Website Glossary

Every industry has its own special form of shop talk.

Here's a glossary to help you understand websites better.

If you're client, head over to your support area to access the full Anatomy of a Website Guide, which you should keep by your bedside. :-)

Some handy words to know.

ADMIN BAR: The admin bar is a bar that appears at the top of your browser screen just above the site content that includes links to key parts of your WordPress dashboard. It only appears when you are logged in to your site if you have the option enabled. Visitors to your site won’t see the admin bar.

AVATAR: A avatar is a small image that accompanies a logged in website user. Avatars are helpful for recognizing website users and administrators and for adding a thumbnail image for blog post authors. If you’d like to set up a globally recognized avatar for yourself (your Gravatar), click here.

BACKUPS: A backup is a duplicate of your website stored on your server or somewhere else. There are different types of backups, including incremental, differential, and full backups, each serving a different purpose. When backing up your WordPress site it’s important to back up the database (settings and content) and all of the website files, including theme files, photos, plugins, and more. For our care plan clients, we perform automatic and manual backups using our website host, Flywheel.

BROWSER: The browser is the software you use to view web pages. Browsers include Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari for iOS, and Chrome for Android. Since each one is different, websites, pages, fonts, and colors can vary in appearance depending on what browser is used, and websites should be tests on different browsers and screen sizes.

COMMENTS: This is a blog feature that allows readers to respond and share thoughts, feedback, and comments about posts and pages. You can control various settings and filters for comments on your site, including when and if you allow comments or whether or not you want to moderate comments (approve them before the are published publicly).

CONFIRMATION: A confirmation is a notice that confirms that an action on your site or in a form was completed successfully. For example, after someone signs up to your email list, the confirmation lets them know that to complete the sign up, they must check their email and click a link to verify their email address and confirm they want to sign up.

CONFIRMATION PAGE: A confirmation page thanks visitors for taking an action and lets them know it was successful. For example, after someone confirms their email address after joining your list. This also brings them back to your website. Sometimes special offers, like a coupon, are provided on confirmation pages.

CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: A content management system (CMS) is software that allows you to login, edit, update, and manage your own website content. WordPress, while widely known as blogging software, is also a website CMS.

CSS: CSS or Cascading Style Sheets control the visual design and styles, like font, sizing, and colors, for your website. By editing the CSS for a WordPress theme, you can make changes to the design throughout the site. Check out Maple’s support document explaining the difference between CSS and HTML to learn more.

CUSTOM POST TYPE: A custom post type is a type of post that is different from a regular page or post within WordPress. A custom post type is typically used when the content for a specific type of post requires a different design or format or a different way to work with the content. Examples of custom posts might be event posts or testimonial posts that typically wouldn’t appear on a blog page.

DASHBOARD: In WordPress, the Dashboard is the main admin screen for the site you see when you login. It is the central location of the WordPress admin area where you can access all areas of your WordPress site.

DATABASE: This is where all of the content and settings for your WordPress site are stored. A database is a series of tables where information is stored, and WordPress pulls the information from those tables to display your web pages.

DOMAIN: Your domain name is the name of your website. This is what people type into the address bar of a web browser when they want to go to your website. Top Level Domains (TLDs) are primary domain names using .com, .net, .us, .co, .biz, .org, etc. Subdomains are secondary/below top level domains, for example, is the subdomain for

DOMAIN REGISTRAR: This is the company where you purchased your domain name. This may or may not be the same company as your website host. We usually recommend independent registrars because they are not trying to upsell you on services and focus on doing a good job at managing your domain. If you’d like more specific recommendations, send us an email at

FTP: FTP is short for “File Transfer Protocol.” FTP allows you to send files (HTML documents, graphic images, spreadsheets, etc.) from one computer to another via the internet. A user ID and password are needed to use FTP, unless Anonymous FTP is allowed.

GRAVATAR: A gravatar is a globally recognized avatar—which is just a fancy way of saying it’s a graphic image or photo that is tied to your email address so that it will show up automatically on other websites and blogs when you leave a comment with your email address. Gravatars are also used by WordPress in author bio boxes and user profiles.

HEXADECIMAL: Hexadecimal, often abbreviated “hex” is numbering system which uses a base of 16. The first ten digits are 0-9 and the next six are A-F. Hexadecimal numbers are used to determine (and standardize) colors on the web. For example, the hexadecimal equivalent for the color white is #FFFFFF, while black is #000000. There are other systems for identifying colors, but hex is used most often on websites.

HTML: HTML or Hypertext Markup Language is the code that provides the structure for your website. It is the language that all websites used to display pages in a browser. Check out Maple’s support document explaining the difference between CSS and HTML to learn more.

