Online Marketing Terms — Simplified!

The following are my contributions to defining key concepts you’ll see on the net. They are in alphabetical order.

This glossary will be updated regularly. To be notified of updates to the glossary and the rest of this site, use the “Receive Updates” form to the right.


Article Marketing


People write articles. They can be about any subject under the sun, moon or stars. These articles are then placed on certain web sites where articles of all types are collected. These web sites are called “article hubs.” (a hub being a central area or location)

Then, other people who are looking for content for their own web sites or newsletters go to these article hubs and look for articles that may be appealing to their readers. They can then take an article from this hub and republish it on their web site or in their newsletter PROVIDING they do not change the article in any way. This includes leaving intact the “contact information” of the author of the article. This contact info usually includes a link back to the author’s web site.

There is much more on this subject, but in its simplicity, article marketing is used to get you exposure and to send people to your site.




The word blog is short for weB LOG. A log is simply a journal. Blogs have expanded quite a bit in how they are used, but essentially they are a journal of what the author is reporting on. This journal moves along a timeline, almost always the most recent information shows up at the top of the blog.

A person who provides the information on a blog is called a “blogger” and when someone “blogs” they are simply providing the information on a blog. An entry onto a blog is called a “post” or as a verb: “he posted something on his blog yesterday.”




This is an interesting term. It’s one of those inclusive concepts. One meaning would be: all of the blogs out there IS the blogosphere.

Another way of using blogosphere is: those bloggers who have some influence on the opinions of others. For example: “I don’t think Clinton’s comment will go over well with the blogosphere.” or “The blogosphere is certainly looking forward to a software upgrade!”




When you wish to save a web page and refer to it later, you can “bookmark” it in various ways. Your browser allows you to bookmark pages. Each browser does this a bit differently, but the basic concept is that you can save that page so that you can return to it later. (See “Social Bookmarking”)




This is the feature on your computer that allows you to get out onto the Internet and view web pages. Most folks used “Internet Explorer.” This browser can be used on PCs and on Macs. A browser that has become very popular with Mac users is “Safari,” which is also available for PC users. And another browser that both PC and Mac users are finding popular is “Firefox.” Google created a browser called “Chrome” and this has a number of very good features.

There are a few other browsers, and they all have one essential purpose: to help you move around on the net, to view web pages and to help you find and collect information.




The arrangement of information and instructions that tells a computer program how to work. When we use an email program, we see what’s on the screen and we use our mouse and keyboard to do things with the email program. Underneath all of that is the computer code telling the computer to display the email message on the screen, to send off the email, to end off the email program, etc.


Comments (on blogs)


Two simple definitions of a “comment” are:

1) an opinion that you express about someone or something

2) a discussion of something someone has said or done

One of the reasons blogs became popular was to create a sense of community on the Internet. Well, the “Comments” feature is a major tool in bringing about this community. When you read someone’s blog, you can actually give your opinion or start a discussion about what you just read! A discussion may have already been started by other visitors and you can join in by leaving your own comment there.

Not every blog offers this commenting feature, but the vast majority of them do. When they are available, you’ll find them at the bottom of each post.


Domain Name


A domain name indicates a location on the Internet. Here is the complete web address for this online glossary:

The domain name portion of that long address is: “”

When you see an email address such as, the domain name is “”

When you want to start your own web site and you want to “have your own name,” you are referring to having your own “domain name.”


Feed (see RSS Feed)



Files — types of


There are many types of files. There are document files, picture files, sound files and video files. And there are other files that do interesting things.

At the end of a file’s name is a period and then three letters. These three letters identify the type of file. For instance, a document file would look like this:


Here is an explanation of some of the most frequently used file types:

Document Files:


.doc = this is a word processing document file. Microsoft Word and other word processors use this designation.

.pdf = stands for “Portable Document Format” and has its own definition in the glossary.

.rtf = stands for “Rich Text Format.” This is kind of in between a .txt and a .doc file. It has some of the formatting capabilities of a .doc file, but not all of them. It’s not “plain text,” it’s “rich text.”

