Any business owner who works with a developer should be at least slightly educated in the lingo that computer nerds use when discussing your website. This guide is designed to help you understand tough concepts and technical jargon you might not be familiar with in terms of your WordPress based website.
A Content Management System (CMS) that allows you to build around a central database (this database is located on a web hosting server) and serves your website content to the site visitor dynamically.
Constantly changing/updating based on inputs sent to the database that in turn, creates website change
Changes that require more labor intensive manual inputs to create website change. This content is hard-coded into the page.
I don’t know about you, but I’m already tired! So let’s break this down a little further with a simple analogy.
Say your website is equivalent to a cheeseburger. You really want to create a great meal. So, you have two options:
1. Go to a restaraunt
2. Make it yourself
WordPress (and other CMS’s) is similar to a restaraunt. There are a ton of codes being written in the background, like the kitchen staff making your food. All you have to do is tell the server what you would like them to prepare. In the same way, you tell WordPress to pull data from your database to make a great website. This is why it is known as dynamic.
When you make your cheeseburger, or your website, by yourself, it requires a lot more work. All of your code is on each specific page that needs to be changed manually. If I want blue text and it is not written into my database files as a theme, I need to go in and code that to the specific page that I am working with. Just like if I want lettuce, I have to go to the fridge, pull some off the head (of lettuce, obviously), and put in on each cheeseburger I make.
This manual process makes a website static. It can be very effective for those who know what they are doing, but can be frustrating and time consuming for those who have no idea what to do. If you don’t know how to cook a burger, save yourself (and those you feed), and have the restaurant (CMS) do it for you.
Okay, I think we’re all “analogied” out. Let’s move onto some more terms.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language):
a language used on the text editor side of your web page that allows you to change colors, bold words, create hyperlinks etc.
Using HTML in WordPress can be like using Microsoft Word and writing in gungan. Kidding, but not kidding. HTML can be easy to learn if you take the time. There ar
e a number of websites out there that can help you practice the basics without messing anything up! Check out http://www.w3schools.com/ for some free practice.
predefined codes that, when used in your WordPress site, can be a simple way to add pre-formatted content elements to a page
Shortcodes are the step between basic text editing and actually coding. There is usually an editor box built into your CMS to help you create shortcodes on your own.
Some examples of shortcode functions are creating boxed content, creating accordion or tabbed function content, and adding image gallery functionality. Typically, people who don’t understand how short codes work, accidentally take them out of their website and cause their page to break (this is also true with html).
Read this great blog post written by one of our finest programmers, Mike, to understand more about shortcodes and HTML.
In the words of Mike, “Please document what you delete.” If you’re going to make a change, make sure you preview those changes before you save to make sure it didn’t break something AND make a note of what you are changing. Otherwise Mike gets calls that make him feel like the Lego guy you stepped on last night while trying to find the light switch.
Hopefully, this makes you feel more prepared when you walk into your next WordPress website development meeting! If you want to know more website development lingo, feel free to contact us here at Art Unlimited. May the shortcodes be ever in your favor.