MEDIA LIBRARY: The media library is where all of your media (images, audios, videos, PDFs, documents, etc.) is stored in WordPress. Whenever a new file is added to a page or post, it is also added to the media library. The media library allows you to access all media previously uploaded to your website, to create galleries, to reuse images and files, and even edit existing images.

MENU: A menu is a list of links to help a website visitor navigate through a website. Typically, the primary navigation menu of a website is displayed next to the logo at the top of the website in a row. Menus can also be displayed in a website sidebar and footer.

MOUSEOVER/HOVER: Mouseover refers to any kind of action that occurs when a users places their cursor (that arrow you move around your screen) over a button, but before anything is clicked. The actions can be anything from a simple change in color to an intricate animation. Color changes or animations help users recognize that a piece of text or image is a is a button or link.

PAGE: A page is typically used to present general, static information and traditional-style website content. Common pages include: Services, Products, Programs, Portfolio, Speaking, Media, About, Testimonials, Contact, etc.

PERMALINK: A permalink is a permanent URL for a page or post or even a piece of content. A URL for a web page is a permalink. WordPress allows for pretty permalinks, which are more readable, like, instead of Pretty permalinks are easier for people to read and use, and they provide a better SEO benefit as well.

PHP: PHP is the dynamic code language used in WordPress that provides flexibility for many different types of functions.

PLUGIN: A plugin is a stand-alone product (in other words, code) that gets “plugged-in” to WordPress to add extra functionality and features to your website. Once installed, plugins can be activated/deactivated from the Plugins page in the admin Dashboard of your WordPress website. Plugins can do many different things, from provide extra security to your site, allow custom fonts, add a store with products, animate features of your site, and much more.

POST: Posts are articles or other forms of content used to populate the blog section of your website. Posts usually have specific publish dates and are attributed to a specific author. They are organized with categories and tags, and include social sharing icons, and the ability for visitors to leave comments. Some websites use the post function to publish events, testimonials, or other pieces of content. See the glossary entry on “custom posts” for more information.

POST/PAGE EDITOR: This is the area where you do your writing and work with your page content or the content for a blog post.

POST STATUS: Post status refers to the status of a blog post as set in the Write Post panel for a post. Status settings include: Published (everyone can see it), Draft (incomplete post, not visible to the public), or Private (visible only to users with administrator access. You can change the status at any time.

RSS FEED: RSS or Rich Site Summary is a series of web feeds for content that updates regularly. WordPress has RSS built in for the full site, as well as specific categories and authors. People can subscribe to an RSS feed and get the content delivered to them through an RSS reader or by email.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO): Search engine optimization is the collection of actions to get a website found and indexed by search engines. This is the process that affects the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s organic (unpaid) search results. It also creates opportunities to gain natural, free, and organic traffic to a site. Read our support document about SEO here.

SITE ICON: A site icon is 512x512 pixel icon that is resized and reused for items like the small image on a website browser tab and the icon for your site in smartphones.

STYLESHEET: The CSS file, also called a stylesheet, is where the design and structure of your site come together. In every template file, there are HTML elements wrapped around your template tags and content. The CSS file, or stylesheet, for your theme contains the code that controls the design and layout of each HTML element—it sets instructions for how site content (HTML) is displayed. Without these instructions, your page would simply look like a long typed page of text. Learn more here.

THANK YOU PAGE: This is the destination page a visitor is taken to after completing an action on your website. For example, after filling out your Contact page contact form, after opting-in for your email newsletter or free offer, or after filling out a free strategy session web form, a visitor might be taken to a Thank You page. The Thank You page is where you deliver on the action taken by the visitor and set expectations for what happens next.

THEME: A WordPress theme is a collection of files and templates that work together to produce the structure of a WordPress website. A theme modifies the look and feel of the WordPress site, but not the core WordPress code. If WordPress is the wood framing of a house, a theme is the exterior siding, roof, and paint. Some themes are built as standalone themes, with all of the code for the functions and the design included. Others are built as child themes, which means they contain only the code related to the design, and leverage a parent theme that handles all of the main functionality of the site. Keeping the core functionality in the parent theme and the design in the child theme makes it much easier to push out updates without affecting the design of the site.

WEBSITE HOST: This is the company that provides the space where your website and all associated files, software, and applications are stored online. When you purchase website hosting, you are in reality purchasing a small space on the internet.

WIDGET: A widget is an area of your website that is able to display something that is edited somewhere else. For example, a menu, created separately, can be displayed wherever you want across your site—the header, sidebar, footer, etc.

If you’re ready to learn more, head to our full Tutorial Library!

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