Tech jargon can be intimidating, but it’s easier to understand than you think (I promise). Learn the difference between a website and a Web application, and make sure you are ordering what you really want and need. Find out what distinguishes frontend and backend development. Learn what a programming language is, then familiarize yourself with your options: PHP, Python, Ruby and Ruby on Rails. Read up on Open Source and see if there is an open-source project, like Wordpress, that you can use to get started.
Then, if you come across a new term you don’t recognize, remember...
Ask Tons of Questions
The smartest technical people I know ask questions all the time. How do you think they got so smart?
I am not saying that you turn your Web development agency into your personal tutor, but you should never be afraid to ask a contractor what something means and why they have chosen to use it. Ask questions with class (no hedging!) in the spirit of true learning, and they will love you for it.
Code It Yourself
If you’re short on funds, learning to code your own website can save you thousands of dollars in development costs (plus tons of aggravation when your developer isn’t responding to your emails), but it has the added benefit of being the best way for you to understand how all of this technology comes together. It’s also a great way to make sure your website aligns with your company’s needs.