allowing users to assign a moderator to help the account holder answer messages and moderate content being shared within the chat. Users who participate in the chat are also live, and their reactions are seen by all who are viewing the stream live or a recorded version of the stream.


Like - A like is an action that users use on Facebook or Instagram to engage with a post. Rather than writing a comment, users will click the thumbs-up or heart icon (Instagram) to signify they enjoyed your content.


Listed - Twitter coined the term 'listed' to allow users to curate a list of Twitter users and easily keep track of their tweets.


Mention - A mention refers to tagging another user into a post or on Twitter mentioning another user's name to attribute a piece of content or get the other user's attention. When you tag or mention a user, you place their full social media handle in your comment or post and the users will receive a notification that they have been mentioned or tagged and invite them to review the content.


News Feed - This term is typically used on Facebook to signify the feed a user follows. This will provide the user with updates from any account they are following, or the algorithm thinks they may be interested in seeing. Social Media sites allow users to curate their feeds to ensure they see content they enjoy or wish to stay up to date on. The news feed may also just be called the feed or be referred to as a timeline.


Retweet - A retweet is exclusive to Twitter and allows the user to reshare your tweet with their followers. The retweet will ensure the original author is credited with the tweet.


ReShare - This is used to describe when an account shares user-generated content. This is popular on Facebook and Instagram and allows content from one account to be shared to another account feed and be shown to a new group of followers.


Reply - This action allows a user to respond to another user by tagging a user's handle within a comment thread or post.


Story - A story may appear on several social media websites like Facebook or Instagram. Your story is placed at the top of your profile or business page and is available for 24 hours. Stories are excellent ways to keep your current audience engaged and can be a way to post content that isn't strictly on brand, but that your followers may find interesting.


Social Media Monitoring - Refers to monitoring and responding to users' interactions on a professional account or page. Interactions can be direct with the business or may include monitoring where your business is being mentioned from other user accounts.


Tag - This is a functionality that is commonly used on Facebook and Instagram which allows a user to link back to the profile of another user. Tagging is common for users to be invited into conversations or alerted to content or discussions their followers may think they wish to participate in or know about.


Trending Topic - Trending topics are the most popular topics and hashtags on a social media network. Trending topics typically change quickly and can be a great way to garner interaction and discussion on social networking platforms.


User-Generated Content - This is often referred to as UGC and is content created about your brand by your real-time customers or followers. Tapping into user-generated content and resharing this on your pages or profiles is a great strategy to help physically reduce the amount of content you have to create for your brand.


Viral - This is where a piece of content becomes popular and is wildly engaged with and shared on social platforms.


Vlogging - This refers to a video blog. Which are popular on sites like YouTube.


SEO, Marketing and Web Definitions:


Analytics - This is the data captured from your website or social accounts and provides a snapshot to help you gain awareness about the traffic engaging with you online.


Authority - This is an SEO 'signal' that search engines use to grade a website and determine what page the website will be shown to a user in the results list.


API or Application Programming Interface - This is an interface which allows one software application to interact with another application.


Backlink - This is also called an inbound link. When a 3rd party links their site to your site or a specific webpage on your website, this is an integral part of any SEO strategy.


Blog - These are usually maintained by a business or individual users who regularly update their online log in relation to a specific top. Blogging is a popular way for users to share their expertise or hobbies with the online community, and anyone can create their own blog. A blog is also an essential strategy for SEO to help you expand your digital presence online.


Blogger - This is a free blogging platform owned by Google. This allows you to host and publish a blog, typically on a subdomain. However, whenever possible, it is best for your SEO strategy to host your blog directly on your website.


Bookmarking - Rather than leaving multiple browser tabs open, you can add a bookmark to your browser and mark the site for easy access. Most browsers will let you create folders to keep websites you frequently visit stored for ease of access.


Canva - An easy-to-use design tool that helps you become a designer in an instant. Unlike Photoshop or Illustrator, Canva provides easy-to-edit templates to help you step up your game regarding compelling graphics. Canva is an essential tool that I recommend my clients use to help them take their social media accounts to the next level.


Canonical Tag - A canonical link (also called canonical tag, canonical URL or URL canonicalization) is included in the HTML code of a webpage to indicate the original source of content. When webpages may have similar or duplicate content across their website, it's important to indicate which pages contain the original content to help with SEO results.


Cascading Style Sheet or CSS - This is a programming language used by website designers to add style to a webpage or document. While HTML provides the structure and holds the page's content, CSS makes the page aesthetically pleasing. This is where designers enter font styles, colours, and images and control spacing or margins to give websites a unique look and feel.


