How to make a static front page in WordPress

When someone who is new to WordPress, they will discover a lot of interesting things that they were not aware can be done, or even things that cannot be done. But this article is not about what “cannot be done”, it’s going to focus on a very common problem that many ask a certain question, albeit in different forms, “How can I have my front page not show blog posts?” The answer often eludes many because it’s not really on their mind when they first install WordPress.

Why is my Blog Always on the Front Page?

It can be frustrating, but without going into a long history about WordPress, the front page is always going to show your blog post summaries until you change it. This is because WordPress is actually a blogging content management system (CMS), so this is why when you first install WordPress, you get a front page of posts. Back in time, this is why people were using WordPress…for blogging…publishing posts! But times have changed, and we now see this very popular CMS get used for more than just blogging, we see it used for business websites, e-commerce stores, social sites, and even a combination of different uses.

Technically, you don’t have to use WordPress as a blog, or have a blog period; use it as a static HTML website by taking advantage of the content management capabilities to build your website. WordPress actually lays out four front page models for layout and structure….sorry WordPress, I’m going to borrow some of yoru content here….

There are four models for WordPress layout and structure, three that include static front pages.

  1. Blog: This is the traditional front page format with posts featured in reverse chronological order.
  2. Static Front Page: This is a traditional static HTML site model with a fixed front page and content placed in Pages, rarely if ever using posts, categories, or tags.
  3. Static Front Page Plus Blog: This model features a static front page as an introduction or welcome plus a blog to manage posts. Pages may be used to provide timeless content such as Contact, About, etc.
  4. Dynamic Front Page: Sometimes called the integrated model, the dynamic site design features a static front page plus blog, however the front page is dynamic. It may feature a combination of static and blog content (Page and posts). The Twenty-Eleven WordPress Theme offers that feature as an example with their Showcase Page Template. It features the most recent post in full or excerpt followed by the next most recent posts as post titles. There is an option to add a slider for featured posts set as Sticky Posts above the first post, creating a dynamic mix of content on the front page.

The above are probably the most common models for websites, although the 4th option is usually based on the theme you use. Depending on the method you plan to use, there are generally three (3) steps to creating a Static Front Page for your website.

Step 1 – Create a Front Page

This is step is based on not having a page created yet, so let’s get started by going to Pages >> Add New

add new page

One you click on “Add New“, you get an editor window popup which you can now setup your front page by first typing in a title for your page. You can make this whateve you want, whether it’s named as “Home” or “Welcome to my Website”, this will be totally up to you.

enter page title

Now it’s time to select the page template for your new front page. This will depend on the theme you use because not every theme includes addition templates (although most do). Choosing your template will display your page in a style and layout that it was designed for.

To select your page template, look over to the right column of your editor window and you will find a box titled as “Page Attributes“. Inside this will be a few options like “Parent“, “Template“, and “Order“.

page attributes box

This is a select list, so all you have to do is click on the down-arrow of the Template option and then select the template you want to use.

After this, click on “Publish” button in the upper right column of your editor to publish your new front page.

Step 2 – Create a Blog Page

This step is almost like Step-1, except we won’t be adding content or selecting a page template.

Once again, go to Pages >> Add New

Now we need to title our page as “Blog” or whatever you choose, although the most common title is Blog.

We do not need to add content to this page because it won’t show up on the front-end of our website, nor do we need to select a page template. We will skip those two steps and simply click on the “Publish” button.

Step 3 – Get WordPress to Use our new Pages

This last step is to get WordPress to use our two pages we created, one for the front page and one for the blog. To do this, we need to go to Settings >>Reading

settings reading

Once there, you will see a section labeled as “Front Page Displays” with with two settings, one for the front page and one for the blog. Both drop down select lists are going to be non-functional until you change from the current “Your Lates Posts” to “A static page” option.

front page setting

Right after you choose “A static page“, you can now select the page you want to use for your Front Page and then choose the page you want to use for displaying your blog posts. These will of course be the two pages we just made earlier.

set front page

If you already have your front page and blog page created from before, or if you decide to use a different page that already exists, you simply select those from the two drop down lists.

Don’t forget to click on the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of your settings page.

save changes button

 

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