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Static Front Pages and Stores within WordPress
Use WordPress as a static site with a store
What if you're too busy to run a blog? What if you want to use WordPress as a static site with a store? In this article, Linda will answer both those questions with ways to resolve your goals.
Business Orientation, Rather than Casual Blogging
The title above does not insinuate that all business sites should shun blogs. Nor does it suggest that your blog connotes casual behaviour. Even serious sites, such as Evangelical Outpost offers a blog with a familiar WordPress template.
But, there are times when you want to build a site that does not present a blog on the front face. And, you may want to add a store for a variety of reasons – to sell goods, services (such as your design skills) or even tickets for an event. This article is dedicated to that venture...a site with a static front page and a store that you can use for various ventures.
The efforts to commit to a simple site like this can be managed easily with WordPress. At this point, you should have WordPress installed and configured and content ready for that front page.
The Static Front Page
WordPress shows your most recent posts on the front page of your WordPress site by default. If you'd prefer a static page, rather than a blog page, on your home page, then you need to change that site to give it a more CMS (content management system) feel.
But, when you create a static page in WordPress, you do not cut your legs off at the knees...you still can create a blog as well, and show those most recent posts in a "virtual directory." And, you don't need to change any code, files or templates to create this static front page. You can, however, customize that page to point people to various content, to highlight features or posts and to create paths through links to articles, categories or contributors.
In this tutorial, I am using the default template created by Michael Heilemann (the familiar one with the blue banner). You can use just about any template you wish, although the instructions below may or may not work with some templates. In the case of a template that won't take these instructions, you may need to work around them somehow or change templates.
Some templates, such as Hybrid Theme, include a way to create a static page included with the template.
If you are using the default, or some template that acts like the default, this is how you fly:
1.First, log into your WordPress site and go to the Administration Panels where you can create a new page.
2.Create two WordPress Pages. You can name the first one "Home" or "Front Page" or any other name you'd like to use. You can set this new page template to "default" template or any other custom template you'd like to use in the right column of the page creation site. Publish that page after you add the content you'd like to see on your home page.
3.The second page, which is for your blog posts, can be named "News" or "Articles" as this page will list the posts on your site. Do not use a custom template for this page – keep it at default. And, do not add content to this page. Leave it blank. Publish this page as well.
Now, go to Administration > Settings > Reading and set which page you want to use as your home page and the page you named for your blog posts (or articles):
The image above shows that I named the home page "Front Page" and the posts page as "Articles." Note that I also ticked the button for "A Static Page." You might also use Permalinks to show the "page title" in the address, since /index.php?p=423 defeats the purpose of making a static front page. Finally, just because you now have a static home page does not mean you cannot change the content on that page any time you want. The home page for your site now is just a page like any other page, which you can change at a whim.
The image above, which is part of http://www.writersseminar.com/ shows where the links like for the Articles (blog entries) and for the Home Page, which is now titled, "Front Page." By default, most themes set "Home" as a link to the home page – in this case, the static front page. Since I know have created a separate page with the title, "Front Page," there is a likelihood that another link will appear as that home page in the navigation, no matter if that navigation is in the sidebar or along the top. To change that possibility, I can edit the appropriate template file that features the code for the navigation bar.
Depending upon the template you use for your site, that code may appear in any one of a number of pages. You'll find the right page when you see the template tag for wp_list_pages. Or, you might be able to change that listing in widgets, where you can add the "pages" widget to your sidebar and use that widget to eliminate pages by ID.
For instance, in my case, I chose to add the pages widget like so:
Now, I've eliminated "Front Page" from my navigation in the sidebar. How did I know that this ID was 3? open your site to the front page with your static page in place. Click on "View Page Source," and scroll down on that page source (or use a search function) to find the page-id-number. In most cases, you can find this number in the <body> tag that immediately follows the </head> tag.
If all else fails, use the WordPress forums or a forum that might go with your theme to learn answers to your questions. I'm always adverse to changing code in WordPress files to accomplish a task, as WordPress updates may eliminate that change and I have to search for and fix the problem with each update. Instead, play around with options for your theme to see how you can change your site without changing code. Eliminate pages, if necessary and rebuild your site to fit the layout...but do this only if you have a new blog, otherwise you'll be create forwarding pages and provide 404s to visitors for pages that already have been posted on search engines.
Linda Goin carries an A.A. in graphic design, a B.F.A. in visual communications with a minor in business and marketing and an M.A. in American History with a minor in the Reformation. While the latter degree doesn't seem to fit with the first two educational experiences, Linda used her 25-year design expertise on archaeological digs and in the study of material culture. Now she uses her education and experiences in social media experiments.
Accolades for her work include fifteen first-place Colorado Press Association awards, numerous fine art and graphic design awards, and interviews about content development with The Wall St. Journal, Chicago Tribune, Psychology Today, and L.A. Times.
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