The Entrepreneur’s Dictionary of Terms
Have you heard a term or a phrase mentioned on a podcast or during a conference and wondered what it meant?
The purpose of this page is to keep a running list of popular terms you might come across while on your journey of entrepreneurship and online business.
Want to listen? There's an audio version below
While at lunch the other day, one of my podcast listeners mentioned that she'd heard a few terms but didn't know what they meant. And, she hadn't asked anyone what they meant because she didn't want to feel stupid. Not knowing what a word means shouldn't stop anyone from starting their business. Let's remove that barrier.
The Entrepreneur's Dictionary
ActiveCampaign – Powerful email marketing software/service I use to track my subscribers and send them broadcast campaigns and autoresponder emails. After testing several services, ActivecCampaign is who I use and recommend. Click here to get a free trial.
Affiliate – An association or agreement between two people, or between a person and an organization. Having an affiliate relationship generally implies an endorsement, though not necessarily. Affiliate commissions are like referral fees – if you promote a product, and someone clicks your link to buy it, you will earn a portion of the sale price
Affiliate Link – A link provided by a company to its affiliate partners that enables both parties to track clicks. If an affiliate link is clicked and a purchase is made, a commission is paid out. Affiliate links are usually tracked via UTM parameters or query strings.
Alt Tags – Descriptive keywords used to describe images on a blog post or page. Alt tags are meant to tell search engines what the picture is about. Used along with other SEO techniques like optimizing slugs, alt tags are an effective way to get traffic from search engines. (See also SEO, Slugs) I'll teach you how to add alt tags and optimize content for SEO in 8 Weeks to Exit.
Analytics – A general term used to describe statistics about your website. (See also Google Analytics)
API – Stands for the application programming interface (I had to look it up). An API connection allows two applications to talk directly to one another without the need for a username and password. For example, API connections can connect your landing pages to your email marketing software.
Automation – A term used by ActiveCampaign that allows a subscriber to go through a series of pre-determined actions. For example, an automation can begin when a person opens an email, or clicks a link, or visits a certain page on a website. Automations can also be date or event based. I often use automations as my autoresponder sequence.
Autoresponder – Refers to a series of emails that are scheduled to be sent after a specific action is taken, most commonly, when someone subscribes to a list. In other words, after someone subscribes, an autoresponder series will send a welcome email, wait a few days and send another email, wait a few days… and so it goes.
AWeber – An email marketing service that allows you to collect and organize the email addresses of your visitors. I include them here not because I recommend them, but because it's a term and a company you'll likely stumble across as you learn more about email marketing. (See also ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, Email Marketing Service)
Back End – Refers to behind the scenes areas of a website. For example, your WordPress Dashboard is the backend of your website. (See also Front End)
Blog Pages – Can contain text, images, videos and other media. Pages are similar to Blog Posts but are meant for static information within a website. Pages cannot be sorted by categories or tags, but they can be “nested” in a hierarchy. Pages are generally reserved for “timeless” information that does not often change. (See also Blog – Posts)
Blog Posts – Can include words, images, videos, audio files and other forms of media. Posts can be sorted by both categories and tags. Posts are meant to be living documents published on a regular basis. Posts look similar to Pages but serve different functions within your site as they cannot be organized by a hierarchy. (See also Blog – Pages)
Bounce Rate – The percentage of visitors who enter the site and leave, or “bounce,” without looking at a second page on your site. A lower bounce rate often indicates more value and/or interest to the readers. A high bounce rate means visitors look at one page and leave immediately.
Bribe – Refers to the incentive you offer to “bribe” people to sign up for your email list. A visitor provides their email, and you send them a guide, a resource list, a free report, etc. Bribes are a great way to build your email list.
Broadcast – Typically refers to a one-time email sent to members of an email list.
