Here is a glossary of all the blogging terminology you need to know, whether you are just starting out, or just need a refresh of the definitions! It pays to know whats going on in the digital world, so I’ve compiled some of those key words that will help you along your way. Its a long one, so notebooks at the ready!
Alt is an abbreviation for ‘alternative’! So, when you add an image into your blog post, it will give you the option to add alt-tags. This is text that you provide, describing what the photo is. Therefore, if someone was on your website and for some reason, the image could not load, you have provided an alternative description for the viewer.
Alt tags also provide some context for search engine crawlers, meaning it is great for search engine optimization if you include alt-text.
The first time I heard the term ‘anchor text’ was in a PR email, and I had to search the meaning myself! It is actually pretty simple. Anchor text is just the name given for a piece of text (could be a word or sentence) that you attach a hyperlink to. For example, you might use the words ‘blue sky wallpaper’ as your anchor text, to link to a website selling blue sky wallpaper. Easy peasy! If you are working with a brand, they may provide you with a particular word to anchor your link to, so that one is worth understanding.
Affiliate / Affiliate Link
You will probably see the word affiliate being thrown around a lot, whether that is in a #afflink on Twitter, or in a disclosure on a blog post. Schemes do vary but usually, an affiliate link means that each time a readers clicks, the writer of the link will earn a small amount. If a reader were to buy a products using the link, the writer would earn commission. This isn’t usually very much, most companies pay affiliates between 5% and 20% commission. Clicking affiliate links costs nothing, so I’ve always looked at clicking aff links as a little thank you to the person who showed you where to find a certain product!
I did a poll on Twitter just out of interest, to see who adjusted their blog to improve bounce rate. I was really surprised to see that 75% of you didn’t know what a bounce rate was. It warrants a whole blog post on its own! For now though, I’ll give a quick, simple definition.
Bounce rate is the number of readers who landed on a page of your website, and then left without reading any other pages/posts. This means that a high bounce rate isn’t good. It shows that people are coming to your blog and leaving straight away. You want to get a nice low bounce rate – meaning readers are staying to browse through different posts/pages on your blog. I have a whole blog post coming soon on how to reduce your bounce rate!
CMS stands for ‘content management system’. A mouthful isn’t it! CMS is a software for creating and managing digital content. So, if you host your blog on WordPress, that is an example of a free, opensource content management system. I have a full blog post on starting a blog, where I talked all about which system/platform to choose for blogging. It isn’t a term that you absolutely have to know, but it is worth understanding, just to give a basis as to what you are blogging on!
Ok, so these three terms pop up a lot in the digital world, so I thought I ought to cover them with the basic definitions! CSS stands for ‘cascading sheet style’, which explains how HTML elements will be displayed. HTML stands for ‘hypertext markup language’, which works to tag text files to get the correct colour, font and so on, along with the hyperlink effects on www pages. HTML is basically the building blocks of the webpage. Finally, RSS is a system for distributing content from an online published, to internet users. So, you create an RSS feed that people can subscribe to.
Click Through Rate
Another term you might see a lot, especially if you look more at the marketing side of things. Click through rate is the is the ratio of users who have actually clicked on a specific link, against the number of total users who view page/email etc. It is an easy way to measure the success of say, an email newsletter. It simply looks at who is actually clicking through the links you’ve used.
Domain Authority / DA
This one is pretty important for blogging, but I know it was a complete mystery to me for a long time! Domain authority is a search engine ranking score. It predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages. A site is marked out of 100, with 100 at the top. Your DA score is calculated by looking a root domains, other sites linking to yours and so on. Brands/PR will often ask for a minimum DA score. This ensure they are posting on established, high ranking search pages. A good DA score takes time, so don’t lose heart if you’ve just started and your score is low. Want to check yours? Moz Open Link Explorer is the best way to go.
People often tweet about their ‘DSLR’ and it occurred to me that unless you’ve used one, it is quite a strange term! When bloggers (or anyone for that matter) talks about a DSLR, they are referring to a camera. If you aren’t interested in photography for blogging, that might be all you wanted to know. For anyone who is interested, DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. Basically, those big bulky cameras people use! I use a Canon 650D for my blog photos, and I’ve written up a full post on beginner’s blog photography if you fancy a read.
Bringing it back to SEO, let’s talk about meta descriptions. I avoided these for ages – until I found out how important they are! So, for each of your blog posts, you should write a meta description. This is a 160 character preview of your blog post. This is what will show up under your post title on search engines. A good meta-description should give readers a good idea of what the blog post is about, encouraging them to click and have a read. This makes it key for SEO, so make sure to fill your meta description box in next time your write a blog post.
No Follow/ Follow Links
Ah links. There are two types – follow and no follow. Follow links mean that search engine crawlers can follow to the site you have linked to, no follow links mean they cannot. When should you use each? To meet with Google’s guidelines, stick with the general rule that any paid-for/ sponsored blog posts should not contain follow links – these need no-follow links. For anything else, follow links are fine! This topic needs its own blog post really, so I highly recommend you read this link post from Georgia on Mapped Out Blog – she sums it all up perfectly.
Sponsorship / Sponsored Blogging
Ok, so onto sponsorship. If you see a post that has been ‘sponsored’ by a brand or company, it means that the blogger has been paid or compensated to write the post. It is a source of income for lots of bloggers. I know I speak for myself and many other bloggers, in that any sponsorship appearing here on my blog, is genuine. I’d only work with products/brands that I love and enjoy working with. I’d never accept a sponsored post offer about, say, motorbike accessories – because I know that isn’t what readers visit my blog for. I like to think that most bloggers would do the same. You shouldn’t have to worry about reviews being untrue just because a post is sponsored.
This is such an important one to understand, because it will help your blog to grow and be seen! SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It covers so many topics, from resizing images for the web, to page load time, meta descriptions – you name it. If its going online, SEO should be considered! A broad answer I know, but it simply looks at how well your page will show up in search engines.
Ok, so those are all the blogging terms I wanted to cover in this post! You could write a book on web terminology (people definitely have written books on this), but I hope my glossary has helped!