If you’re trying to build your own DIY website, it can be confusing with all of the new vocabulary floating around. I remember trying to make sense of all the web development jargon when I was first learning to code and build websites. To help you out, here’s a handy reference glossary of website terms for DIY websites:
Web Development Basics:
Hexcode – Hexcodes are how the internet uses colors. Every color has a six digit alphanumeric code that begins with a pound sign (hashtag for all the younguns). #000000 is the code for pure black, and #FFFFFF is the code for pure white.
Font – The style of typeface. There are tons of fonts out there. Plus, you can change the font weights, making the type thicker or thinner, depending on your style. And, you can use bold and italics for emphasis. Google Fonts is the best place to find and pick fonts that will work on your website.
Hosting – You need hosting to have a website, as this is where your website ‘lives’ on the internet. I use and recommend SiteGround for hosting.
Domain – The domain is your website name. Mine here is ‘chriscadalzo.com.’ You can choose any name you like, as along as it’s still available. The URL is similar to the domain, but has the ‘www’ in front.
SEO – This stands for ‘search engine optimization.’ It’s the process of getting more traffic to your website by getting it to show up when people search for things on the internet. For more, read this article on the basics of SEO to help you get started.
SSL Certificate – This is the thing that makes your website secure. If you have a lock next to your domain name at the top of the page, that means you already have an SSL. Your hosting company should provide this to you for free. (SiteGround does!)
DNS – You most likely won’t need this, but these are the name servers for your domain. You can find them in your hosting. You’ll only need this if your hosting and domain aren’t from the same company or if you move one of those.
Basic WordPress Glossary:
WordPress – WordPress is the platform that manages all your pages and content. WordPress.org is the free, open source version that lets you do pretty much anything you wan with your website. WordPress.com is the paid, much more limited version.
WordPress admin dashboard – This is where you go when you log in to WordPress. It’s the center where you can run updates, add plugins, change your theme, write and manage your blog posts, create new pages for your website, etc. Pretty much all things WordPress happen from the admin dashboard.
Menu – This is the banner across the top of the website that shows all of the different pages. It also usually shows the company’s logo, but not always.
Footer – The footer is the part at the bottom of the page. It’s usually the same on all the pages of the site.
Blog – The blog is where you create the majority of your content and write articles for your readers.
Page (vs. post) – A page is more permanent, static content on your website. It’s usually not updated very often (maybe once a year or so).
Post (vs. page) – A blog post is where you add your content. It’s usually updated and many websites are continutally adding to it. You can also organize blog posts by tags, categories, and publish dates all right within WordPress.
Advanced WordPress Glossary:
Theme – A theme is like the extra functionality and design that you layer on top of what WordPress can already do. There are lots of free themes out there, but they can be very difficult to work with if you’re not an expert. Some common themes are Elementor and Divi.
Child Theme – This is just a version of your main theme. Having a child theme is very important and is considered best practice for web development. Any updates made to the parent theme will not affect the child theme. BUT, if you don’t have a child theme and you update the parent, you may lose some of your customizations or create other problems.
Plugin – These are like apps for your phone, but for WordPress. Plugins add functionality to your site, depending on what you want it to do. I have a recommended list of what plugins to start with here.
Updates – Themes and plugins need to be updated from time to time. You’ll find the alerts for when to update them in your WordPress admin dashboard. All you need to do is check the box and then click ‘update’ and you’re all set.
Maintenance – While you’re running updates, you might sometimes find that you get an error message in a white box. The message will say that your site is temporarily down for maintenance. That’s fine, don’t panic! It should finish in a few minutes and return you to the dashboard.
WordPress Extras & Resources:
Canva – Canva is a graphic design application. I use it to make all the images for my websites. They have tons of templates and graphics to choose from, and you can pretty much create anything you’d like.
Divi – Divi is a premium theme for WordPress. It has a drag and drop visual builder and helps you build mobile responsive websites. I’ve been using it for years and build almost all of my websites with it.
API key – This is a fancy name for a password. Don’t let the tech bros confuse you! You’ll sometimes need this key to connect other accounts to your website (like Divi or Mailchimp).
MailChimp – An email provider. Get a free account and then people can sign up to your email list and you can send them newsletters or other emails. There are lots of other email providers out there for WordPress, but MailChimp is one of the best.
Yoast – This is the free SEO plugin for WordPress that I use and very highly recommend! I use it to optimize all my posts and pages to help get traffic from internet searches.