Categories (Blog) – A way to categorize blog posts based on a topic. If you wanted to see all of my posts that are under the “personal development” category, you could click here. My suggestion would be to have 8-10 categories that all blog content could fit into. (See also Tags)
Call to Action (CTA) – A term that refers to the specific action you want a visitor to take on a specific page. An example would be a “Buy Now” or “Click Here” button.
CDN (Content Delivery Network) – A CDN typically makes a website faster by storing popular images and pages on servers around the world. When the data is closer to the person viewing the page, the page loads faster. Additionally, the servers CDNs use are often much faster than the servers a website uses. I use and recommend KeyCDN, and you can click here to get $10 in credits for free!
Click Rate – Sometimes referred to as the “click through rate,” refers to the percentage of people who received an email who clicked a link within that email. For example, if you send ten emails, five get opened, and one person clicks, you have a 10% click rate. The click rate is based on the total number of emails sent, not the number of emails that are opened.
Conversion Rate – Refers to the percentage of people who take the action you want them to take. It could be the number of people who sign up for your webinar or make a purchase from your sales page. For example, if ten people land on your page and one person makes a purchase, you have a 10% conversion rate.
Client Relationship Management (CRM) – Refers to moving prospective clients through the sales funnel. CRM often refers to software that enables and tracks communication with your clients and prospects, tracks them as they progress through your sales cycle, and helps you care for them after the sale or project has been closed. While emails and newsletters are part of maintaining a client relationship, email alone is not CRM.
cPanel – Stands for “control panel,” but also the brand name of a web hosting admin panel. Most web hosting companies use a cPanel to enable users to install WordPress, set up custom email addresses, and alter the backend of your website.
CSS – Cascading Style Sheets, these allow you to change how HTML is displayed on a page. While CSS won't change how your website functions, it can change colors, widths of elements, and other cosmetic details.
Dashboard (WordPress) – The WordPress Dashboard is where you'll publish new blog posts and pages, install new plugins or themes, and make changes to your WordPress website. The Dashboard is how you will interface with your website, and it is the back end that dictates what your visitors see.
Double Optin (Opt-In) – The practice of requiring a second confirmation before confirming a new subscriber. Submitting their email address is the first optin, clicking “confirm” in a confirmation email is the second optin, hence the double. Double optins allow for fewer spam email accounts on your list. (See also optin rate)
Domain – The web address of a website. In the case of my membership site, https://members.ellorywells.com, “ellorywells.com” is the domain and “members” is the subdomain. URL, web address, and domain name are often used interchangeably and, for the most part, mean the same things. (See also Subdomain)
Domain Extension – Refers to the .com, .net, .us, .org, etc, that comes after the main part of a URL.
Domain Registrar – Refers to the company with which you sign up for or register a domain. Example: GoDaddy.
Dropcap – The technical term for the fancy letter at the top of a post, page, or paragraph. Dropcap letters are usually larger than the other letters and often have a different font or style applied to them.
Email List – An email list typically refers to your list of blog or website subscribers. Email lists are owned by the blog owner. Since blog owners own the list, they're able to move the subscribers from one email service provider (ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, etc.) to another. Email lists are important because people on those lists are “warm leads.”
Email Marketing Service (EMS) – Software companies that enable us to send broadcast emails to large numbers of people while still complying with legal guidelines. EMSs also allow you to set up automations and autoresponders, track website visitors and can provide CRM tools as well. I use and recommend ActiveCampaign as my email marketing service.
Email Service Provider (ESP) – See Email Marketing Service.
Embed Code – HTML code that allows you to embed content from one website onto another. Common uses are iframe embed codes to show YouTube videos.
Entrepreneur – I'm sure this is highly subjective, but to me, an entrepreneur is someone who creates then sells a product or service that benefits someone else. An entrepreneur sees a problem, develops a solution, then sells that solution.
Featured Image – The image that shows up when you share the URL of a blog post or page on social media. The featured image also shows up when you look at the blog roll of a WordPress blog.
