WordPress Glossary | Terminology in plain language | LearnWP

WordPress Glossary | Terminology in plain language

WordPress Glossary for beginners

Glossary of WordPress terminology

Definitions for terminology and acronyms commonly used in web design and WordPress are explained here in plain language so beginners will understand. 


Alt text provides alternative information for images. Alt text

  • 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 the images are about


Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. The words contained in the anchor text 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

  1. If you want to learn more CLICK HERE
  2. Learn more about our TORONTO WORDPRESS WORKSHOPS


The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”) aims to make the Province of Ontario completely accessible by 2025.  As of January 1, 2014, designated public sector organizations and large private sector organizations (50 employees) are required, where practicable, to make their websites and web content conform with the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. [source]


The backend of a WordPress website is the area that authorized users can sign 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.


A breadcrumb trail is a website navigation tool that allows a user to see where the current page is in relation to the Web site’s hierarchy. The breadcrumb trail is typically near the top of a page or post  (Read more about breadcrumb trails here)


A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of another theme, called the parent theme, and allows you to modify, or add to, the functionality of that parent theme.

A child theme is the safest, and easiest way to modify an existing theme, whether you want to make a few tiny changes or extensive changes. Instead of modifying the theme files directly, you can create a child theme.

A child theme inherits all of the templates and functionality from its parent theme. Customization to the parent theme is safely stored in the child theme, so the parent theme can be updated. (Read more about creating child themes here)


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. You can customize a theme by making changes to the CSS file. CSS allows you to make changes in one file to change a font or colour used site wide. (Read more about CSS here)


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 often add custom post types. You can register you 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.


The dashboard is the first screen you see when you log into the backend of the WordPress admin area.


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. WordPress lets you craft custom excerpts. To reveal the excerpt editing field, click screen options at the top right of a post or page and tick the excerpt box.  Now when you scroll down below the post editing area, the excerpt field will be there.


FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. An FTP program such as Filezilla allows you to upload and download files between your computer and your website. (read more about FTP and Filezilla)


A Favicon or “favourites icon” is the small site icon 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 Favicon)


HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is a coding markup language that is used across the web.  HTML tags “markup” how the web browser displays content. (Read more about HTML)


A WordPress theme may come with a variety of page templates. Available page templates will be available by a drop down menu within the page attributes tab. If for example, you select a template titled “one column no sidebar” that one page will display without a sidebar.

Page Templates are a way for theme developers to create unique layouts or functionality for specific pages or groups of pages on your website

The Page Templates that are available to you in the Page screen are dependent on your theme. If you change your theme, you may lose a template that you are currently using.


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 home page, about, contacts 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 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 with this post.


A shortcode is a WordPress-specific code that lets you do powerful things with little effort. You can 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 slug is last part of a WordPress Permalink of 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.


A Theme framework is a Theme designed to be a flexible foundation for WordPress development removing the need for programming or design knowledge with options pages. Genesis is one example of a Theme framework.


URL is an abbreviation of Uniform Resource Locator (URL). It is the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web.


Widgets are tools or content that you can add to your website. Widgets allow you to add content and functions to your sidebar or other “widgetized” areas of your website.  Sometimes when you add a plugin, a 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.

Sometimes, when you add a plugin, a new available widget comes with it.

(Read more about WordPress widgets)

Are there terms we’ve missed?

If there are other terms that you would like explained, let us know and we will add them to this page.

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