.txt = this is a text file. It is similar to a word processing file but it does not have the formatting that a word processing file has. It is a “plain text” file.

.xls = this is a spreadsheet file. A spreadsheet lets you work with numbers in many different ways. The “xls” stands for Excel spreadsheet.


Audio Files:


.mp3 = this is a sound file that is compressed (made smaller) so that it will take up less space on the computer. The sound quality of an mp3 file is somewhat compromised from the original sound file, but it still sounds pretty darn good to most people.

.wav = this is a common audio file used on PC computers.


Picture Files:


.gif = this is a picture file that has been compressed to make a smaller file. People pronounce this file “jif.” This file type is used often for graphics and illustrations.

.jpg = this is a picture file that has also been compressed to make a smaller file. People pronounce this file “jay peg.” This file type is used often for photos that are used on the web.

.png = this is a picture file that has been compressed. People pronounce this file “ping.” It is a newer format considered a replacement for the .gif format, used for graphics and illustrations.

.tif = this is a picture file that uses very little compression and therefore the file sizes can be quite large. People pronounce this file “tiff.”


Video Files:


.avi = this is a video file format used by the Windows operating system on PC computers. Files tend to be fairly large.

.mov = this is a movie file type that was created by Apple Computer. Apple has a software program that is on almost every computer these days, called “Quick Time.” This file type is a Quick Time file. Many of the movie trailers that exist on the web are in this format.

.mpg = this comes from “mpeg” which stands for “Motion Pictures Expert Group.” They got together and agreed on various formats. The “.mpg” as a video file format is one of them.


Other File Types:


.dmg = this stands for “disk image” file. This type of file can appear on your desktop just like a hard drive or a CD drive. You can double-click on this and it will open its contents to you.

.exe = this is file used only by PCs (as oppposed to Macintosh computers). It is file that “executes” a program of some kind.

.faq = this is a text file of “frequently asked questions.”

.zip = this indicates that a file (or files) have been compressed (or “zipped” together) and a program is needed to “unzip” them.




Google helps us find things. Most of us know we can put a word or phrase into the Google search box and we’ll be returned web pages to check out. There are many other things Google can do for you. It can find images and videos; it can provide maps and directions and define words; it can search through blogs specifically or the entire web.

There are entire books written that tell us all the things Google can do! I recommend Google, The Missing Manual. This book is filled with a multitude of ways Google can bring information to you.




HTML is essentially what is used to create the web pages we see and help us move around from place to place.

HTML stands for “Hyper Text Mark-up Language.” Here it is broken down:

Hyper Text is essentially a link that you click which performs some action or takes you somewhere else. That ‘somewhere else’ might be another page inside the web site or it could be an entirely different web site.

Mark-up is taking ordinary text and adding some information to it so that it will show up on a web page in a particular form. As an example: when you see words in bold or words in italics, the words are being “marked up” so that they’ll show up on the web page in bold or italics. I’m not sure why the expression “marked up” was coined, but hey, I wasn’t in the room at the time.

Language is just that. The words, phrases and expressions used to convey meaning.

So, HTML is all of the things that are done to ordinary information (text, images, etc.) to make it show up on a web page in various forms. If you’ve got a simpler definition for this one, please offer it up.




HTTP stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol” and you see it at the beginning of things like:

Let’s break it down a bit:

Hyper Text is essentially the link that takes you somewhere else. That somewhere else might be another page inside the web site or it could be an entirely different web site. I’m not sure why this was called “hyper” text as that term certainly gives off a different connotation, but that’s what we got.

Transfer – well, that speaks for itself and my hat is off to the guy in the room who allowed a plain English term to get into this term.

Protocol – this is an agreed upon means of exchanging information. We have certain protocols, say, when meeting the Queen of England. Well, computers speaking with each other need to have agreed upon means of behaving.

Okay, that wasn’t too bad after all. HTTP = Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. When you see HTTP (or http), it’s pretty much telling you a link to another location on the Internet can be accomplished.