Footer – The area along the bottom of a website. A footer can cover the entire width of a page or just part of it, and, depending on your WordPress theme, a footer can have one or multiple columns or widget areas.
Front End – Commonly refers to the front end of a website that a visitor would see. As an example, you would write and edit a blog post in the WordPress Dashboard (back end), and when you publish it, the reader sees the front end. (See also Back End)
FTP – File Transfer Protocol. This is like the system of folders and files on your computer, except for your website. Using FTP software like Filezilla, you can access the back end file structure of your website and add or edit files you might not have access to through the WordPress Dashboard.
Functions.php – Refers to a file in your WordPress theme that allows you to change what and how information is displayed on your site. By adding or removing code from the functions.php file, you can add or remove functionality to your website. This and the style.css file are the two most commonly edited files in your WordPress installation (See also Style.css)
Funnel – A series of events, blog posts, emails, or videos that lead prospects down the path to purchase. Like a funnel you'd find in your kitchen, a business' funnel brings people in and directs them to a specific goal like making a purchase, opting into an email list, or enrolling for a program. (See also Sales Funnel)
Google Analytics – A free service provided by Google to help website owners see detailed information about their visitors. It is the most popular analytics tool on the web today. Google Analytics can show you where your traffic comes from, what pages or posts they view on your site, where they are in the world, and so much more.
Google Hangouts – An instant messaging and video chat platform developed by Google. Hangouts can have up to 10 people interacting at once. They can also be broadcast publicly or via a private link to specific people. Google Hangouts are a great way to do small group webinars, conference calls, or meetings.
Header – This could refer to two different things, either the top of a website on the front end, or the header area of your website in the back end where you'd post tracking code from Google Analytics, your email marketing software, or other places.
Heatmap – The visual representation of where people click on a web page. This is often a color-coded image laid over a page showing bright red areas as areas where people clicked and blue areas where people did not click.
Hosting – Refers to your hosting account. (See also Web Host) I'll teach you how to properly set up your hosting account and install WordPress in 8 Weeks to Exit.
Homepage – The main page on a website when there is no URL (or slug) after the domain extension.
HTML – Most websites run on HTML which is a coding language that displays information in a browser. If you use ThriveThemes, you don't have to know much HTML or CSS to create a professional looking website. WordPress sites use HTML.
Iframe – A type of embed code that allows you to display information from one website on another website. For example, if you want to embed a YouTube video on your page, you can copy the iframe code provided by YouTube and paste it into your website.
Infusionsoft – An email marketing service and CRM tool that allows you to collect and organize the email addresses of your visitors. I include it here not because I recommend it, but because it's a term you'll likely stumble across as you learn more about email marketing. (See also ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, Email Marketing Service)
Jetpack – Powerful software created by the makers of WordPress that allows you to turn on and off additional features. Jetpack is a WordPress Plugin. (See also Plugins)
Joint Venture (JV) – A strategic partnership between two people. Also known as a JV partnership, joint ventures are a great way to grow your business and get your products or services in front of a new audience. In most JVs there is money involved or commission payments. Common JVs are co-hosted webinars. Another popular JV is a product launch where the JV partners email their list about the launch product in return for an affiliate commission. (See also Affiliates)
Landing Page – A page with the purpose of capturing a lead or making a sale. Landing pages typically do not have headers, navigation menus, sidebars or footers. Landing pages minimize ways for visitors to leave, so the only course of action is what the page's creator wants the visitor to do. (See also Squeeze Page, Thank You Page and Sales Page)
Lead Magnet – The incentive offered in return for a visitor's name and/or email address. Popular lead magnets are “Top X Tips for…, Get a Free Report On…, Get Instant Access to…” The best Lead Magnets offer a small bit of information that solves a specific problem for a specific group of people that is offered in exchange for an email address “opt-in.”
List – See email list.
