Website terms you should know

What in the Web is that?

If all websites have pages, are all web pages sites?

In the world of websites, it can be hard to tell what terms mean the same thing…and when using the wrong term can really confuse you (or the people you’ve hired to work on your site). Here’s a short list of words that are often used interchangeably and what they really mean.

Website vs. web page

The easiest answer is: websites are made up of multiple web pages. Where this really matters is when it comes to search engines — each web page is an individual file that can be served up in the search results. So the more web pages in your website, the more chances you have to get found on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

There are some websites that are a single page — but those are often landing pages or “microsites” for a marketing campaign that are separate from the main company website.

URL vs. domain vs. web address

While there are technical differences between each of these — a domain can have subdomains, a web address may just be everything up to the .com, a URL may have an alias or extension — they’re usually used interchangeably. For most SMBs, any question around URLs, domains or web addresses will be about

Navigation button vs. pages vs. “tabs”

These terms are all used interchangeably too (but “navigation button” will help you understand more advanced terms like “top-level nav” and “subnav”). It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Web designer vs. web developer vs. everything else

“Designer” often gets used as shorthand for the person building your website. But more often than not, you’ll need a team of specialists (or a couple people with a lot of diverse experience) to create a site that can meet your goals.

  • A web designer will work with you to make sure the “look and feel” of your site matches your brand
  • A web developer may also be your designer, but they’re primarily focused on picking the right technology to match the type of site you’re building, like an eCommerce site.
  • A copywriter or web content specialist will help you craft content that speaks to your site visitors’ needs and tells them why they should choose you
  • An SEO specialist will make sure your site can get found on Google and other search engines (after all the hard work that went into making your site!)

And that’s just the start!  There’s nothing wrong with saying “Someone is designing my site” instead of listing all of these tasks…but don’t expect someone who is ONLY a designer to create your content, optimize your site for Google, or help you create a portal for clients to securely log in and access sensitive information.

Still not sure what you’re talking about? Avoid confusion by pointing to examples

Most web service companies can figure out what you’re referring to by context, but it doesn’t hurt to have a couple examples handy. Instead of just saying “You know, the domain” try saying “Like” (which means you’re really talking about the domain “” AND the URL “”).

Ian Messinger

Ian Messinger

A longtime lover of a little alliteration, Ian is Hibu's Senior Copywriter for Marketing and Communications. Since joining in 2007, he's worked closely with the product development and creative services teams to get first-hand knowledge of how Hibu's marketing products help small business succeed online - knowledge he's happy to share with you here!

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