Understanding the Language of the Internet

Understanding the Language of the Internet

Clear & Convincing Feature Article

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The law has a rich history of words that lawyers like to use but few outside the industry understand. The internet also has special words, many borrowed from other fields or invented by users. Understanding that language will help you communicate with those raised with electronic devices and your marketing director.

When you start your day, you boot up your computer. The term is a shortening of the word "bootstrapping," which early computer scientists in the 1950s used to refer to the start-up process. They thought of it as the computer pulling itself up by the bootstraps.

To access the internet, you use an internet service provider, which can be wireless (wi-fi). Once there, you use a web browser—a software program sometimes included on computers and mobile devices. Browsers (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari) let you view online content.

Some Basic Terms

  • Internet protocol (IP) address: A set of unique numbers that identifies every computer and device connected to the internet.
  • Email: Mail electronically transmitted between users.
  • Home page: The first page viewed when you open your web browser.
  • Hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS): The set of rules by which web pages are transferred across the internet.
  • Link or hypertext link: Words, phrases, or graphics on a web page that, when clicked, transports readers to additional or related information on the internet.
  • Uniform Resource Locator (URL): An addressing scheme used to locate websites.
  • Web page: A single page, or file, that is part of a website.
  • Website: A collection of internet pages or files.

Finally, when someone lands on your web page, they can get there in either two ways—organically or directly. Organic traffic is unpaid traffic from search engines; social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter; and referrals from other sites, such as your SBM profile. Organic traffic is what you want to attract using keywords in your content, (such as "Traverse City family law attorney,") so when someone types those words in a query, your site appears. Direct traffic is when someone types your URL into a browser, immediately connecting with you.

Roberta GubbinsAfter years practicing law, Roberta Gubbins served as editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides writing services to lawyers ghostwriting content for websites, blogs, and articles. She is editor of The Mentor, the SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.

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