MailChimp – An email service provider that allows you to collect and organize the email addresses of your visitors. MailChimp is free for up to 2000 subscribers. (See also ActiveCampaign, Email Marketing Service) Register for a free MailChimp account.
Masterminds – A mastermind is a group of people who are like-minded and goal-focused who come together to share their expertise, provide accountability, and share advice with one another for the betterment of everyone involved. They're designed to leverage the collective brain power of their members to help every member achieve their goals. Masterminds are fantastic ways to get help and support while building your business. Click here for more information about my Catalyst Mastermind program.
Mobile Responsive – Also known as Responsive Design. Mobile responsive refers to a website that auto-adjusts its layout to look good on cell phone screens. Before mobile devices became popular, it was not necessary to have a mobile responsive site. Unresponsive sites are detectable by the viewer's need to pinch and zoom instead of the layout updating to be easily view-able on smaller screens. HINT: You can test a site's responsiveness by changing the size of your browser window on your computer.
Nameserver – The “name” of the server on which your website is stored. You can update your nameservers via your domain registrar's control panel. Common nameserver addresses are “ns1.yourhostnamehere.com” and “ns2.yourhostnamehere.com”. By updating your nameservers, you can change hosting companies without having to change your domain registrar. I'll walk you through the process of updating your nameservers on your domain registrar in 8 Weeks to Exit.
Open Rate – Refers to the percentage of emails that get opened by your subscribers when you send out an email campaign.
Optin (Opt-In) – When a visitor provides their email address to subscribe to a list, receive a gift or “bribe” or gain admittance to a webinar, etc., (See also optin rate)
Optin Rate – Refers to the percentage of people who subscribe or provide their email on a landing page. If ten people land on the page and two subscribe, you have a 20% optin rate.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – An online marketing term that refers to paying money for every click on a link or image. If you pay a site like Facebook, Google, or even another blog for clicks, they'll put your ad where their visitors see it. If you pay $.33 per click, and three visitors click your ad on someone's site, you'll pay $1. Links are tracked with UTM codes and/or query strings.
Permalink – A permalink is the full URL of a website post or page. In WordPress, you can change your permalink structure via Settings > Permalinks. Using a keyword dense slug in your permalink structure is good for SEO.
Pixel (Facebook) – A 1 pixel by 1 pixel image that, when embedded on a website and downloaded by a visitor, allows advertisers to track the browsing activity of a user. The Facebook Pixel is a term that refers to the embed code that's provided by Facebook that you add to your posts or pages. When you “pixel someone,” you're essentially saying that someone visited your site, they downloaded the Facebook Pixel when they loaded your page, and, as a result, were tagged for re-targeting. (See also Retargeting)
Plugins – Additional pieces of software that added features to WordPress. For example, I use plugins from ThriveThemes to create optin boxes, I use the PowerPress plugin to manage my podcast's RSS feed, and I use the SEO by Yoast plugin to monitor and enhance my SEO.
Pop-Ups – The small window that pops up whenever you visit a website. While many readers hate popups, they work well to capture emails and leads.
Pretty Link – Coming Soon
Profit Maximizer – Coming Soon
Query String – A string or list of variables added to the end of a URL that tell someone information about the visitor, the site they came from, and/or other information about the person. More information (See also UTM Codes)
Retargeting – A term that refers to targeting someone, usually with ads, after they've left your site. For example, if after visiting a website you see an advertisement for that website in your Facebook news feed, you've been “pixeled” and retargeted.
Sales Funnel – A series of posts, pages or emails that draws in a prospective client and leads them to a buying decision or other CTA. For example, you might read a blog post with a button that links to a page to get more information. On that page, you're asked to optin to receive a “bribe.” In that bribe, you're asked to purchase a product. After you purchase, you're asked if you want to upgrade to a more premium product or service. That is a common and profitable sales funnel. I'll teach you how to create sales funnels in 8 Weeks to Exit.