Instant Messaging


Instant Messaging is a means of chatting back and forth in present time (with very little delay). You type something and press the “return key” and the other person sees that information pop up on his screen right away. He types something back and you also see his response right away.

There are many Instant Messaging applications out there: AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Instant Messenger and Skype are a few examples. Most of these applications now also let you talk or even have a video chat with each other. It’s a way of staying in touch that MANY people use.

Many abbreviations sprang up as Instant Messaging became popular. A few examples:

LOL = laughing out loud

ROFLOL = rolling on (the) floor laughing out loud

BTW = by the way

CUL = see you later

BFN = bye for now

If you’d like to see another 1,300+ abbreviations, click here.




A link is simply a method of moving from one page on a web site or blog to another page. This other page could be inside the web site or blog you are visiting, or it could be a page that is on another web site or blog.

Traditionally links were presented in blue and underlined. People are now using different ways to create links, so you will not always see them in blue and you will not always see them underlined.

If you click on this link, it will take you to the home page of this blog.




This stands for “net” and “etiqutte.” Etiquette is defined as “a set of rules for behavior in a particular social situation.” There are certain rules of social behavior on the net. These rules are not particularly complicated and for the most part are based on manners and common sense.


Organic Search Results Versus Paid Search Results


When you go to Google and search for “sneakers” you will see two types of results returned to you: “organic” results and “paid” results.

The paid results will be on the right side of the page and it will usually say at the top “Sponsored Links.” This simply means someone is paying Google to have these links show up when you (and others) search for the term “sneakers.” [if needed, see "link" above]

Sometimes the top two or three results on the left side of the page will also be sponsored links. This is not always obvious to people, but these results usually have a shaded background, and if you look closely enough, it should also mention they are “sponsored links.”

So what are organic search results? The definition of “organic” that applies here is: “happening in a natural way without anyone planning or forcing it to happen.”

Therefore, the organic search results are the results that come up without someone paying for them to come up. These results are on the left side of the search page. As mentioned earlier, there may be a few sponsored items at the top of the page, but you should be able to see when the “organic” (not paid) search results begin.

Is there an important difference between these two types of search results? If you don’t mind someone paying to direct you to a site, then clicking on the sponsored links shouldn’t matter to you. If you only want to find sites where there is no “paid effort” to direct you, then click only on the organic results.




PDF stands for “Portable Document Format.” It’s a way of formating a document so that any computer (Macintosh, PC, etc.) can view it. The company Adobe created this format and they also created a free software program that almost every computer has these days.

When someone says, “Ill send you a PDF,” if your computer is not more than a couple of years old, you should be able to respond, “Go ahead!” And when the PDF gets to your computer, you should be able to double-click on it (clicking twice without delay) and it will open.




A Permalink is simply the exact address on the Internet for a particular piece of information. In the case of blogs, every post has a permalink. Most bloggers make these available and you’ll see them at the bottom of the post. You could click on this Permalink and in the address box at the top of your window, you’ll see a somewhat longer “web address” show up.

The function of a Permalink is simply to have an exact “web address” for every post that exists on a blog. Having this exact address allows one to save this location if they wish to look at it again later.

Photo Sharing


This is a part of the web that is, well, just incredibly intriguing. People love to take pictures. People love to be photographed. Okay, so far so good. Well, then we have various “photo sharing sites.” Two popular sites are:


Photos and images can also be shared in other ways. People can come and look at your pictures and leave comments about them.




A software application that can be added to your web browser to give it additional capability.




Most people believe the word podcast came from “iPod” and “broadcast.” The iPod lets you listen to music and recorded lectures, books that are “spoken,” etc.

Podcasting is essentially creating audio files that can then be played (broadcast) later on an iPod or similar device. You can also listen to a podcast on your computer.

Podcasts are actually fairly easy to create.



When the author of a blog adds new information to a blog, it is called “a post” — he is posting something new. It comes from one meaning of post, which is “to place information on a wall or notice board.” When the author of a blog is posting new information, he is putting something up for the entire world to see!


