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How to Create Your WordPress Homepage

The WordPress default is to show the most recent post on a website’s homepage. That’s not always ideal if you want fixed (static) content to represent your site or business. This WordPress tutorial shows you how to create a homepage so that the main content remains unchanged.

What Is a Static Webpage?

The main (central) content on a static webpage—aka splash page—doesn’t change. Some sites may use plugins or widgets to show updated content in the sidebars, but the main text stays the same. Think of the home page as a virtual shop window to your website. And like a real-world shop window, passing traffic is either drawn in or put off, depending on the display.

There are 2 ways to create eye-catching pages. One is to use the themes templates, which is the method shown in this tutorial. The other is to make a unique custom page. Creating a custom page will require a web designer if you don’t have coding skills. 

WP Start Page Vs. WP Post

It’s necessary to know the difference between a WordPress post and a page. Posts have a published date while pages do not. That’s because page content is timeless. Examples of static webpages are About Us, Contact Us, and Legal Disclaimers. Posts, though, offer timely content with published dates, which are typically categorised and tagged.

Categories, tags, and publish dates all help to keep posts organised and easy to search for. Static pages don’t need searchable features as they don’t get buried by newly added content.

Why a Static Front Page Makes Sense?

No site owner gets a second chance to impress first-time visitors. That’s why webmasters should think carefully about what it is they want to display. Your homepage can include attention-grabbing headlines and features to attract eyeballs. A slider that displays impressive theme-related images and links is an excellent example.

Sites that benefit from a static homepage

Static homepages are usually a good idea for most types of site, and especially for:

  1. Business orientated websites that offer products and or services
  2. Portfolio websites where you get to showcase your best work
  3. Not-for-profit organisations that need to grab attention

Let’s look at why these examples benefit from a custom front page.

#1 Static home page for business sites

It’s vital for any business to show what products or services it offers to potential customers. Dynamic (changeable) homepages can portray a muddled message just like awkward domain names. Business websites can use static front pages to explain who they are and what they do. It should also have a clear navigation system so that interested visitors know how to find stuff.

#2 Static homepage for portfolio websites

A static splash page works incredibly well for portfolio websites. You can showcase your best work using text and images so that the visitor wants more. Eye-catching personal or business portfolio websites are easy to create using WordPress templates. The static home page is especially useful for creative types, e.g., artists, musicians, photographers, and writers, etc.

#3 Static homepage for non-profit

Non-profit organisations tend to have clear goals and well-defined visions. A static front page offers a powerful platform to showcase missions. These types of sites tend to use dramatic imagery and little text, but with clearly visible navigation links.

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) is an excellent example.

Now you know why the static homepage works so well for some types of projects. Let’s look at how to create one of these for your WordPress website.

How to Create Your Static Front Page in WordPress

This guide walks you through creating a static front page from scratch using simple steps.

Log in to your WP Dashboard and select Pages -> Add New from the side menu.

The Add New Page screen is similar to the Add New Post interface (see below).

Create the content for your home page as you would a regular post. That typically includes the page title, body text, media, links, and whatever else you need to make an impression.

When you’re happy with the new static page, click the Publish button. Preview the published page and make any changes if necessary.

Now we need to make sure the new file is set as the site’s homepage.

Go to Settings -> Reading from the Dashboard side menu.

The Reading Settings screen lets you choose between posts and pages for the homepage.

Follow these steps from the ‘Reading Settings’ section:

  1. Select the radio button ‘A static page
  2. Click the homepage menu to reveal the list of available pages
  3. Select the file you want to use as the static homepage
  4. Click the Save Changes button

You’ll see a ‘Settings saved’ notification in a few seconds.

Click on Welcome -> Visit Site (top left) to view the new static homepage.

Create a page to show recent posts

You can still have a separate page to display all your recent WP posts in chronological order if you want one. First, create a new, blank page in the Add New Page screen.

Give the new page a relevant title such as Recent Blog Posts or similar, then click Publish.

Return to the Reading Setting screen (Settings -> Reading)

Follow these steps from the ‘Reading Settings’ section:

  1. Select the radio button A static page
  2. Click the Posts page menu to reveal the list of available pages
  3. Select the page you want to use to display recent posts
  4. Type a number for how many blog posts you want to show on the page
  5. Click the Save Changes button

Point to note: Ignore the home page menu. Make sure it remains at — Select —

Go to Pages -> All Pages from the side menu to view the new posts page.

Click the View link under the page title.

You have now created two pages. One is the static homepage, and another is to show the most recent posts. You can update or delete these pages at any time from within the WP Dashboard.

Static Home Page Design Tips

The success of any homepage depends on its window dressing. This final section gives you a few valuable design tips. A homepage design can be personal, professional, or a bit of both. And never forget, there are no second chances to impress first-time visitors.

Here are some of the critical design areas to consider as you create your static home page.

  • Content is King. Come up with a compelling headline
  • Keep critical content above the fold
  • Think carefully about the colours and colour contrasts
  • Keep any Call to Action (CTA) buttons large
  • Make sure the home page navigation structure is smooth and obvious

Ask for constructive criticism to see if there are any common dislikes among critics. This is vital because site owners rarely see their websites in the same eyes as others see them.

Want to Learn WordPress?

WordPress is an amazing platform for building any type of website.   It’s used by large corporations and small mom & pop sites.

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