Sales Page – A page with the purpose of making a sale. Sales pages typically do not have headers, navigation menus, sidebars or footers. Sales pages minimize ways for visitors to leave, so the only course of action is what the page's creator wants the visitor to do, which is to make a purchase. Many landing page software providers provided templates for the sales pages, thank you pages, and then the download pages – each page is also a part of the overall sales funnel. (See also Landing Page, Thank You Page, and Squeeze Page)
Self-Hosted – Refers to you hosting your site with a web host yourself instead of using a free service like WordPress.com. In a self-hosted situation, you own the domain (URL) and you pay separately for hosting. This term is commonly used in relation to a self-hosted WordPress site versus running your site on WordPress.com. If you choose a WordPress-hosted site, your URL would look like this – yoursite.wordpress.com. With a self-hosted site, your URL would look like this – www.yoursite.com. (See also URL, Web Host, WordPress)
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Refers to making your website search engine friendly. You can optimize your posts and pages for SEO by using popular keywords in your URL, your headings, through your text, and with the file names of your images and their alt tags. SEO makes your site more likely to show up when people are searching for you. (See also URL, Alt Tags) I'll teach you how to optimize your posts and pages for SEO in 8 Weeks to Exit.
Slug – The part of the URL that comes after domain's extension. For example, this post's slug is “entrepreneurs-dictionary-of-terms”
Shortcode – Short bits of HTML code that allow WordPress users to embed information from a plugin onto a post or page. For example, the shortcode [“powerpress”] allows podcasters with the Blubrry PowerPress plugin to embed a playable media file anywhere on a post or page.
Sitemap – A text-based page on your website that lists all of the other posts and pages on that website. Search engines “index” or read sitemaps to know what URLs link to other URLs, and what pages exist on a website. In other words, a sitemap is a directory of everything published on a website, like a card catalog in a library. To say it another way, a sitemap is a map of the web of posts, pages, and links on your site. Sitemaps can also be submitted to search engines for indexing. I'll teach you how to create sitemaps and submit them for indexing in 8 Weeks to Exit.
Sidebar – The vertical column on a website. A sidebar can be on the left or right of the main column, or on both sides depending on your WordPress theme. Sidebars are common locations to place Widgets.
Split Test – Presenting information one way to some visitors and another way to other visitors to determine which presentation gets better results. For example, presenting a blue ‘buy now' button to some visitors and an orange ‘buy now' button to others to test which button color gets more clicks. Split testing is one of the main reason why I use and recommend landing pages built with ThriveThemes.
Squeeze Page – A type of landing page with the purpose of capturing a lead. Squeeze pages typically do not have headers, navigation menus, sidebars or footers. Squeeze pages minimize ways for visitors to leave, so the only course of action is what the page's creator wants the visitor to do. (See also Landing Page, Thank You Page, and Sales Page)
Style.css – Refers to a file in your WordPress theme that allows you to change cosmetic features like colors and button width and how things are shown on your site. By adding or removing CSS code to your style.css file, you can completely change the look of your website. This and the functions.php file are the two most commonly edited files in your WordPress installation (See also Functions.php)
Subdomain – Refers to the part of a domain or web address that comes right after the “http://.” In the case of this membership site, https://members.ellorywells.com, “members” is the subdomain and “ellorywells” is the domain, or, Top Level Domain. Subdomains can function independently of Top Level Domains (TLD) but are not standalone websites. When it comes to WordPress, subdomains require their own installation and have their own directories on your web host's server. (See also Domains)
Tags (Blog) – Clickable reference tags that can be applied to blog posts. I use tags to link posts by a topic I mention within each post. Tags and categories both function as a sortable card catalog for blog content.
