Now I will attempt to create a glossary that explains to clients who would like to have a WordPress-based website, what the different terms and acronyms mean in the WordPress ecosystem.
This article can also be useful for site builders and developers. Just send this article’s link to your clients, so they can learn what you are talking about when you say: CPT, Ajax, ACF or similar things.
I’ll try to regularly update this article. However, if you miss a term from the list, just drop me a comment at the bottom – and I’ll add it with the next update.
Site building Glossary for WordPress
|Accessibility||Web Accessibility is the collection of practices that are done in order to make the information of the website accessible by everyone (especially people with disabilities).|
|ACF||Advanced Custom Fields. A plugin for WordPress that allows you to add extra information to your posts and pages that shouldn't be directly added to your post content. A widely used plugin, you can learn more about it here.|
E.g. you must have seen on e-commerce sites that after you click on the "Add to Cart" button, the page doesn't reload, but a spinner icon appears, maybe with the text "Adding to cart...". In these and similar cases an "AJAX call" is running in the background.
|Brief||A document that describes your project. The more detailed your brief is the easier it is for the developer or agency to make an estimation for it and to finally deliver you what you really needed.
Here is an article about how to write great briefs for a WordPress development project.
|Category||A built-in taxonomy in WordPress used by Posts by default. With categories you can create different groups of posts. Categories can be hierarchical.|
|CMS||Content Management System. In the world of websites a CMS is a software that lets you edit your website data using an admin dashboard and displays it in the front end using templates. WordPress itself is a CMS.|
|Conversion||An event on a website when the visitor does the desired action and thus is promoted to the next level of the sales process.
Examples of conversions:
|Conversion Rate||The percentage of the users who have promoted from the previous level of the sales process to the current one (= number of conversions / size of the previous level group).
E.g. if you had 100 unique visitors on your website in the previous month and 6 of them subscribed to your mailing list, then your Conversion Rate was 6%.
|CPT||Custom Post Type. By default, when you log into wp-admin, you can see 2 post types: Posts and Pages (there are others, too, but it's easier to undersand this way...).
However, if you need a new type of content (e.g. Products, Portfolio items, Cars, Appartments, etc. - based on what your business needs), you can add them as a new Custom Post Type (CPT).
Custom Post Types work the best when they have a corresponding template in your WordPress Theme. E.g. if you have a look at WooCommerce, it adds Products as a CPT, and it has its own template for displaying products.
|Cron||A server-side program on Unix-like systems that is responsible for running othe programs automatically. With cron you can set up to run a script e.g. daily, in the 37th minute of every hour or on the 4th day of each month, etc.|
|CSS||Cascading Style Sheets. A programming language that is used to describe how the HTML elements on your website should look. This is where you define the colors, the sizes, the backgrounds, borders, etc. Learn more about CSS here.|
|CTA||Call to Action. Usually a visual element, a button or a form on your website that helps the visitor do a desired action. A CTA often triggers a conversion event.
E.g. a "Click here to register" button is a typical CTA element.
|GDPR||General Data Protection Regulation. A new data protection law on its way to take effect on 25th May 2018. It raises strict rules for storing personal data (like name, address, IP-address, email, etc.) of EU citizens.
It raises the need of almost all companies to review how they store user's data and make changes if needed - as fines for breaking these rules can be immense. Read more about GDPR here and here is an article that collects what we can do with our WordPress site to become GDPR-compliant.
|Git||Git is a Version Control System (VCS). See Version Control.|
|Grid||Some web page layouts are built up using a so-called Grid System. A grid usually splits the web page into 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 or 16 columns, then while building up the page from different items you can specify how many columns the current item should use.
E.g. in a 12-column grid system a 8-column + 4-column set up can be used to have a main content area of 2/3 width and a sidebar of 1/3 width.
Another advantage of grid systems is that they help a lot in making your website responsive.
|Gutenberg||Gutenberg is the project name of the new WordPress post and page editor that is expected to be released in WordPress 5.0. Until then it can be downloaded as a plugin.|
|HTML||Hypertext Markup Language. The basic language that defines the website's elements. If you click on "Inspect element" or "View source" in your browser, you can see the page's HTML source. You can learn more about it on W3Schools.|
|HTTP||Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Describes how the web pages are transmitted between a server and a client computer. Every time you load a file for a webpage (HTML, CSS, JS, image files, etc.), a new HTTP request is sent to the server, and it responds with the requested data or an error message.|
|HTTPS||HTTP Secure or HTTP over TLS/SSL. The secure version of the HTTP protocol, where the data is sent encrypted over the internet. Not too long ago Google made using HTTPS instead of HTTP is a ranking factor in Google Search.
If you are about to switch from HTTP to HTTPS, this article can be a good starting point.
|Mockup||Used in website planning for planning the layout of the pages. It is not really the design itself, just a simplified presentation of the look and feel.|
|Multisite||Formerly called WPMU. Multisite is a special WordPress installation that can host multiple sub-sites.
It is useful when you need a network of sites that are very similar to each other, e.g. regional sites of the same company that should use the same theme.
|MVP||Minimum Viable Product. When designing a web app, it's a good idea to think of what the minimal functionality is that the app can be launched with. It has 2 major advantages:
A) You can come up with a working version earlier, so you can get feedback faster.
B) You can develop the further versions based on the initial feedback - so don't have to put too much effort into something that is not important for your users.
|Online Marketing||Online Marketing is a collection of methods with an aim to sell your services or products on the internet. It is a quite broad notion, contains all activities done on your website, in your email marketing, on other sites in order to attract more visitors to your site, etc.|
|PHP||A server-side programming language. WordPress is written mainly in this language.
