With the growing popularity of blogs everyday more people are getting familiar with, and comfortable using the various blogging platforms. With that webmasters are turning to content management systems like WordPress to power entire websites.
One of the options of WordPress is to choose a static front page, creating a page that shows the same content instead of the the blog loop. Most WordPress bloggers are familiar with this option, however a few things should be considered beforehand.
The steps to use a static front page are quite simple: first two pages (not posts) need to be created, one for the static front page and another for the blog loop. The static front page can have whatever title you want but I suggest you call it the title of your website. Add all the content on this page that you want to show on the front page. Title the blog page “Blog” with the same page slug. Add no content to the blog page.
Go to options, then the reading subpanel, select the static front page option and choose the respective pages to use from the drop down box. Now here is where your blog theme comes into play. If your theme has a navigation bar in the header, things can get a bit messy here and my require you to customize the theme.
The navigation bar on most WordPress themes have a Home or Blog link that point to the main URL and also show links to any additional pages created. So adding a Home page or Blog page to use the static front page option my show these links twice in the navigation bar. So you may want consider learning how to change this by hard coding the navigation bar in the themes header.php file.
Another thing to consider is the static front page itself and what you want it to look like. While you probably want it to have the same look as the rest of the site you may not want it to show the same sidebar items or the title of the page just above the content.
One thing I suggest changing, or actually removing, is the title of the the page that appears right above the content on the page. If you want the site to look like a static or “regular” website then you may want to remove this, especially if the title of the page is generic like “Home”.
You have two options for removing the title on the front page, one is to edit the page.php template to remove the title on all pages or create a custom page template to use for the static front page. The code to be removed from the page.php file should look something like this:
<h2 id=”post-<?php the_ID(); ?>”><a href=”<?php the_permalink() ?>” rel=”bookmark” title=’Permanent Link to “<?php the_title(); ?>”‘><?php the_title(); ?></a></h2>
You may also want to create a different sidebar for the static front page and this option would definitely require a different custom page template, another sidebar file and possibly some additional code added to the functions.php file.
As you can see using a static front page to run your website can be as easy as creating a few pages and changing a few options or you could get into some custom coding to really make it stand out and be different. All of the information you need to customize your WordPress powered site can be found online and I suggest starting at wordpress.org. One of the steps is covered here: How To Create A Custom WordPress Page Template