What You Need To Know: Basic WordPress Terminology

Many new Headway users get hung up on WordPress functionality – because Headway is so extensive, it’s easy to get confused and blur the line between Headway and WordPress. Defining some basic WordPress terms should help to clear up some confusion.

  1. Permalink: A permalink is the full URL to something on your website – for example, a WordPress page, or post, or even an image you’ve uploaded via the Media Uploader in WordPress. In WordPress, you can change your permalink structure – that is, you can change the way these links are built. By default, WordPress uses “ugly” permalinks – http://yourdomain.com/?p=186 for example. Not friendly! Not only that, it doesn’t have any useful keywords for SEO. To enable “pretty permalnks” or any custom permalink structure, you will need to go to Settings –> Permalinks in your WordPress dashboard. I recommend the Month/Name structure, but you can choose any option. Be careful when defining your own custom structure (rather than one predefined) as it sometimes can cause redirection issues if you don’t know what you’re doing.

    In WordPress 3.0, the text changes to "Use as Featured Image" - see above!
  2. Post Thumbnail: The post thumbnail is not defined in Headway; it’s default WordPress functionality (recent functionality). Headway makes use of the post thumbnail when showing a list of excerpts. The thumbnail is also automatically added to the single post view. To avoid showing a duplicate image, simply do not insert the image that you have set as your thumbnail into your post. Alternatively, you can use CSS to hide the post thumbnail on single post pages.  To set the post thumbnail in WordPress, go to the Post Edit page and choose the image icon next to “Upload/Insert” above the post edit box (and below the title). Go to Gallery or Media and find the image you’re looking for. If the image hasn’t been uploaded already, upload it now. Click on “Show” if the image details aren’t showing, and scroll down to the bottom of the details. Near the “Insert into Post” button there is a link labeled “Use As Post Thumbnail”. Publish your post and that’s it!
  3. Media Uploader: The Media Uploader in WordPress is where you upload any media – mp3s, images, vidoes, pdfs – whatever you need to display or store on your website. You can use the Media Uploader to upload any images that you need in your design, but typically this functionality is used to upload media that will be contained within your posts. By default, your media is stored in folders by Year, then Month. You may change your Media settings – such as maximum image size, so your large images don’t overflow the content area – under Settings – > Media in the WordPress Dashboard.
  4. Pages: Pages in WordPress are designed to serve static content – your About Me page, or a page of services where your offerings aren’t changing constantly are great examples. Posts can have comments, but the Headway Theme assumes you do not want comments on Pages. (You can enable comments to show on Pages by going to Headway –> Configuration –> Posts/Comments and checking “Show Comments on Pages” underneath the Pages settings. New Pages will automatically show up in your navigation with Headway.
  5. Posts: Posts hold content that is typically considered more fleeting, or most time sensitive. Posts show up in your blog index, and can be assigned to categories, tags, thumbnail images and more.
  6. Read More: In WordPress, you can define a custom excerpt for your post by adding a “read more” tag to your post. Not only can you define a custom excerpt this way, but you can force an excerpt where there may usually be a full post – which will hopefully get users to click over (from the feed, for example) and come to your site. 
  7. Blog Home Page: In WordPress, you can define whether your blog post index (list of blog posts) or another page should be the “home page” for your site. To do this, go to the Dashboard and find Settings –> Reading.  You can choose Static Home page and select both a home page and a blog posts page. Here you can also set the number of items in your feed and whether they should be full text or summary.
  8. Comments: Comment settings for your site – such as whether to enable threaded commenting, spam filtering and more – are set by WordPress. Headway does offer you the option to define certain comment features, such as no comments on all pages, or a replacement for the default “mystery man” icon that you see when commenters do not have an avatar. Most settings will be found through Settings -> Discussion in your WP Dashboard.

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3 Responses

  1. hey thanks for this: 7.[you can define whether your blog post index (list of blog posts) or another page should be the “home page” for your site.]

    it’s funny that what would be the most obvious 1st question about a web site or about wordpress is not mentioned much. it’s assumed I guess that “of course everybody knows this.” thanks for not assuming. maybe it’s that an index of posts is naturally the home page for most blogs (The WordPress Loop), so it doesn’t come up?

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