Customer Relationship Manager or CRM - A CRM helps businesses easily keep track of their clients and leads. The CRM may integrate with the backend of your website or be a 3rd party software that enables you to manage your current and potential clients; they allow you to tag interactions and record information about each client interaction to help you better manage your business and user interactions. I recommend many of my clients host their websites with WIX to gain access to the CRM that comes with each website.


Crawler - This is the program a search engine uses to 'crawl' the web and is commonly referred to as a bot or spider. In other words, these crawlers review, record, and index websites and content to determine when or where they should be shown to users who make a search engine query.


Disqus - This is a plugin that can be added to many websites to help facilitate comments and moderation on blogs and provide social integration to almost any site or platform.


Domain - This is the URL that a website uses.


Domain Authenticated Email - This is an email address associated with your website domain. If your domain is website.com then your domain authenticated email will be user@website.com. If you plan to send email campaigns from your website to clients, having a domain-authenticated email is essential for building trust and allowing your email to beat the spam filters in most inboxes.


Ebook - This is an electronic book. Most Ebooks are not available in print and are typically published in a PDF. Ebooks are helpful in generating leads and obtaining email addresses for marketing purposes. They can also be a way for users to generate passive income by providing their expertise to a like-minded audience.


Forums - A forum is a message board on an online discussion site. Forums are popular ways for users to increase their SEO or grow their online community.


Geotag - A geotag refers to directional coordinates that can be attached to content online. For example, Instagram and Facebook allow users to add a location to signify where the content was generated. Platforms like Google My Business will automatically strip the geotags from any photos added to the listing and rely on the location the business has provided in the listing.


GIF or Graphics Interchange Format - A GIF is a small-scale animation or film clip. Many users utilize popular media such as tv shows and customize the text to create a reaction or feeling others may relate with.


Google Chrome - Chrome is a free web browser developed by Google that is considered the most popular search engine worldwide.


Google My Business Listing - This is a free search engine listing for local SEO. A GMB listing allows businesses with a physical location or who serve a specific demographic and meet clients face to face the ability to promote themselves online. Check out my free google business guide by clicking here.


Heading - This is a structural way to create a website page or document. Heading tags range from H1 (the most important topic) to H6 (the least important topic). Using the appropriate headings is extremely important for website accessibility and SEO. Each webpage or document should have only one H1 tag.


HyperText Markup Language or HTML - HTML is a webpage programming language. This provides the initial structure in which the content is placed, while CSS is applied to make the page look visually pleasing.


Inbound Marketing - Inbound marketing uses tactics like SEO, blogging, social media, email marketing, automation, surveying, and customer relationship managers (CRM) to apply permission-based marketing tactics to get found by potential customers, keep customers engaged, and generate new leads.


Keyword - This is the word or phrase you focus on in your content. Your keywords should be influenced by terms that your target audience may use to find you online.


Keyword Research - This term describes how businesses determine which keywords they should use for their content. This is a process of discovery to determine which keywords content may be able to rank for (in the top results of a search engine page) and how competitive the keyword may be.


Link Building - Link building is used when optimizing a website for SEO. This is a strategy employed to earn links to their site from another website which can improve their website's position on a search engine results page. Blogging is a popular way users can link build on their own websites.


Live Streaming - Live streaming emerged as a way for users to deliver video content to users in real-time.


Meme - A meme is typically a still image with text that describes a thought, joke, idea, or concept and can be shared online.


Meta Description - This is the title and description you add to the head section of your webpage or HTML document. This will include a keyword and description of your page and what a search engine results page will show to the user.


Permalink - A permalink is a URL or address found within a blog or website that is unchanged.


PPC or Pay Per Click Advertising - Pay Per Click advertising is an online advertising structure in which users bid for a position on a search engine results page using keywords. Users are only charged when potential customers click on the ad, and not how many times the ad appears. PPC runs like an auction; users will signify how much they are willing to pay for their ad to show in a particular location like YouTube, Apps, or Search Engine Results Pages.


Retargeting - This is an online marketing technique that places a tracking pixel in the user's browser after the user visits their website. This pixel will allow the business to send a targeted ad or email (if you are in their contact database) to remind you about the product you were viewing or offer you a coupon to complete your purchase.


RSS Feed - An RSS feed publishes frequently updated content like blogs or videos in a standard format. If an RSS feed is syndicated, users may subscribe to the content and read it from a location other than the original source.


RSS Reader - This allows users to pull content from different areas of the web, like blogs or videos and place them into a single location using RSS Feeds. RSS Readers were designed to allow users to consume different blogs or content from around the web in a singular easy-to-access location.


SEO or Search Engine Optimization - SEO is improving a website's domain authority or position in a search engine results page by employing tactics like webpage architecture, page speed, link building, content and web accessibility.


SERP - 'SERP' refers to a Search Engine Results page. When you type a query into a search browser, the results list is called a SERP.






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