Techy words explained

Too much jargon makes the head hurt

The online world if full of jargon! Of course technical terms make sense to someone who has a lot of experience but what about someone who’s just starting out and it trying to find their way through the maze that is eCommerce?

Most often, it just takes someone to explain what jargony words mean in plain English, and we’re here to help.

A/B testing

Comparing two versions of a web page or email campaign to see which one performs better is called A/B testing or split testing.


Application Programming Interface.

An API allows one application, such as Mailchimp, to communicate (or ‘talk’) to another application, such as Shopify.

Bounce (emails)

If an email can’t get delivered to the recipient, it’s called a bounce.

There’s two different types of bounces:

A  hard bounce  indicates an email address is no longer in use (i.e. someone has changed or deactivated their email address).

A  soft bounce  indicates the email address exists but an email couldn’t get delivered, e.g. because the inbox was full. But it could still get delivered in the future if we try again. It’s like you go to visit someone but they’re just not home at that moment.

Bounce (website)

If someone lands on your website and leaves before clicking on anything, we call it a bounce (because they’ve literally bounced off your website like a bouncy ball).


emails that are sent to a list of subscribers

Cleaned emails

If an email address hard bounces, it is cleaned (aka removed) from the subscriber list.

Mailchimp does this automatically to keep your spam rate in check.


Content Management System (CMS), e.g. WordPress, Shopify, Magento, etc.


A Click-through Rate (CTR) determines the number of people who clicked on a link in an email or an ad for example out of to all the people who saw the email or ad. It is usually expressed as a percentage rate. E.g. If 200 people open an email and 20 click on a link, the CTR is 10%.

DNS record

A Domain Name System (DNS) record is a database record that helps users connect their websites to the outside world.

When you buy your domain on GoDaddy or CrazyDomains for instance, your domain records are typically stored and can be edited with that provider.

DNS records are used to connect Shopify or G Suite with your domain, so people can visit your website at or email

Domain authentication

Authentication is a way for computer systems to verify that you are who you say you are.

Domain authentication confirms that you have access to a domain and are authorised to use it to send email campaigns aka that you’re not a spammer.

Domain verification

Confirms that you are using a valid from email address hosted at a domain you can access. This helps keep your campaigns out of spam folders and protects your reputation by ensuring others can’t use your domain without permission.

Email automation

a single email or a series of emails sent to a subscriber based on a trigger or date

Email deliverability

The ability to deliver emails to subscribers’ inboxes and to avoid messages being lost, blocked or caught in the spam folder.

Elements that can hurt deliverability include sending without custom domain authentication, using single opt-in, sending from a free domain email address (e.g. and sending emails with too many images.

Inactive subscriber

someone who is subscribed to a list but is not opening or engaging with email campaigns

IP address

Every device that connects to the internet (e.g. your computer or phone) uses an Internet Protocol (IP) address for identification.

Wherever you browse, send an email or download a file, your IP address serves as the equivalent of a license plate – it essentially tells anyone who asks where and who you are.  

This address is usually assigned automatically and consists of a unique string of numbers separated by full stops. It can look something like this:

It may be a permanently assigned or change occasionally, but it is always a unique identifier.

*Now this may sound a little scary but think about all the data you get in Google Analytics – that would be impossible without IP addresses. And don’t worry, there’s a lot of privacy laws in place.


Hyper Text Mark-up Language (HTML) is a computer language used to create (most) websites.

Sender credibility

See sender reputation

Sender reputation

Google, Outlook, Yahoo and the likes not only keep track of everyone who sends emails, but also score senders based on the quality of the emails they send.

This is usually based on the IP address or domain emails are sent from.

Using complicated algorithms, filtering systems determine whether an email is spam.

If a system identifies an email as spam, the sender’s reputation score is lowered.

If the sender score becomes too low, emails might not only go to the spam folder, but might potentially get blocked entirely. For example: Subscribers who don’t open emails or mark emails as spam contribute to a lowered score.


A server is essentially the home of a website, it’s where it lives and keeps everything it owns (aka important information).

The location of a website’s home plays a role when people come to visit.

E.g. if a server is located in Singapore, the website will be quicker to open the door (aka load) for people visiting from Singapore than from Sydney. So it’s always good to check where visitors are coming from and choose a home reasonably close by.

Spam filter

A system that scans emails based on different criteria to ensure only legit emails reach an inbox.

Website hosting

A web host looks after the place a website is stored at, called a server, and ensures that a website can be viewed on the internet.


Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) is a computer language that focuses on cataloging and databasing the text content of a web page.

Since XML stores data in plain text format, the storage is independent of a platform and data can be exported or imported easily.

We regularly add more definitions to this page.

If there’s anything you’d like us to translate into plain English, let us know!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This