While WordPress started out as primarily a blogging platform, it has now gone well beyond its initial parameters. As one of the most popular website building platforms on the Internet, it now covers all kinds of sites. While it is true that by default a WordPress installation is set up as a blog with the homepage URL displaying the list of latest posts, it’s extremely easy to craft a normal-looking website with a blog included – or even excluded if that’s what you’re looking for. The truth is that many people are familiar with how WordPress works. it is widely used because it’s free and open source, and so many hosting providers have WordPress install scripts to get you started.
In this article, we take a look at how to modify the default structure of WordPress so that the home URL displays a static landing page. If yours is a business blog for example, this would contain your company’s introduction, and helpful links to your products, contact info etc.
Creating the Landing Page
Since we want to create a static page and not a blog post, we need to select the “Add New” option under “Pages” in the WordPress administration dashboard as shown here:
You can see in the screenshot above that I’ve given a descriptive title. However, the most important part of this is the selection on the right-hand side on the section called “Page Attributes”. Over here you will see a drop-down box labeled “Templates”. Select the option called “Landing”.
Most WordPress themes should have these few defaults templates built-in. If not, I’ll be writing a follow up article on how to include them in WordPress. Save your changes and you would have created the primary landing page for your WordPress blog.
Creating the “Blog” Page
But if you replace your home URL with a static page, what happens to the one showing all of your regular blog posts? After all, if you’re going to maintain a blog you need a specific URL where people can read your posts. For this purpose, we need to create another dedicated page using a different template. Repeat all of the steps above for creating a new page and once again go to the “Templates” section. This time however instead of choosing “Landing”, select “Blog” instead.
Different templates are meant for displaying different types of information. A page using the template “Blog”, will be equivalent to your blog’s homepage and will display all of the posts in reverse chronological order. Test it out by hitting the preview button and seeing if it works.
Finalizing your Changes
So far, we’ve only prepared to change the blog homepage – we haven’t actually done it yet. To finally make the switch, click the “Reading” menu item under Settings on the WordPress dashboard.
In the resulting page, the very first section has a pair of radio buttons out of which the first is selected by default. Change the selection to the second one and in the “Front Page” drop-down box select the first page we created and in the other drop-down box, choose the second.
Now save your changes and visit the URL of your blog and if all goes well, you should see the static page you just created.
Now try and access the URL of the second page and it should display all of your blog posts. Note that you will most probably want to create a menu for your new static landing page to give access to all the parts of your site including the list of latest posts. You can read about how to create navigational menus on my earlier post.