Web Development Terms and Definitions Every Marketer Should Know

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As websites become more integral to having a strong digital presence, more marketers are working alongside developers to create spaces for meaningful online interactions to occur. The two work hand-in-hand to tackle different aspects of website creation — developers typically create the online environment and functionality of the site, while marketers focus more on creating engaging content.

Developers translate designs and ideas for the website from their team into coding languages that can be understood and interpreted by computers and web browsers. It’s their responsibility to build a user-friendly interface that is functional, intuitive, and responsive.

Marketers create the content that will live on the site — like copy, graphics, and images — and use online tools to analyze the site’s performance and execute marketing campaigns. Their content creation process is informed by market research and analysis of their target audience’s desires and online behavior, which they can use to provide input on the website’s layout, navigation, and user experience.

When marketers and developers work together, they can create a powerful online presence that can capture users’ attention, generate leads, and swiftly respond to changes in the market. However, their respective specialties can pose challenges during collaboration if the two don’t understand each other.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of web development terms and definitions every marketer should know if they want to collaborate effectively with developers on their team to supercharge their digital marketing efforts.

Common Coding Languages


HTML is the standard markup language for Web pages. It stands for “hypertext markup language.” HTML is used to write the “elements” on the page: the divs, the headers, the paragraphs, and even the images.


CSS is the language used to style an HTML document and describes how HTML elements should be displayed. It stands for cascading style sheets. CSS is used to identify specific “classes” and “IDs” on the page and assign certain colors, sizes, and motions to elements on the page.


PHP is a server scripting language, and a powerful tool for making dynamic and interactive Web pages. PHP stands for “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.” PHP is a “server-side” scripting language, meaning it pulls data into the website server from a user’s browser, uses the data to execute coded instructions on the server, and transmits HTML back to the user’s browser. PHP is a powerful language and powers WordPress sites’ functionality.


JavaScript is a foundational scripting or programming language that allows you to implement complex features on web pages. First developed in 1995, JavaScript is now used as a client-side programming language by 98.4% of all websites and can be used on both the front-end and the back-end to make websites interactive and functional. If HTML is a website’s skeleton, JavaScript is the muscle that allows it to move and do things.


Python is “an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics.” Python is considered a “general-purpose” programming language, meaning it serves many functions within data science, software and web development, and automation. Python is an immensely popular programming language thanks to its vast array of applications and its relative beginner-friendliness.

Common Tools for Web Development


CMS stands for “content management system.” Common CMSs used today include WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix, though many companies develop and use their own in-house CMS. These systems include a back end — which handles data and logic — and a front end dealing with site content. CMSs allow developers to build a framework within which users can upload and edit website content without coding knowledge.


WYSIWYG stands for “What You See Is What You Get” and is pronounced “wizzy-wig.” This back-end user interface allows members of the marketing team with less coding knowledge to add and edit content on the site without developers’ help. When you “create a new blog post” while signed into WordPress, you are using the WYSIWYG editor. This editor generally does not require you to write code beyond simple HTML and CSS.

Front-End Development

Front-End Development is the creation and maintenance of a website’s user interface. The “front end” refers to the pages, elements, and design of a website. The front end receives data from the back end and transforms it into user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing objects within an interface. Front-end development is largely focused on how a website looks.

Back-End Development

Back-End Development uses back-end programming languages to fulfill those requests on the server side. The back end usually comprises the database and the logic that communicates data between the front end and the database. The back end is more concerned with what a website does.


API stands for “application programming interface.” APIs allow two separate programs or systems to communicate with one another, often through the internet. APIs allow websites and applications to integrate with other applications by establishing a standard format for the two to connect. For example, food delivery applications can send and receive data to and from mapping software to communicate locations with their users.


Git is a free and popular version control system for software development. “Version control” is the process by which code is stored, retrieved, changed, and stored again. When many developers work on one code repository, version control is crucial in integrating and deploying new features without breaking the entire application.


Plugins are add-ons for a website or application that expands its functionality. Plugins are typically created by developers and made available to other developers to enhance their projects, sometimes for a fee. These plugins do not significantly change the code of whatever website or application they are added to. They are considered a separate program.


Crawlers are automated programs that continuously search, visit, and index websites and their contents. Crawlers are a vital part of SEO, as they help search engines understand and analyze content on your website to determine where and how your site should rank on search engine results pages. Crawlers use varying methods and algorithms to analyze websites, and can even be instructed in code to ignore certain content while “scraping” a site.


Sitemaps are pages containing information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, and the relationships between them. Sitemaps are useful for collaboration and communication while planning a new website, but they are also useful in communicating the contents of a website to web browsers, search engines, and crawlers.


SSL stands for “secure sockets layer” and is a vital security feature for any website, but especially those that send and receive users’ personal information like financial data. SSL encryption establishes a secure connection between a user’s browser and a website’s database that cannot be intercepted by hackers. A website without an SSL certificate will often display a warning message in a user’s window upon visiting the site.

Responsive Design

Responsive Design is a webpage’s ability to “respond” to the type and size of the screen on which it is displayed. Generally, this refers to the website’s appearance on a computer screen, smartphone, or tablet. Because the dimensions of all of these devices’ screens vary, designs must take into account all the possible sizes and aspect ratios of contemporary screens. Web designers and developers are increasingly implementing “mobile-first” designs, meaning they are intended to look and function well on a mobile phone first, and then adjusted to also display beautifully on horizontal computer screens.


UX & UI stands for “user experience,” meaning the entire experience a user has with a business, its website, and its services and products. UI, or “user interface,” refers to the front end of the website with which users interact, but doesn’t include other aspects of the customer experience. User experience research — typically performed by marketers — can inform the ideal user interface on the website.

ADA Compliance

ADA Compliance is short for the “Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design” compliance. The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law to ensure that all people at all levels of ability have the same access to opportunities. In 2010, the United States government issued design standards to assist those with disabilities in using computers and smartphones. These guidelines include things like font size, levels of contrast, and compatibility with page-readers and other assistive technologies.


Hosting is the process of storing your website’s contents on servers, and thereby on the internet. Any computer can create a website, but it must be attached to a domain address and server to be accessible to users on the internet. Web hosting services maintain stable and secure servers and rent out server space to ensure your website never goes down.

434 Marketing Works with Both Code and Content

The 434 Marketing team includes experts in code, content creation, design, market analysis, and business development. We understand how interconnected all of these roles are within a successful marketing campaign or business, so we built our business with all of these roles in house.

Are you a content marketer hoping to learn more about the business? Or a sales director expanding your business’ presence online? Or maybe you’re facing the daunting task of building or overhauling your business’ website on your own?

We would love to share more of our insights — gained by our team throughout decades of education and experience — with anyone who wants to better understand the ever-changing world of online marketing. 

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