WordPress is world all to its own and with it come a slew of terms that can be a little confusing for new and experienced bloggers alike. I’ve created this WordPress glossary to help bloggers become familiar with the basic WordPress lingo!
The dashboard is the backside of your blog also known as the admin area. You’ll be directed to the Dashboard immediately after you log into your blog and from this page you’ll access the controls to the different features available to you. In short, the Dashboard is your starting point for all tasks to manage your blog such as editing pages, publishing blog posts, running updates, etc.
The Dashboard shows different blocks with pieces of information regarding your blog. By default, WordPress shows 5 blocks on this page: At a Glance, Activity, Quick Draft, WordPress News, and Welcome. Additionally, some plugins like Yoast, Jetpack, and WooCommerce to name a few, will add new blocks with snippets of information regarding your WordPress blog.
A WordPress theme is a collection of files that provides all of the styling, and some of the functionality, of your blog. This includes the overall design of your blog, fonts, colors, layouts, etc. You can completely change the look of your blog without affecting your posts and pages by switching the theme you’re using.
There are a variety of themes to include free themes from the WordPress repository or premium themes from developers. When you hire a blog design for a custom WordPress design, what they are doing is creating a custom WordPress theme for you.
Keep Learning: How To Install A WordPress Theme Like A Pro
Genesis is a WordPress framework, or Parent Theme, that provides the structure and bones of your WordPress blog design. It comes with dedicated plugins, world-class support, and continuous updates. One of the benefits of using a framework or Parent Theme is the ability to update your theme without losing customizations, which are done through a Child Theme. There are a few frameworks available for WordPress but I truly believe Genesis is the best choice for bloggers!
A child theme, as hinted above, inherits its Parent Theme’s functionality and overall structure. The benefit of using a Child Theme is the ability to customize it to your heart’s content without fear of losing said customizations during an update which would apply to the Parent Theme only. All of my themes are Genesis Child Themes!
Further Reading: How To Choose The Perfect WordPress Theme
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A plugin is a small piece of software which allow you to add features and improve the functionality of your blog. Think of them almost as an app on your phone – out of the box you can do a lot with your phone and that functionality only increases when you add apps. It’s the same with WordPress and plings.
Out of the box, you can do a lot (and I mean, a lot) with WordPress. But once you add plugins, that functionality and flexibility only increases. You can add plugins to do thing like adding sliders, display your Instagram feed, sell products, adding contact forms, or even help you improve your SEO!
A Category is a way to group related blog posts together in a topical way. All blog posts in WordPress must be assigned to a Category, or they’ll be categorized under your default Category, usually “Uncategorized”. To learn more about categories read
- The Difference Between WordPress Categories and Tags
- How To Create, Delete, or Change WordPress Categories
Permalinks are the unique URL for each of your posts or pages. By default, WordPress uses ugly permalinks that look something like this: www.yourblog.com/?p=25. Yikes.
Fortunately, you can change this setting and define your own (prettier, more SEO friendly) permalink structure by going to Dashboard > Settings > Permalinks. If you’ve been blogging for a while though, be careful! Changing your permalink settings could mean broken links and lost traffic if you don’t set some 301 redirects. If you’re unsure of how to do this, I’d love to help you out!
A widget is a little box that allows you to add content and features to your blog in different pre-set areas known as widget areas.
Widget areas are defined by your theme and so can change from theme to them. Some standard widget areas include the sidebar, footer, below post, and header widget areas.
You can use widgets to add newsletter sign-up boxes, social media icons, custom menus, display recent posts, etc.
The text, or post, editor is where you enter the content when creating new posts and pages. In WordPress, the text editor has two modes: Visual and Text.
Visual mode is the default mode and provides a toolbar of options that allow your to format your content without needing any code. Visual mode works and feels a lot like a word processor, such as Word or Pages. Text mode allows you to write in content in HTML and you manually format your content by adding tags.
You can switch between the Visual and Text modes by clicking the tabs on the upper right corner of the Text Editor.
Further Reading: Basic HTML Every Blogger Should Know
The media library is the spot that holds any and all images, videos, PDFs and other files you upload to your blog. You can access it from your Dashboard, under “Media”, and easily add these items to your posts and pages, or edit their information.
Keep Learning: What Are WordPress’ Featured Images?
An excerpt is the truncation or shortening of a blog posts, showing only a preview of a post. Excerpts are commonly used on the homepage or archive pages.
This section looks a little different depending on the theme you are using, but its main purpose is to aid you in customizing your blog. Depending on the theme and its different functionalities you’ll be able to customize more or less portions of your blog. All of my themes come with the ability to upload custom headers, change layouts, add, remove, or swap sidebars, and change colors to fit your branding.
Lastly, the Customizer has a little “Custom CSS” section so if you know some CSS, you are able to customize even more things on your blog!
WordPress can be a little intimidating and when first starting off, the terms people use can be a little (really) confusing, but I hope this quick WordPress glossary helps you get more familiar with WordPress!