insights | 17.03.2021

The Xigen Jargon Buster

As a full-service eCommerce and digital agency there’s a lot of technical and specialist language used within our teams and departments. And while those in the know are of course comfortable using their own lingo, it can be a bit daunting for those unfamiliar with backend-speak or graphic design vernacular.

To help become more familiar with a range of specialised words and terms we have created this glossary as a reference and educational resource. It’s aimed at those already acquainted with some aspects of eCommerce design, development and digital marketing, and for those who are new to it who want to learn more.

A/B testing

A/B testing is the process of comparing two different versions of a webpage element, as part of a controlled experiment, to determine which one produces the most conversions (not to be confused with multivariate testing).

ALT tag

ALT means alternative descriptive text. It’s the text that’s added to an image as a tag. ALT text plays an important role in search engine optimisation (SEO).


API is an acronym application program interface. APIs are the conduits that enable two applications to talk to each other.


Any part of a website or application that users do not see, such as coding, servers, databases, plugins, etc.


This is the amount of data that can be transmitted over a connection in a given time.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the number of users that leave a webpage without interacting with it. Bounce rate is expressed as a percentage of all users to a page for a given time.


Cache is the temporary storage of information on a computer or device from the first time a website is visited, so that when the website is visited again it will load faster.


CTR is short for click-through-rate. It’s the number of times users click on a link or button in a webpage, advert or email, expressed as a percentage of the total number users who view a page or advert, or the total number of recipients in an EDM mailout.


Cookies are data stored by a browser about users and their browsing behaviour to recognise them and track their preferences.


CPC, or cost-per-click, is the amount of money required to produce a single click on an ad.


CTA stands for call-to-action. CTAs can be text, an image, banner or button that uses action-oriented language to persuade users to click on them.


CDN is an acronym for content delivery network. A CDN is a geographically distributed group of servers which work together to provide faster content delivery.


A crawler, or spider, is a program that analyses online content for search engines to index so that users can more easily find the information that they want.


CSS is short for cascading style sheets. CSS is code that tells a browser how to display webpages, what colours, fonts, layout elements etc. to use.


CMS stands for content management system. This is a platform, such as WordPress, that is used to edit the content on a website.


When a user takes a desired action on a webpage they have ‘converted’. For example, this can include clicking a link or CTA (micro conversion) or downloading content or completing a purchase (macro conversion).


CRO is short for conversion rate optimisation. This is the practice of making it easier for users to take a desired action on a website, by improving UX for better engagement.

Dynamic Website

A dynamic website or webpage changes depending on the user’s location, the time of the day, the time zone, the user’s language, and a range of other factors. The opposite of dynamic is static.


EDM means electronic direct marketing. EDM is used to target specific customers segments with relevant interactive emails. The goal of EDM is to build positive customer relationships, generate leads, increase sales and customer retention.


The front-end of a website is the part that users see and interact with. A front-end developer assembles page elements and content to create engaging UX.


Hosting is the management and maintenance of website servers.


Also known as hypertext markup language, HTML is the code used to build and structure website pages and content.


JavaScript is a programming language that is commonly used to create user interactive elements of a website, such as show and hide, colour changes, animations etc.

M1 & M2

M stands for Magento. Magento 1 and Magento 2 are versions of the Magento eCommerce platform. M1 has been superseded by M2 and is no longer supported by Magento, although it’s still being used.

Meta Tag

A meta tag is HTML data that’s important for SEO ranking. Meta tags store information about a web page which search engines use to analyse websites for display information in SERPs.


MVT, or multivariate testing, is the process of combining and testing multiple variables on a website as part of a controlled experiment, to determine which combination produces the most conversions.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to the processes used outside of a website to help improve SERP ranking, such as link building, forum activity, influencer outreach and content marketing. It’s any activity for improving SEO that is not done on a website.

Open Source

Open source software (OSS) is source code that is designed to be publicly accessible—anyone can use, modify and distribute OSS for any purpose.


PHP is the acronym for hypertext preprocessor. PHP is a backend scripting language used to develop websites and connect to databases.


PLP is short for product list page. It’s a website page that presents a list of products based on a category or search query.


Plug-ins are add-ons to a CMS that give additional features and extend functionality for websites.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is creating or modifying website content and optimising HTML code for higher SERP ranking. It includes using keywords, authentic content, optimising UX and crawler tagging, etc.


PPC is short for pay-per-click. PPC is where an advertiser pays for ads only when users click on them. PPC ads appear at the top of SERPs and in remarketing.


A sample of design work that is sent to a client to be checked or for approval.


PWA stands for progressive web app. PWAs are a cross between online browsers and native mobile apps. PWAs offer mobile consumers the benefits of native apps without having to download anything to their device.


Remarketing is the practice of targeting ads to users who have previously interacted with a website. It enables advertisers to strategically position ads in front of users for products that they have previously clicked on but not purchased.

Responsive Design

Responsive websites automatically respond to the screen sizes of the devices that they’re displayed on (mobile/tablet or desk/laptop).


SaaS means software as a service. SaaS websites are cloud-based and are managed by a development partner, making it easier—with lower upfront costs—for businesses and organisations to acquire and run an eCommerce website.


SERP stands for search engine results pages. SERPs display the results from user search queries ranked in order of relevance to the search terms, often with PPC ads at the top of the page.


A sitemap is a hierarchical list showing all pages that make up a website.


SSL stands for secure sockets layer. SSL is a standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links, ensuring that data transmitted between user and server is secure.


The name given to a family of fonts. For example, the typeface Times contains the fonts Times Bold and Times Italic.


The design of text in a layout.


UX, or user experience, is the experience users have while browsing a website. UX can be good or bad, depending on how user-friendly (or not) a website or page element is.


UI stands for user interface and includes any webpage element that users interact with (click on or hover over etc.), such as menus, buttons, carousels, scroll bars, the list goes on.


Wireframes are used during the website design process for prototyping, to quickly assess how the design looks, feels and functions from a user perspective early in the design stage.

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