How it works in a nutshell: the web server runs the PHP code that creates an output, which is often the HTML code of the webpage. This way, with PHP you can create pages that can have different content based on the circumstances / settings (dynamic web pages).
|Plugin||By default, WordPress is capable of building only simple websites: a few static pages + a blog. If you want to extend it's functionality (e.g. add contact forms, add eCommerce functionality, discussion forum, etc.), you have to install plugins (a.k.a extensions for WordPress).
To install a plugin, just go to Plugins » Add new in wp-admin, and follow the instructions.
|Post||In the WordPress ecosystem a "post" usually means a blog post.|
|Responsive||A website is responsive if it reacts to the screen size and navigation methods of the device it is viewed on.
E.g. a responsive website can be optimized to be 1200 pixels wide on a laptop screen, while on a small cell phone screen it can rearrange its elements to be only e.g. 400 pixels wide (together with optimizing it for touch events). This way the site can keep an optimized user experience regardless of what it is viewed with.
|Server (hardware)||A powerful computer that should be always on and that hosts (runs on demand) web pages (and/or other data).|
|Server (software)||A memory-resident program that listens to requests from the network. If a request comes in that it can serve, then it runs the necessary code / commands.
E.g. a web server (like Apache or Nginx) listens to HTTP requests. And if one comes in, it returns the requested page to the user (or an error if the page was not found).
|Sidebar||A sidebar is a template part that is usually displayed on the left or right hand side of the main content area. In WP development it's often a synonym for widget areas.|
|Slider||A visual element on a website that changes the displayed image (or other elements) with a visual effect. Usually the change is triggered when a specific time is elapsed (e.g. change the images every 10 seconds) or a user action is performed (e.g. click on navigation arrows).
The most popular slider plugins in the WordPress ecosystem are Slider Revolution and LayerSlider.
|Speed Optimization||The faster a website is the better it is. 2 main factors, why:
The most popular tools for checking how quickly your website loads: Pingdom Tools, GTMetrix, Google PageSpeed Insights.
|SEO||Search Engine Optimization. A collection of methods and activities that are done in order to achieve the best possible positions in search engines like Google Search, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
Can be split into 2 parts:
If you want to have the best results, you should work on both on-site and off-site parts of Search Engine Optimization.
|Sub-site||A child site of a Multisite installation.|
|Super Admin||A special administartion level on WP Multisite installations. A Super admin can see the wp-admin of all subsites.|
|Tag||A built-in taxonomy in WordPress used by Posts by default. It is mainly used to mark the post with some useful keywords that can be used later e.g. in tag clouds.|
|Tag Cloud||A visual representation of tags connected to posts, where usually the more frequent tags are emphasized with bigger fonts or stronger colors.
The default WordPress package has a Tag Cloud widget.
|Taxonomy||In WP, a taxonomy is an entity that can be connected to different post types. It helps grouping the posts based on different aspects.
E.g. on a news site you can easily group articles by adding categories to them like "politics", "economy", "sports", "arts", etc.
|Template||In WordPress a template is a PHP file that displays a post or a page. To find out which template will display which page, have a look at the WordPress Template Hierarchy.|
Changing the theme can display the same data with a completely different look.
The best places for looking for WordPress themes are the WP Theme Directory and ThemeForest.
|UI||User Interface. The visual part of an application that makes it possible for the user to interact with the app or with other users. It's a perpetual challenge of software planning to make the UI as easy to use and intuitive as possible.|
|URL||Uniform Resource Locator. Generally this is a web address. Everything that can be seen in the browser's address bar are URLs. It starts usually with http:// or https://.|
|User Flow||See User Journey.|
|User Journey||Planning your user journeys should be part of the planning phase of each of your projects. It's generally writing down what can happen to the visitors after landing on your site. The bigger your site is the more number of user journeys you'll probably have.|
|UX||User Experience. How your users will feel on your site and how easy it is for them to find/do the desired things.
It is highly recommended that you plan your User Experience before you start to create the site.
|Version Control||When a bigger project is being done in programming, it's recommended to track the changes of its source code with a Version Control System. This way it can be tracked who changed what and when in the code.|
|Widget||A small tool / visual element that can be placed in sidebars / widget areas. Some widgets are shipped with the WordPress Core, while others can be added by plugins.|
|Widget area||A special space in WordPress templates where you can drop widgets. You can add widgets to them in WP-Admin » Appearance » Widgets.|
|WooCommerce||The most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress is WooComerce, used by more than 3 million people.|
|WordPress Core||A pure WordPress installation, without any plugins or extra themes. In WP development when developers mention it, they usually mean the files inside the /wp-includes, /wp-admin and the WP root directory.
It is a "deadly sin" in the WP world to modify these files, as your modification will be overwritten by the next WordPress update (making the site maintenance a nightmare).
|WP-Admin||The admin dashboard of WordPress where you can set up everything about your WordPress site. You can reach it if you put /wp-admin after your home page's URL.
E.g. www.example.com » www.example.com/wp-admin
|WP-Cron||WordPress' own implementation of Cron.
It is a limited functionality cron, which means that it needs a page load process to trigger the automatic run event.
If you feel like something is missing from the list, please drop me a message below in the comments section:
Thanks for putting this together, it’s very informative. If you ask me I would have added Accessibility, GDPR and SEO.
Good to see an old friend commenting on my blog! 🙂
Thanks for your input, I’ll add these very soon!