Web Technology that we use

Glossary of Terms

The Web Elements Glossary can help you understand the different ways to set up your website. It can be a guide for choosing the method that works best for your business.

Website Types


Of all the websites online, there are dozens of categories of sites. But there are only a few types. The website type is the starting point, it must be the first choice, because all development that comes after is built upon that.


Typically, a website that has no CMS (content management system). Pages would need to be updated by either the developer, or the site owner would need HTML knowledge.


A site that uses a CMS (content management system) or an eCommerce system. This allows site owners to update their own site (and products) through an admin page.


A site that uses a shopping cart to sell products or services. Shopping carts also have a CMS, but a simple version. Site owners are able to work with their products and change / update some content.


There are many ways to put together an eServices site. The most common way is to use a normal shopping cart that allows digital product sales and downloads through extensions. Sometimes it can be a normal site modified for user input if just a few services are being sold.

CMS (Content Management Systems) & Custom Templates


CMS sites are now the norm for business... and many personal sites as well. There are literally dozens to choose from, but the most common are listed as follows. CMS's differ in a number of ways, so it is best to consider the following before settling on a choice.

  • Expected size of your business
  • Expected website traffic for your business
  • Requested design options & customization
  • Your own technical understanding and know-how

I used to develop in these other CMS: Joomla, Drupal, MURA, and for eCommerce, Magento. I no longer pursue these systems due to a lack of interest from my clients.


PHP/MySQL CMS suitable for agencies and small to medium busineses. Originally created for blogs, it has long been expanded for building complete websites. Wordpress has the largest set of free extensions and modules. It needs to be optimized and configured for security properly, otherwise it can get oversaturated with spam and bloated functionality.

Custom Templates

CMS's & Premium Templates attempt to put everything you need or might need into one system.

eCommerce / eServices


eCommerce sites typically have an online shopping cart. Most times, instead of a CMS, the shopping cart itself takes control of the site. Shopping carts include administration, which allows site owners to add products, descriptions, images, discounts... everything needed to present a product for sale, whether a physical product to be shipped, or a digital product to be downloaded or subscribed to.


Lightweight PHP/MySQL eCommerce system suitable for small to medium sized businesses. Much of the load is shared by the server and the users computer (Javascript/AJAX), which makes this system fast and stable and easy to work with.


WooCommerce is a Wordpress based shopping cart. It is installed as an extension and is recommended by the majority above other Wordpress eCommerce solutions.

Cloud Based Subscription Applications

These are quick setup eCommerce solutions like Shopify, OS Commerce, Big Commerce, Volusion, etc... The bonus is that they are very easy to set up and run. The downside is that it comes at a premium cost. At first setup, the cost doesn't seem overwhelming, but these solutions are designed to "need" extensions to function professionally and each of these extensions add to the subscription price. After creating and customizing a few of these, I found that you need a solid advertising campaign in place to make any real money from one of these solutions.

Themes & Templates


Themes come in many layout variations, but there are limited types of themes (just like site types). The theme type is the blueprint for the look and feel of your entire site.


This theme comes in two flavors.

  • A stripped down, bare bones version where only layout elements and limited features are in place.
  • A bare bones theme with an extensive feature set. It already has all the elements available, so you copy/paste the element to the page you want, and just add the content.

Bootstrap & Variations

Bootstrap is the starting point for many modern sites that use extensive customization. It is easy on performance, has responsive layout built in and can easily be modified.


There are two types of responsive themes. Stepped & Fluid. Stepped uses strict sizing that steps elements, text sizes & images down when screen sizes reach transition points. Fluid is based on percentages and shrinks or expands smoothly as screen size changes. The controllers are usually CSS stylesheets or JavaScript. I personally prefer fluid responsiveness, but both methods are typically used in a theme because there are times when fluid changes just do not work with certain elements & positions. Virtually all modern themes are responsive, so whether you are looking at it on large desktop screens or your mobile device, the site will remain clean and professional looking.


A website that scrolls (and is also responsive). Clicking on a link will scroll the site down to the requested page. Most Parallax sites also have sections that aren't scrolling, for more complex layouts if necessary.

Presentation Elements


Presentation Elements are used as primary sections of the site. They are designed to capture the customer and generate enough interest to keep them browsing through your site. They are strategically placed in various pages and areas to "freshen up" information pages and keep a customers attention.


Slideshows can be used anywhere, but they are frequently used right at the top of the homepage. They usually are in the form of attractive banners that display your most prominent products & services.

Client Carousel

You can quickly impress your potential customers by displaying logos of the different companies you have worked with.

Testimonials & Reviews

Client testimonials have become an important part of a business website. They can be displayed in a few different formats. Rotating (in a Carousel form), In a grid format, or list format.

Category / Service Organizer

This can be important if your company has a wide range of categories or services. It allows customers to browse all your categories in one place, using a Tab/Detail Area format. However, for best SEO results it should be noted that a separate page for each service should also be created.

Social Media

Social Media is going through a volatile stage right now. Questions are arising on how much of your information is safe. Exploratory investigations are taking place in regards to what information is being sold to advertising. However, it is important to have a Social Media presense. The fact remains that Social Media is the most active part of the web, and the more activity online that your business enjoys, the better your SEO results.



Utilities are similar to presentation elements (widgets), but handle more comprehensive tasks. They typically cover page sections or complete pages. Utilities may lean more towards functionality than appearance.


Having a map on your site is beneficial. It will synchronize to the map that comes up under a Google search with businesses listed under it. If your business is all online, then a map of your service areas will work just as well.

Maps can be simple or complex. You can have either a simple Google embed or a custom API with Layers that show other features or change the appearance.

Blog / News

Blog, news, articles, Tips & Tricks, Newsfeed. They are named differently but are usually set up the same way. They are typically set up as a parent page that lists all the articles and an overview of them, and then link to a single article page. An option can be to set up a feed (RSS), so that articles can be displayed as widgets on other portions of the site.

RSS Feed

An RSS Feed can help boost any website content because it allows you or others to put the feed on their site, or other locations on your site. If you're writing regular blog or news articles, it is especially important to have them available for others.

Calendar / Events

Great if you hold seminars, if you're an entertainment venue, or if you're a manager that coordinates other events, like festivals, etc.... Event or Calendar utilities can be on the Cloud (like Google Calendars) or set up individually just for your website.

Image Gallery

There are multiple options to set up a gallery. You can API to a site where your gallery is located (like Flickr or Shutterfly), or you can install/configure an independent script. Each has its own advantages. A gallery is most important if you want to showcase your company and products.

Custom Forms

Simple Contact Forms are pretty standard, but custom forms can really help boost your interactivity with your customers. Forms can be set up for multiple things like Quotes, Payment processing (subscriptions), Newsletters or Call to Action pop-ups.


FAQ's have become very useful lately as eCommerce popularity increases. They can make it much easier for customers to understand the operations and policies of your website quickly, without having to ask the owner directly. It is a big time saver for both parties.

Social Media (integrated)

Many sites have Social Media links to their pages. But did you know that you can go much farther? Integrated Social Media can allow customers to post and share your information and articles directly, without leaving your website. Integrated Social Media widgets are also a good way to begin setting up your online business network. This provides for much better visibility.