Terminology for WordPress beginners

Written by Tom Greenwood - July 31, 2012

WordPress is amazing.It can do so much and is used by some many different people and organisations including the British Prime Minister, Sony, UPS, VW… it’s just incredible.

Simple WordPress websites can be set-up and managed relatively easily, but there is still a lot to learn, and when I was teaching myself about WordPress, I was surprised at how difficult it was to find simple explanations for the beginner.Here are a few definitions that I am often asked by clients.I hope these are useful to get you started:

Content Management System (CMS) = An online control panel that allows you to edit the text and images on your website

Host = A computer that stores your website and allows internet users to access your website via the Internet

Meta tag = A meta tag gives search engines information about the contents of a webpage. Meta tag information doesn’t change how the page looks to the ordinary person

Navigation menu = The links that are used to navigate through the website. E.g. Home, About us, Contact us etc

Page Templates = A page template is a pre-defined layout of a page that you can use to format your content

Permalink = The format in which weblinks are displayed. In WordPress the default permalink would be something like www.wholegraindigital.com/?p=123 (which is not easily understandable to us humans!), so you should ideally use what are called “pretty permalinks”. In the WordPress admin area you can specify pretty permalinks by selecting ‘settings’ and then ‘permalinks’ and then selecting “custom structure” and typing in /%postname%/

Plugin = A ready-built piece of code that can be installed on your WordPress website to increase the functionality of your website and make it do things that WordPress can’t do as standard. Plugins are typically free

Production Site = A techie term for what we mortals know as a “website” i.e. the website that the user-visits.  Not to be confused with the “Development Site”, which is a clone of your website that is used in private when your website is under construction

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) = A method of configuring your website so that search engines can easily access and understand the content, and thereby move your website up the list of search results, when people search for something relevant to you. In other words, this makes it more likely that new visitors will come to your website

Slug = the name of a page as seen in the web address for example on this page https://www.wholegraindigital.com/wordpress “WordPress” is the page’s slug

Theme = A design template that controls the layout, fonts and colours of a WordPress site. Themes can be found online for free or for a small fee, or alternatively you can hire a WordPress developer to create a custom theme just for you

URL = the web address that you type in your address bar on the browser to reach a particular web page. e.g. www.wholegraindigital.com