RSS (Feed)


Different people have different ways of defining RSS. I like the simplest definition: Really Simple Syndication.

Let’s look at the word syndication. When someone’s written works or photographs, etc. are syndicated, it means they are sent out to more than one newspaper or magazine at the same time. Syndication in the news industry occurs when a story is filed with a “syndication service” and this service gets the story out to hundreds, possibly thousands of newspapers.

You will also see the two words together: “RSS feed.” There are some very technical meanings for “feed,” and I was prepared to take a long nap after trying to decipher most of them. In the spirit of keeping things simple, the “feed” is the information (or a portion of it) along with some technical data that all together allows the information to go from Point A to many Point Bs.

I realize you techies out there may be deeply disappointed with this definition, but then you already knew what this meant, didn’t you?

Search Engine


The definition of “engine” that applies here is “that which is used to achieve a purpose.” In this case, the purpose is to search the Internet. Simply, a “search engine” is that device used to help us find things on the net. There are several search engines. The three most popular ones are:


Google is used about 65-70% of the time for searches.




Most blogs have a column on the left or the right side and some have columns on both sides. These columns are known as sidebars. Now that was a short definition!


Social Bookmarking


If you look over the definition of “bookmarking” earlier in this glossary, you’ll see that it is simply saving web pages so that you can look at them again. Social bookmarking is a fascinating way of bookmarking web pages and sharing this with others. Social bookmarking is also a way of getting yourself and your web site(s) known to others.

Social Networking


Networking, as you know, is about meeting people and sharing information with the purpose of being able to help each other in some way, either personally or professionally.

Social networking is no different, with web sites popping up all over the net to help people accomplish this with much greater efficiency.




Tags are very interesting. When you want to identify information in a way that will help you later on, you apply a “tag” to that information. For instance, if you have many photos on your computer, there may be a feature that allows you to apply tags to each photo. If you do so, then you’ll be able to search for “family photos” or “work photos” and you’ll be shown all of those that had that tag.

On the web, we like to keep track of certain web sites (see “bookmarking” and “social bookmarking”) and when we do so, often we are given the option of adding a tag (or tags) to the page we want to save. Once again, this helps you locate information later on. With social bookmarking it also allows other people who may be interested in the same subject to find your “tagged items.”

My mom used to sew ‘name tags’ on my shirts and pants, etc. when I went to camp. In that way, people would be able to identify the shirts as belonging to me. Not sure why now, but that was always a bit embarrassing for me.




A trackback is a tool that allows a blog from somewhere else on the Internet to link to your blog. And vice-versa, it allows you and your blog to link to other blogs around the Internet.

Example: I could be reading an article from another blog and decide I would like to mention it on my blog. After mentioning it on my blog, I create a “trackback” which will then show up ON THE OTHER PERSON’S blog which lets the readers there know that the article they just read is being further discussed on my blog!




Twitter is relatively new to the net, but is gaining rapidly in popularity. I would describe it as a way of REALLY STAYING IN TOUCH with people. Twitter uses the web and instant messaging and your mobile phone to accomplish this.




URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. The term is a bit on the geeky side, but here goes:

Uniform means “always the same” as in: “the basketballs are always of a uniform size.”

Resource is something we are turning to for help in some way, in this case: information.

Locator is, well, you get that, right? It helps us find something.

URL essentially means the exact address of a location on the Internet. Every web site and all of the different pages inside of web sites all have an exact location. The URL IS that location. When you type that into your browser (at the very top in the middle) it will take you to that page.

How do you pronounce URL? Hmm. I’d like to say it rhymes with Earl, but most times I just hear it spelled out: U R L.




Wiki is short for Wikipedia. A Wiki is a web site that allows people to work together to build the content there. Some wikis are put together as a resource of information for a particular subject. But the broadest use of a wiki is Wikipedia which is an enormous collection of information, sort of a dictionary and encyclopedia put together.

There is a growing concern about Wikipedia and wikis in general, however. Most of the wikis have minimal requirements for people to enter AND edit information. This means that information may or may not be accurate.