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The ABCs of WordPress: 10 WordPress Terms You Need to Know

WordPress is a powerful, as well as flexible, content management system (CMS) that uses PHP commands to store and retrieve content from a database. From blogs and landing pages to online stores and business portals, it supports all types of websites.

If you’re a newcomer to WordPress, however, you’ll likely discover some unfamiliar terms when navigating the CMS’s dashboard. Here are 10 WordPress Terms you need to know.


A plugin is a package of software ( one or more files) that introduces new functionality or modifies existing functionality to a WordPress website.

As of 2020, there are over 50,000 WordPress plugins available to download, each of which offers different functionality.

Some plugins, for instance, are designed to block spam comments, whereas others add contact or newsletter forms.


Taxonomy refers to WordPress’s native organization options for posts. When creating a post, you can organize it with categories and tags: WordPress’s two primary taxonomies.

Assigning posts to relevant categories and giving them relevant tags allows visitors to find them more easily when browsing your website.

Furthermore, the two taxonomies show search engines which keywords are relevant to your website, making them valuable for search engine optimization (SEO).


Gutenberg is WordPress’s new default editor. Introduced with WordPress 5.0, also known as the “Bebo” update, it removes many of the features found in the old editor and, instead, uses a simpler block-based framework.

Whether you want to add text, an image or a video, you’ll have to create a new block. Gutenberg requires each piece of content to have its own block. Y

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You can move the individual blocks, however, by dragging and dropping them to the desired area.


A theme is a set of files that acts as a template for WordPress websites. They typically consist of PHP and CSS files that, when activated, change the website’s design and layout.

Changing your website’s theme won’t affect your site’s content.

Rather, the theme only affects the presentation of your website’s content, such as the background colors, menu placement, font type, font color, and other design elements.

Child Theme

A child theme functions the same way as a standard WordPress theme by dictating a website’s design and layout.

The difference is that a child theme is a modified version of an existing, standard theme.

This is the case with Genesis Framework and the child themes that are built to work with it. Check out the child themes on Studiopress to learn more.

To customize your website, you’ll need to edit its theme.

Although there are thousands of themes, they all require customization to achieve a unique design. Unfortunately, any changes made to your website’s theme could be overwritten.

If the developer releases a new version of your website’s theme, downloading it will erase all the changes you previously made.

By making changes to your website’s child theme, any new updates to its parent theme won’t undo your hard work.


In WordPress, a shortcode a bracket-enclosed snippet of code that dynamically adds a specific type of content to a post or page.

You can use the shortcode, for example, to embed video content, or you can use the [captions] shortcode to create text captions that wrap around their corresponding images.

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WordPress supports about a half-dozen shortcodes, each of which dynamically adds a different type of content. Additionally, many themes and plugins offer shortcodes.

Using shortcodes, you can add easily add dynamic content to your website.


Widgets are a common feature on WordPress websites. Like plugins, they can are used to add or modify functionality.

Widgets are more restrictive, however, since you can only place them in specific areas of your website.

Most WordPress themes are designed with one or more areas in which widgets can be placed. These widgetized areas are usually found in sidebar menus.

You can add widgets to your website by clicking the “Appearance” tab in the WordPress dashboard and selecting “Widgets.”

Next, click the widget you want to use and drag it to one of your theme’s widgetized areas.

Some of the most common types of WordPress widgets include:

•   Navigation menu

•   categories list

•   tags cloud

•   Photo gallery

•   Calendar

•   Recent visitor comments

•   Blogroll or links

•   Custom HTML

•   Plain text

RSS Feed

WordPress creates an RSS feed by default. An acronym for “Really Simple Syndication,” it’s a universally compatible XML file used for content syndication.

If a visitor wants to keep up your website, he or she can follow its RSS feed. The RSS feed will display the titles of your website’s latest posts as well as an except of their content.

You can check out your website’s RSS feed by entering your site’s address, followed by a forward slash and then “feed.”

It may look confusing when viewed in a web browser, but visitors tend to follow RSS feeds using an app or service that converts the data into attractive and easy-to-read content.


In WordPress, permalinks are the customizable part of your website’s URLs that trail the domain name.

Found under the “Settings” menu of the WordPress dashboard, they can affect the performance of posts and pages. If your website uses nondescript permalinks, visitors may forget the addresses of its posts and pages.

Configuring your website’s permalinks to show titles, on the other hand, encourages more returning visitors since the addresses are descriptive and easy to remember.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

WordPress uses notifications known as trackbacks and pingbacks. If another website links to one of your site’s posts or pages, it may send a trackback or pingback.

Upon receiving this notification, you can either approve or reject it.

If you approve a trackback or pingback, it will appear as a comment with a reciprocal link at the bottom of the post or page. Rejecting these notifications, of course, prevents them from displaying on your website.

With its large glossary of confusing terms, WordPress can seem daunting for newcomers. You generally won’t find these terms with other CMSs or web builders.

Rather, most of them are exclusive to WordPress.

By brushing up on your WordPress vocabulary, you can take full advantage of this flexible and powerful CMS.


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