The Ultimate List of WordPress Terminology

If you’re new to building a blog or website, or even have plenty of experience, there are dozens of terms that have probably confused you. You may have frequently encountered many of these and have to this day wondered what in the world some of them mean. If you don’t know your permalinks from your skins or your pingbacks from your widgets, then you’re in the right place! We’ve compiled a master list of explained terminology for you to be able to easily digest.

The Basic to the Not-So-Basic Web Lingo

Domain/Domain Name: An Internet identifier. A domain name designates a certain authority on the web. They are used in order to represent a specific website itself. They are also used to represent networks, services, or even specific computers through Internet Protocol or IP Addresses.

URL: Uniform Resource Locator. These are the names that appear as a reference to a resource that specifies its location online.

Web Hosting Service: A company that provides space on a server which allows access to the World Wide Web. The hosting service provides the connection between you or your organization to the Internet itself. One of the top hosting services that we recommend is HostGator. Definitely be sure to check these guys out!

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP): An application protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. It is the foundation of data communication for the web. Hypertext is structured text that uses logical links (hyperlinks) between nodes containing text in order to transfer or exchange that hypertext.

HyperText Markup Language (HTML): The standard markup language used to create web pages. It is the language of the internet. It is the language that computers use to carry out functions. The anatomy of the code consists of beginning and ending tags enclosed in angle brackets that each carry out a function. For example, A piece of code alters regular text to become bolded by adding the beginning and ending tags <b> text </b> . If you are ever curious to see what code is working on any given website, right click a blank area of a site in the Google Chrome browser and select the “View Page Source” option to see a full list of HTML code.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS): A piece of written code that is used for describing the look and formatting of a site to all of your website’s pages. The style sheet is used to compliment the other functionality-focused code with a CSS visually-engaging code. The sheet carries out website elements such as its layout, colors, and fonts.

Caching: A component that stores data so future requests for that data can be served faster. Cache acts as a block of memory for temporary storage of data that is likely to be used again.

Avatar: An image that represents the end-user.

Gravatar: A globally recognized avatar. A users Gravatar may be displayed along with their comments similar to a profile picture on other social networks.

JavaScript: A programming language that WordPress uses in order to allow your web browser to make certain processing occur.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Best practices that website managers follow in order for them to help their website achieve a higher ranking in search engine results. When a user enters a query, i.e. in Google, Bing, or Yahoo, answers are listed in a particular order to where their answer may be listed in the best possible way first.  The list depends on each search engines’ algorithms for determining which websites or pages offer the best answers in the most organized, clear, and visually appealing way. A website hopes to rank higher in search engine results and can begin to do so in a number of ways.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM): A form of internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) through optimization and advertising. Website owners hope to achieve maximum visibility in order to increase the number of viewers. In many cases, SEM is advanced through paid advertising, but can be done so “organically”.

Basic WordPress terms


: A blog, or weblog, is a website detailing the writings of an individual person, or by a group of people. “Blogging” is the action of writing one’s blog by the “blogger” or author.

Content Management System (CMS): An interface that allows for the management of websites. These allow for the automation of manual workflow which in effect limits the need for the individual write by hand in the language of computing, also known as code or HTML.

Content: Information that is communicated to the end-user or viewer. Such information may be communicated through written word or text, and through media such as images, audio and video.

Posts/Posting: The content that is written on a page is referred to as a post. As found on a website or blog, a post may be any piece of content such as an article, image, or video that updates the reader on a consistent basis and usually in reverse chronological order. The action of publishing a post is called “posting”.

Pages: Areas of a website that present timeless content such as information in an “About” or “Contact” page. They are similar to posts in that they both have Titles and Content, however they differ in that they are less time-dependent, can be organized into a hierarchy, have the ability to use different templates, and typically don’t include a dialogue of live interactive comments.

Drag and Drop: An action made by the user. The action includes selecting an object, grabbing it, moving it to another location and placing it there. There are many website builders that feature drag-and-drop management systems which help make the process of building a website much easier. An example of a drag-and-drop action may include selecting an image file from your desktop, dragging it into a box on a CMS interface, and dropping it there in order to have the CMS upload the image to your site.

Dashboard: The cockpit of your website. The dashboard is found within a CMS platform, such as WordPress, where the user is able to see a current status and snapshot of your sites key performance indicators. Here you are able to make informed decisions at a glance. There are many items found on the dashboard and we will discuss many of them in this list.

Category: An indicator for content that fits within a specific hierarchy or structure.  Each piece of content is filed under a specific category in order to aid in navigation and direct toward a grouping of other similar content.

Tags: An indicator of a specific grouping of content. Tags are useful in providing a way to quickly communicate in one or two words what a piece of content is about. They are used in order to communicate an overall theme of the content, a feeling as a result of the content, or to specify a certain person, place or thing. Tags are more specific than categories.

Post Meta Data: Information associated with each post. In addition to the actual post itself, post meta data includes items such as categories, tags, author, date, and time. It may also include additional information such as mood, weather, what the author is currently watching, reading, or listening to.

Custom Fields: Areas where metadata is entered.

Meta: Meaning “Information About”. Meta typically refers to administrative-type information. This information describes the website to the outside world.

Made Public: When a piece of content is published and gone live to the outside world. A piece of content can be written or built and saved for work later without being published. When you are ready, you may publish your “draft” and make your content public.

Comments: A piece of content submitted by the viewer in response to the host’s content. Comments really allow for a dialogue between the host and the viewer. Users submit their content in response to the hosts, the host then approves the submission where it will then appear underneath the original content.

Custom Post Types:  A piece of content may appear in a number of different ways. They can appear as articles, videos, video libraries, portfolios, projects, podcasts, chats, quotes, and more.

Basic WordPress terms: Design

Theme, Skin, Template: An underlying unifying design for a website. There are many elements working underneath to produce the design and functionality of a theme.

Child Theme: A theme that inherits the functionality and styling of the parent theme. You may consider using a child theme when wanting to modify a parent theme. The advantage of using a child theme occurs when wanting to create an added functionality and style of an existing theme. There are child themes available, but to get the most out of a child theme is by creating it yourself. This can be somewhat tricky and requires more advanced knowledge, but can be extremely useful.

Plugin: Custom features that add to the functionality of a website. Since WordPress is designed to be a lean content management system, there is a need for Plugins in order to get added features. These plugins must be installed to your site and can range from almost anything one could think of.

Widgets: Applications that add customized features to certain areas of a website. They were originally designed to provide a simplified way for the user to control the design and structure of the website’s theme. Widgets may be placed in the header, footer, or elsewhere. They do not require any coding experience and are organized through a drag-and-drop action.

Menus: Much like categories on a menu at a restaurant, a website menu acts as a category indicator with subcategories below. So, when you’re at a restaurant looking through the appetizers, you’ll find a number of options, none of which are main entrées or deserts. Similarly, when you’re navigating through a menu item on a fashion website, you’ll find a “men’s clothes” menu and a “women’s clothes” menu each with submenus below. The menu area may be located in a few places, but typically will appear horizontally across the top of the site or vertically down the left side or right side of the site.

Sidebar: A vertical column for displaying information other than the main content of the web page. Many themes will come equipped with at least one sidebar on either the right or the left hand side of the screen. This area of your site is a primary place for widgets to be placed such as a category widget or even a calendar or a place for social media streams.

Background: The background of a website is the appearance layer that lies furthest back behind all other content. The background of a website may be customized by selecting a color or adding an image to remain static behind the content that scrolls up or down.

Header: The very top section of a website which spans across the width of the screen is the header. Often times, headers include a name and logo for the site, menu options for further navigation and other valuable information such as a search bar, sign in/sign up link or social media links.

Archives: A historical organizer of content. An archive organizes posts from your website or blog into a historical hierarchy defined by date published (most often by month), by subject or category, or by other parameters such as author.

SiteMap: A list of every URL or page found on a website. The sitemap is a detailed organized hierarchy of every page on a website which is more than the structure and organization of an archive or main menu bar for example. Sitemaps are usually found at the bottom of a website page by other “fine print” information and are even hidden with an option to expand for full view. These are also very important for SEO in that a search engine is able to easily “crawl” through keywords found in your sitemap titles. The search engines are then able to make informed decisions about each page’s details, especially since they’re organized neatly in a hierarchy.


Permalinks: permanent URLs to individual weblog posts and categories. These are like @name attributes as found in Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where a link is shared in a piece of content to another user’s account. They are depicted in “ugly” and “pretty” ways. The ugly is often times an ambiguous ID number after a web URL, where as a “pretty” permalink may look like the following: or

Pingbacks/Trackbacks: It’s a sort of WordPress terminology for a Facebook “share”. Both pingbacks and trackbacks can be compared to an original piece content on Facebook that was shared by someone else to their Facebook. Think of it this way,
1. Person A posts something on their blog.
2. Person B posts on their own blog, linking to Person A’s post. This automatically sends a pingback to Person A when both have pingback enabled blogs.
3. Person A’s blog receives the pingback, then automatically goes to Person B’s post to confirm that the pingback did, in fact, originate there.

Akismet: A comment spam filtering service-based plugin. This service uses their algorithm to catch harmful pingback spam and other spam filled comments and removes them for you. And the author is able to see all the comments that were caught or cleared by Akismet so you are still in control.

AJAX: A technique that webpages use that allows the server to perform certain processing without needing to reload the page. For example, when someone posts a comment in a WordPress blog, AJAX publishes the comment in real time and the change can be seen without having to reload the comments screen.

cPanel: A popular web-based administrators tool that many hosting providers use to allow users to configure their own accounts using a user friendly interface. A popular example that comes to mind that you may have seen elsewhere on this blog is HostGator’s cPanel home page.

Shortcode: A piece of specific code that in effect nicknames longer pieces of code with just one or two words. There are approximately 50 available shortcodes that are used most frequently and range from embedding a video, google map, or even a Twitter feed into a space on your site. This makes things easier for the site builder in that they don’t have to type long pieces of code every time they want to embed a video somewhere.

Rich Site Summary (RSS): A format for delivering regularly changing web content. An RSS feed acts as a syndication of all preferred content by a user from many areas into one easy-to-read place. Software like Feed Reader or News Aggregator allows you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and displays them for you to use and read. These feeds are especially useful for people who consistently check many different sites for updates. This function eliminates the need to make multiple clicks and navigate to numerous websites individually. Now it’s all in one easy to read place.

Are you now more confident?

Hopefully with the help of this list, many of these terms have become clear to you. This list is truly just scratching the surface of the dictionary of Internet and WordPress terms. Building a website truly requires a fluent understanding of the language, but with our help at, you’ll be there in no time. Check out our video tutorials that take you through the process step-by-step.