No matter what you’re trying to learn, insider terminology can be confusing. We created this glossary to help WordPress beginners (and more experienced users) navigate managing or creating a WordPress site with greater confidence and familiarity and overcome any hesitancy with tech.
When you manage or build a WordPress site, you need to understand web design and WordPress terms. This glossary is a compilation of acronyms and definitions for terminology commonly used in both web design and WordPress.
Glossary of WordPress Terminology
ALT TEXT OR THE ALT TAG
- Provides alternative information for images
- Is read by screen readers to describe an image for the visually impaired
- Will display on the page if the image fails to load or for those who have selected to turn off images in their browsers
- May in some browsers, display as a tooltip text when the mouse moves over the image
- Is used by search engines to understand what an image is about
ACCESSIBILITY (WEB ACCESSIBILITY)
Web accessibility is a design principle based on the premise that all users should have equal access to any and all website content. When your site is accessible, you ensure that there are no barriers preventing people with disabilities, and socio-economic restrictions on bandwidth and speed from accessing websites.
BACKEND / FRONTEND
The backend of a WordPress website is the content management area that authorized users can log into to add, remove and modify content on the website. This may also be referred to as “the dashboard”, “wp-admin” or “the administration area”.
The frontend is what your visitors see and interact with when they come to your website.
Learn how to login to WordPress here.
Blogging is the act of publishing a blog post (article). Blogging is a form of online communication. Blog posts are published in reverse chronological order so the most recent post is at the top. Blog posts can be organized with categories and tags. Blog posts may have commenting turned on so your readers can engage with your content.
A breadcrumb trail is a website navigation tool that allows a user to see where the current page is in relation to the website’s hierarchy. The breadcrumb trail is typically near the top of a page or post. Read more about breadcrumb trails here.
Builder plugins are third-party add-ons for WordPress. They are not part of WordPress. Builder plugins feature a drag and drop builder in the backend and a live editor on the frontend. The attractive prebuilt layouts that come with builders are appealing to some new WordPress users. Many Premium Themes (ones you purchase) rely on a page builder plugin.
Popular WordPress page builders include: WP Bakery Page Builder, Visual Composer, Beaver Builder, Divi Builder, Elementor, Themify Builder, Thrive Architect, SiteOrigin, and Avada.
Read more about Builder Plugins and why we don’t recommend them
A WordPress child theme is a theme that has been built off of another theme (called the parent theme). The child theme contains a functions.php file and a style.css file and any other files that you’ve modified from the parent theme. The child theme won’t function without the parent theme.
You create a Child Theme in WordPress to avoid directly editing a theme. This way, you preserve your changes and modifications when the theme updates.
A child theme inherits all of the templates and functionality from its parent theme. The parent theme can be updated without overwriting your customizations.
CSS is an abbreviation that stands for Cascading Style Sheet. The style.css file of a WordPress theme tells the Web browser how to display (the look and formatting) the content being viewed. Put custom CSS styles in Customize -> Additional CSS. Read more about CSS here
CUSTOM POST TYPES
Your WordPress website comes with two primary post types: blog posts and pages. You can extend your WordPress functionality by creating custom post types for the specific needs of your web portfolio. A post type can be pretty much any type of content (i.e. Events, Testimonials, FAQs, Our Team, etc…).
Plugins can add custom post types. You can register your own custom post types by using a plugin. Custom post types are often created by web developers within the theme they are building, but it is better to use a Custom Post Type plugin so the functionality stays regardless of theme.
In WordPress, the Dashboard is the main administration screen for a site. It is the first screen you see when you log into the backend of the WordPress admin area. The Dashboard screen displays information about your website and about WordPress Events and News.
A domain name is your address on the Internet. For example, learnwp.ca. It appears within the URL in the address bar at the top of the screen in the site visitor’s browser. You don’t buy a domain name, you register it and you get to use it as long as you renew the registration.
DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM – DNS
When you register a domain name you need to point the domain name to the host company name servers. You need to tell the Domain Name Registrar where your website files can be found. This can be done by logging in to your Domain Registrar Account and updating the DNS Name Servers to point to the Host.
An excerpt is an introductory summary of blog post content that appears on a blog summary or an archive page typically with a Read More or Continue Reading link and sometimes with three dots…
By default, the first 55 words of your post will be displayed as the excerpt. WordPress lets you craft custom excerpts. Look under Document in the post’s right-hand editing panel for Excerpt.
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. An FTP program such as Filezilla allows you to transfer (upload and download) files between your computer and your web host’s servers. Read more about FTP and Filezilla
Link text (or anchor text) is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. The linked words tell search engines what the link is about and is an important factor in search engine rankings.
In the example below, more meaning is conveyed in the link text of the second example
- If you want to learn more CLICK HERE
- Learn more about our TORONTO WORDPRESS WORKSHOPS
Website Pages contain content and information that you don’t frequently change. In other words, the content is static. Information such as this might include your homepage, about, contact, or services pages. Pages usually have comments disabled.
Permalinks are URLs (like https://learnwp.ca/wordpress-glossary) to your pages, posts, categories and tags on your site. Across the web, permalinks are used to share website pages and posts – by email, social media and between websites. Think of permalinks as permanent links – changing a URL after a post or page is published may cause broken links. Read more about Permalinks.
A plugin is a code package you can install to add specific functionality to your site. Plugins mean that WordPress core files only need to provide the basics that every site needs. Individuals can add the additional features they want by picking and choosing a plugin. Search the WordPress Plugin repository from the plugin interface in the wp-admin area. Learn more about WordPress Plugins here.
- are entries in your blog (articles, news items)
- are usually in reverse chronological order, newest on top
- are typically organized into categories
- display metadata of date, author, tags, and categories.
SEO – SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. It involves tactics and best practices to help your website and blog content rank well in organic search (versus paid ads on Google). Learn more about SEO in this post.
A shortcode is a WordPress-specific code that lets you implement complicated code from a plugin by wrapping a specified shortcode in square brackets. The shortcode is telling WordPress to execute the full code in this place. Just remember shortcode = shortcut.
A site icon is the small image you see before a website title in the browser address bar. It helps users visually identify websites in browser tabs. Read more here about how to add your own Site Icon.
A slug is the last part (or extension) of a WordPress Permalink or URL that points to a specific post, page, category or tag. The URL for this page is https://learnwp.ca/wordpress-glossary, in this case, the slug is “wordpress-glossary”
An SSL certificate changes your site URL from HTTP to HTTPS. HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The ‘S’ stands for—Secure. HTTP is the method used to (protocol) transfer information (data) from a web server to a web browser. When you add an SSL Certificate to your website, you protect the information that is shared—through encryption. Learn more about SSL
A theme is a collection of files that work together to produce the layout and design of your WordPress site without modifying the underlying software. Essentially, the WordPress theme system is a way to skin your site.
URL is an abbreviation of Uniform Resource Locator (URL). It is the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web. A URL includes the Domain Name but it is full address of a given page or post. For example the full URL for this page is https://learnwp.ca/wordpress-glossary/
- The Hypertext Transfer Protocol is http:// or https://
- The Domain Name is learnwp.ca
- The Slug is /wordpress-glossary/
These three together are the URL of a given page or post.
Widgets are tools or content that you can add to your website. You can drag and drop to add content to your sidebar or other “widgetized” areas of your website. Sometimes when you add a plugin, a new available widget comes with it.
Widgetized Areas: are usually located in the sidebar. However, these widget-ready areas can be in the header, footer as well as the sidebar. The number of widget areas and their location and names are dictated by your theme.
Are there terms you are still wondering about?
If there are other terms that you would like explained, let us know and we will add them to this page.