What does that mean?

WordPress as a platform is ah-mazing but if you are new to it, WordPress terms can be confusing!

If you follow us at all, you’ll know that we use WordPress to build all of our customers’ websites.

But I have to admit, there’s some pretty weird terminology that may seem intimidating if you’re just getting started.

No worries, because I’ve got you covered with our cheat sheet of some of the most common WordPress terms and what they mean.

Want to see them in action?

Check out our recent video here:


Here they are in no particular order!

Dashboard/Backend/Admin Area

These all mean pretty much the same thing. It’s the part of your website that you see as soon as you log into WordPress.

Do you have trouble remembering where to go to log in? It’s a common challenge! Go to https://www.yourwebsitename.com/wp-admin. Be sure to bookmark that page so you can find it easily!


This is the person with the highest control of your site. Be super careful who you give admin rights to because that person has full access to everything on your site!


Most people think of a blog as a place where people write stuff that other people will read. In WordPress, your “blog” on your website is the place where you post your content. It is usually displayed in chronological order.

A blog can be whatever you want it to be. Maybe you want to offer tips and tricks, like we have on our website. Or you might share thoughts and insight about one particular subject. You could also post news articles or even embedded videos.

Regardless of how you decide to use your blog, one thing to remember is that it is meant to contain content that is added to over time.


A theme in WordPress is like a template. There are many free themes available, or you might choose to go with a premium theme, which you would pay for.

There are other terms that you may hear that involve themes, such as Default Theme. A default theme is simply the theme that’s preinstalled when you first install WordPress.

You may also hear the terms Parent Theme or Child Theme. A Parent Theme is the main theme that you choose for your website. It has ALL of the files that are needed to make the theme work.

If you decide to customize the theme, it’s important to not make those changes to the Parent theme. If you do and then the theme developer publishes an update to the theme, your changes may be overwritten when you apply the update. You would then have to go through and make all of those customizations again. 🙁

A Child Theme solves that problem. (Yay!) The Child Theme is a copy or an echo of the Parent theme. It is naturally linked to the Parent theme so that it picks up the updates, but it doesn’t get overwritten by them.

So what you do is create a Child Theme from the Parent Theme (a great plugin to use for that is the Child Theme Configurator) and then make your customizations in the Child Theme.


Stands for “Cascading Style Sheets”. No, it’s not a waterfall! CSS controls your website’s style: page layouts, colors, and fonts are all determined with CSS.

Featured Image

A featured image is an image you can upload on a specific page or post. That image is used in different ways, depending on the theme. For example, when you post a link to your website page or blog post on social media, the featured image may be displayed.


This is the top part of your website! It is usually the same across your website, no matter what page you are on.


This is the bottom area of your website! It is usually the same across your website, no matter what page you are on.


A WordPress plugin is a tool that you upload to your website through the dashboard. It adds additional functionality to your website.

I like to think of them the same way as an app for your phone. Need a calendar on your site? There’s a plugin for that!


A shortcode is a way to make your website do something complex using simplified code. Not every theme or plugin uses them, but many do.
One of the most common places we see them is when we install forms onto a website.

For instance, let’s say you installed Gravity Forms on your website to create a contact form. You create the form in Gravity Forms and then they gives you this little bit of code to paste on the page that may look something like this:

[ gravityform id=”” title=”false” description=”false” ]

Note: In cases like this, you don’t have to learn the code! You just need to be able to copy and paste it. Easy-peasy!


I think the term “widget” is the funniest one of all the WordPress terms.

A widget is a block of content or a feature that you can place in a specific predefined area on your website. Most of the time widgets are placed in sidebars, but they can also be in footers, headers, and other areas.

The areas that are “widgetized” are determined by the theme you’re using.


This is content that runs down the side of your website page. It’s either on the left or the right, or you can opt to not have one.

Domain Name

So a domain name is not unique to WordPress but it’s worth adding to the list! Your domain name is just the name of your website or your URL, such as www.mavrocreative.com.


You can think of hosting as where your website lives. It’s the place where you store your website files and everything that goes along with it. 

It often feels like it’s literally “in the cloud” — out there somewhere just floating around. But actually, someone is holding (hosting!) your files on their computer systems. 

There you have it! I hope that I have demystified some of the common WordPress terms for you. (And now you have something to toss out at the next cocktail party and impress all your friends!)

If you have any WordPress terms to add to the list, feel free to let us know in the comments below!

Until next time!



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