• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint



Originally used to refer to someone who likes to examine computer program and operating codes, hacker is now commonly accepted to mean anyone who breaks into computer systems without the permission of the owner.


This occurs when a computer stops responding or “crashes.”

See also [crash]


The process by which spammers use specially designed software to collect email addresses from websites. The objective is to add these email addresses to a spam database, then sell that database to other spammers, or send out spam emails to that database. A way of avoiding having your email addresses harvested is to use email forms.

See also [forms]
See also [spam]


See [sexist language]
heading and summary

See [website layout and design]

Headings (also known as headlines) on the Web serve several functions. In addition to telling the reader what the content is about and enticing them to read on, they are often the way that readers find your content in the first place. They are the first words picked up by search engines, and are sometimes the only text about your article that will show up in search engine results. Your headings should be short, direct, and utilitarian. They should describe the content succinctly and include as many keywords as possible. For examples and tips on writing headings, see page 5.


See [headings]
high-tech (adjective)

We’d recommend against using the variant of this, hi-tech.

historical periods

See [ages/periods of history]
history trail

See [classification path navigation]

Every time a single item, such as a text file, is requested from a Web server, it is counted as a hit. Hits are a horrific abuse of statistics and a totally unreliable indicator of traffic to a website. It’s like this—every time a single Webpage, built up of many files, is requested from the server, as many as 20 hits might be counted. Saying that your website had 1,000 hits is thus a totally unreliable, inflated way to measure how many people visited your website, or how many pages they viewed.

The industry standard for website measurement is now page views/impressions, visitors, and unique visitors. It is usually safe to divide the number of hits by 10 to get the number of page views. So, 1,000 hits to a website would equate to 100 page views.

See also [page view]
See also [visitor]


The first page of a website. There are also sub-homepages, which are the first pages for major sections within the website. There should be a link to the homepage on every page on the site. This link should be titled “Home.” The default homepage is the page that the browser goes to when it is opened.

A homepage should promote key content and upcoming events, allow visitors to quickly find what they are looking for, and tell the visitor what your company does.

See also [default homepage]
See also [website layout and design]
See also [promoting content]

homepage design

See [website layout and design]
homepage navigation

A primary function of a homepage is to provide context for the reader. Homepage navigation is not simply about functional navigation such as classifications and search. It also takes out content highlights from the content archive, presenting them as summaries and/or features.

See also [website layout and design]

homepage promotion

See [promoting content]

This is the computer on which a website is physically located.


One word—the exact clickable area on screen that will be affected when a mouse pointer is held over it. On a Webpage this area is usually a section of text, an icon, image, or button with an embedded link.


Stands for Hypertext Markup Language, the markup language used to build documents on the Web.


Stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the basic Internet protocol that allows Web servers and browsers to send and receive information on the Web.


See [links]

An environment that links not just text but other media such as video, animation, and audio.


Hypertext is text that is linked. It allows a reader to move from one document to another simply by clicking. While print text is linear, hypertext can have multiple paths that lead in multiple directions. Many people believe that hypertext better reflects how the mind works—by association. Hypertext is the main concept behind the invention of the Web—it’s what allows such a vast amount of information to be linked together.

Hypertext allows you to create content in a pyramid structure, with a short heading or summary at the top, and then as the reader clicks down, longer and more detailed content. This approach maps the behavior of the reader, because as they click deeper into a content area, their interest in the subject is obviously heightened and they are moving from a scan read to a more detail-focused read. It also allows you to link between documents, enabling the reader to quickly find further reading on a particular subject.


Hyphens are often necessary for clarity or convention. But don’t overuse them. It is a good idea to add frequently queried compound words and adjectives, as well as prefixes, to your style guide.

  • Compound words: Related words (compounds) have three degrees of intimacy—they can be written as two separate words (salad dressing), joined by hyphens (son-in-law), or written as one word (keyboard).

    For guidance on whether a compound is two words, hyphenated, or one word, you should consult your main reference dictionary. Dictionaries may differ on some entries, which is why it is so important for consistency to nominate one dictionary as the first point of reference for everybody in the organization.

  • Compound adjectives: Hyphens can clarify the sense when two or more words are used adjectivally before the noun they modify. The hyphen is not normally required when the adjective follows the noun:

    The room was full of more important people. (Ambiguous)

    Here, more important is ambiguous—does it refer to “an increase in the number of important people” or “people of greater importance.” Change it to

    The room was full of more-important people. (Not ambiguous)

    When used after the noun, more important is not ambiguous:

    The other people were more important, apparently.

    Adjectives or participles (present or past form of the verb that can serve as an adjective—spoken in well-spoken) preceded by an adverb are not hyphenated if the adverb ends in ly because there is no ambiguity about their meaning:

    newly married couple

  • Prefixes: Most standard prefixes do not take hyphens:

    unimportant, multicolored

    However, many people hyphenate words beginning with non, words that are followed by the same vowel as the prefix ending, and words that could be ambiguous without the hyphen:

    re-cover (to cover something again)

    recover (to regain or restore to a normal state)

    Consult your reference dictionary for specific guidelines.

  • Common second element: Hyphens can be used to represent the common second element in all but the last word of a list:

    two-, three-, and fourfold

    Use these “hanging hyphens” sparingly—try to rephrase where possible—but whatever you do, don’t forget the hyphen:

    Incorrect: blue or brown-eyed people (here it is referring to blue people!)

    Right: blue- or brown-eyed people or blue-eyed or brown-eyed people



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint