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WordPress 101: Learn the Lingo!

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Our Associate Director of Client Services teaches you all the most common WordPress terminology.
Beth Reiser 1

Beth Reiser

Associate Director of Client Services
Part project manager, part account executive, part solution architect, and part creative thinker, Beth is a key contributor to Taoti’s Project Management team. In addition to serving as the day-to-day point…

As a project manager, it’s important for me to not only train my client teams on how to use their new website but also to guide and coach them through the full website redesign experience. For many folks, this includes a lot of new terminologies and technical jargon. To help get started, we’ve compiled a list of important WordPress terms you may hear or see throughout the course of your WordPress website redesign project.

First things first, what is a CMS? WordPress is a common CMS or Content Management System. Its goal is to help users compose and present website content such as pages, photos, and other post types. Rather than forcing users to modify code, WordPress takes care of the details of how information is arranged and presented and lets users focus on the actual content to be displayed.

  • Absolute URL – The full website URL, which gives website users an exact location. An example is: https://www.taoti.com/blog/ Compared to the Relative URL, which would just be: /blog.
  • Admin Dashboard – When logged into your WordPress website, the admin dashboard displaying in the left rail of the site provides access to the site’s back-end functionality including adding and editing content, taxonomy terms, and menu items for example.
  • Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) – A WordPress plugin that allows developers to add extra content fields (called ‘Custom Fields’) into the page or post edit screens.
  • API – API stands for Application Programming Interface. It’s a set of instructions provided by a website or application that details how other sites should interact with it. You may hear us refer to the Salesforce.com or MailChimp API when we are integrating those sites with WordPress. APIs speed development and save time.
  • Archive – The process of displaying lists of content or data from the WordPress database.
  • Base Theme – There are thousands of themes available for WordPress. The base theme usually refers to one of a few trendy themes that many developers use as starting points. We build all our themes custom. However, we do use the breakpoints in the base themes to define when to show the desktop, mobile, or tablet version of a responsive site.
  •  Breadcrumb – Breadcrumbs are a type of navigation tool. You’ll often see something like ‘Home > About > Staff’ at the top of the page, with each word being a link back to the respective page. Those are breadcrumbs, and yes, they are named after the breadcrumbs from Hansel & Gretel.
  • Category – Similar to taxonomy, this allows posts to be grouped with related content by category. Any post on the website can be assigned to one or more categories.
  • Cache – Caching is a way of improving performance in WordPress websites (or really any). It stores the page outside of the database, saving the time involved in fetching data from the database.
  • CSS – Shorthand for Cascading Style Sheets, which is a programming language for determining how a page is presented.
  • Classic Editor – A text editor that displays directly beneath the title of a page or post.  This editor typically provides two options for content administrators: 1) Visual Editor (similar to a traditional Word or WYSIWYG Editor), and 2) Text Editor (which displays content in HTML code.)
  • Database – The content on your WordPress website is stored in a database. It’s important to regularly backup your website database to ensure content is never lost!
  • Field – Refers to data of a certain type that is attached to a post type or other entity. For example, on an ‘Article’ post type, fields may include: Title, Author, Image, Publish Date, and Body text.
  • Gutenberg – In comparison to the ‘Classic Editor’ (see above), Gutenberg is a new, block-oriented back-end editor. It provides the content administrators the ability to add various blocks of different types of content (For example, paragraph text, bulleted lists, blockquotes, image galleries, etc.) in an easy-to-use way.
  • GIT – The version control system we use to manage code and code changes for your website.
  • IA – An acronym for information architecture, the organization, and the structure of your website.
  • Media – Media is a broad term for website assets, such as images, videos, and PDFs. WordPress uses a central library for uploaded assets.
  • Page – A page is typically used to present “static” information, such as an ‘About Us’ page. These are typically not dated or ordered pieces of content like an article, press release or other ‘post’.
  • Page Builder – A widely-used page content creation plugin, with drag and drop functionality to allow CMS editors maximum flexibility for page creation. This is typically what the Taoti team recommends for easy content management! In fact, Taoti has built its own custom page builder which gives users flexibility in creating page layouts but doesn’t hinder front-end performance.
  • Post – In WordPress, a post typically refers to ‘Article’ content, or any time of dynamic, time-oriented pieces of content.  Posts are updated regularly and would commonly display in a listing.
  • Post Type – A unique type of content made up of structured data that is consistent with that specific content. By default, WordPress comes with the following post types: post, page, attachment, revision, and nav-menu-item. A custom ‘post’ type may be created based on the Information Architecture and content needs for the WordPress website. For example, a ‘Resource’ or ‘Event’ could be a custom post type.
  • Post Slug – A string of lowercase words typically separated by dashes (usually from the title) that describes a post or page to create a user-friendly permalink.
  • Plugin – Software that extends WordPress functionality. Common examples include: Yoast (for SEO support), Gravity Forms (for easy-to-create forms), and TinyPNG (to support image performance.)
  • Region – Defined sections of the page where content can be placed. The basic regions include Header, Footer, Content, Left sidebar, Right Sidebar, although it will vary based on the theme.
  • Relative URL – A partial URL that is interpreted relative to an absolute or base URL. If the absolute URL is https://www.taoti.com/blog/, the relative URL here is ‘/blog’
  • Roles – Sets of permissions assigned to users. For example, the administrator role, who can do everything on the back-end of the website, and an anonymous user, who can read public posts and pages on the site. Roles are usually customized based on the workflow and security requirements for each client.
  • RSS – Shorthand for Really Simple Syndication – a way of syndicating one or several types of content such as news or press releases that may be frequently updated on a website. An RSS feed typically contains the content title, date, and a summary of the content or full text.
  • SEO – An acronym for Search Engine Optimization, the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a site by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
  • Tag – A keyword that describes a piece of content. A page or post can have multiple tags, if appropriate.
  • Taxonomy – A powerful feature of WordPress that allows content administrators to classify content in a number of ways using keywords, and then dynamically reuse that content throughout the site. In WordPress, there are two built-in taxonomies: categories and tags. Custom taxonomies can then be created based on specific content if needed.
  • Term – A classification, group, or subset of a specific taxonomy in WordPress.
  • Text Editor – The WYSIWYG Text Editor closely resembles the options you’d see in a Microsoft Word document. The formatting applied to a WYSIWYG area translates to the front-end with the applied styles of the web design.
  • Theme – A collection of files that define the look and feel of the WordPress site. Every installation of WordPress has a default theme, which can be customized based on the design of the new site.
  • UX – An acronym for User Experience, a process used to design and develop products, tools, and services that provide impactful and relevant experiences to an organization’s end users.
  • Widget – A designated area on a page that performs a specific function, for example, a widget in the right rail of a Post that displays the top five most recent posts.
  • WYSIWYG – An acronym for “What You See is What You Get,” which is a typical method for editing content. The WYSIWYG Text Editor closely resembles the options you’d see in a Microsoft Word document. The formatting applied to a WYSIWYG area translates to the front-end with the applied styles of the web design.

That’s it for now! As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Taoti team if you have questions or need clarification on any new technical terms you come across. We’re here to guide and support you through your website redesign journey.

(PS – If you’re interested in learning more about Drupal terminology, check out our glossary of common Drupal terms.)