Every industry, every area of study has its own set of unique terminology. Some of it can be incredibly cryptic and esoteric to people who aren’t “on the inside,” and the world of blogging can feel much the same way. Whether you’re new to blogging in 2020 or you’ve been around for a while, it’s worthwhile to brush up on some of the terms you may encounter in your journey.
SEO Jargon and Lingo
The first place where we’ll start is with search engine optimization (SEO). Yes, for years we’ve been told that if you “live by the Google, you die by the Google.” Even so, search traffic is undeniably valuable and it’s still in your best interest to keep in Google’s good graces.
- Indexed: When you publish a new post on your blog, it won’t appear immediately in Google search results despite your best efforts. You have to wait until it is “indexed,” meaning that the Google bot has come by to see the new page and add it to its “index.”
- Keyword: Even though “keyword” is singular, it can usually be used to mean a single keyword (like “hotel”) or a keyword phrase (also called a keyphrase) made up of several words (like “Las Vegas hotel deals”). Keywords are important both for publishers and advertisers.
- Meta description: Usually no more than about 150 to 160 characters long, a meta description is typically what appears on a search engine results page in relation to a webpage. It may also appear when a link is shared on social media as part of the excerpt or snippet.
- UGC: Standing for user generated content, one of the most important recent developments is the addition of the UGC attribute for hyperlinks. In addition to rel=“follow” and rel=“nofollow”, now we’ve also got rel=“sponsored” for sponsored links and rel=“ugc” for user generated content (like reader comments).
Blogging Software Glossary
Naturally, another big side of blogging aside from the blogging itself is the software that powers your blog. Most of us are self-hosted with WordPress, but more and more people are considering alternatives like Squarespace and Wix too. As you shop around and weigh your options, you may come across some of these blogging terms.
- Autocasting: Podcasting has really taken off in a really big way. Autocasting allows you to take your text blog posts and automatically generate audio versions for podcasts. Because just blogging is not enough.
- Categories and Tags: While the casual user may use these two terms interchangeably, they don’t really function the same way. Generally, it’s in your best interest to have very few categories on your blog (like “dot com lifestyle” and “blogging”), but you can have more tags that are more specific (like “glossary” and “Vancouver”).
- CMS: A content management system, like WordPress, is the software program that makes it easy for you to add, edit and delete the content. It allows you to separate the content itself from the design elements that dictate how the content is displayed.
- CSS: Cascading Style Sheets are a common way to stylize how content is displayed on your website. Your WordPress theme will contain at least one CSS file, if not several.
Other Blogging Terms
Still confused by a term in the context of blogging? Maybe this will help.
- Alt text: This is the text attribute (alt=“description goes here”) that you can and should assign to images. It appears when the image won’t load or when someone hovers their mouse pointer over it. It also helps search engines and other bots to understand the content of the image.
- Disclosure: Proper disclosure of any professional relationships you have with a company or brand has become very important in the age of influencer marketing. Even if you don’t receive any actual cash, but perhaps you got a “free” product to review or you were “gifted” an experience, this needs to be disclosed to your audience.
- Pillar content: You should be updating your blog with new content on a regular basis with a predictable schedule. However, you may also want to invest some time and effort into developing some long-form content that serves as a shining example of what you have to offer. It should be very informative with long-term appeal. That’s pillar content, content that will stand the test of time (and/or you’ll update periodically) as some of your best work.
The Evolving Language of Blogging
I’ve stuck mostly to the basics of blogging here without diving too far into the weeds. This is nowhere near exhaustive. Of course, any glossary of blogging terms can never be fully comprehensive and the terminology will always be evolving. Are there any newer terms you’ve come across that you think other bloggers would benefit from knowing?