Thank You Page – A page visitors are sent to after they submit their email address and become a subscriber or lead. Thank You Pages generally inform new leads of what's coming next or how to proceed forward. They often tell new subscribers to check their inbox or spam folders, or they confirm registration to an event. (See also Landing Page, Squeeze Page, and Sales Page)
Theme(s) (WordPress) – See WordPress Themes
Tripwire – Coming Soon
Upsell – A classic “upsell” is, “Would you like fries with that?” An upsell is designed to increase amount someone spends with you by offering additional products or services related to what someone just purchased. For example, on my coaching page, I offer an upsell of a website and an on-site experience to help my clients.
URL – Also known as a web address, a domain name, or a website URL, the Uniform Resource Locator tells your computer where to go whenever you type it in. For example, the URL for this post is “https://www.ellorywells.com/entrepreneurs-dictionary-of-terms/” and “.com” is the extension and “entrepreneurs-dictionary-of-terms” is the slug. (See also Subdomain)
USP (Unique Selling Proposition) – A term used to describe what makes a person or business unique, or what makes it stand out from its competitors.
UTM Code – A string characters that make up the code added at the end of a Slug that tells websites where traffic comes from. UTM codes normally start with a “?”. More information (See also Query String)
Virtual Assistant (VA) – A Virtual Assistant, or VA, is someone you contract on an hourly or project basis. They can live anywhere in the world, making them “virtual.” VAs are a popular choice for entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of favorable exchange rates in order to keep their costs low.
Web Host – To store the files that make up your website, you need a web host. Hosts like Bluehost, GreenGeeks, WPEngine and others, store your files on their server so you don't have to store them on your computer at home. A web host maintains all of the hardware, and some of the software, that makes your blog and online business accessible to the world.
Webinar – An online meeting hosted by an organization, a person, or a group of people. The purpose of a webinar is to inform and ask; to educate and to sell. Webinars have become very popular as they boast high conversion rates and are good for getting subscribers to an email list.
Welcome Mat – A full page optin box that covers your screen when you land on a post or page.
Widget – A term WordPress uses to refer to an area on your website, usually in the sidebar or footer, where you can add additional features.
WordPress – A website building framework. WordPress is one of the most popular website building platforms in the world. It is flexible, open-source, and extremely powerful. WordPress is like the frame of your car. Themes are like the paint that makes it look pretty. (See also WordPress.com, WordPress.org, Themes, Child Themes)
WordPress.com – WordPress.com is a hosting service as well as a domain registrar. They offer free plans which allow you to start blogging for free on a subdomain, as well as paid plans that are much more expensive. When someone references WordPress.com, they're generally referring to their free service. (See also WordPress, WordPress.org, Web Hosting
WordPress.org – Refers to the site where you can find themes, plugins, and support for your self-hosted WordPress site. Plugins and themes downloaded from WordPress.org can be uploaded into your WordPress installation through the dashboard. Plugins found on WordPress.org can also be searched for and installed directly from your Dashboard by going to Plugins > Add New. (See also Self-Hosted, WordPress, WordPress.com)
WordPress Themes – WordPress Themes are “skins” that can change how a WordPress site looks and feels. They can change the functionality of a website, alter its design, and are used to change the overall way you manage your site. There are both free and paid (or “Premium”) themes, though they're not all created equal. Premium themes are generally more secure, updated more often, and more versatile. Free themes are great for beginners. I use and recommend StudioPress themes because of their well-written code, fast loading times, and variety of designs.
XML – A file type commonly associated with sitemaps.
Zapier – A software that connects two other pieces of software, typically through an API connection. If you've ever used or heard of If This, Then That, or IFTTT, Zapier is the business version of that. For example, I use Zapier to connect WPForms with ActiveCampaign; when someone submits a WPForm on my site, their information is transferred to ActiveCampaign through Zapier.
Zoom – a.k.a. Zoom.us – Web conferencing software that allows users to record video sessions (free up to 40 minutes), chat with other users, and host multiple participants at the same time.
If there's a term I missed, or something I left out, please tell me in a comment below. I'd love to answer your question(s) and clear anything up so you can move forward quickly in your entrepreneurship efforts. Have an awesome day!