How to Set your WordPress Homepage the Right Way (A beginners guide)

wordpress-set-homepage
You’ve painstakingly gone through hundreds of WordPress themes. And finally found one that’s just right for your new website.

Excited, you install this theme and fire up your website in the browser.

What you see on the screen, to put it mildly, is disappointing. Your website looks nowhere like the theme demo. It isn’t even anything like the screenshot.

It’s natural to feel disappointed.

But before you let that feeling turn in to frustration, let’s understand why this happens. There are two reasons why your website doesn’t look like the theme’s demo.

  1. There’s very little or no content on your website, yet.
  2. You haven’t configured your homepage.

You’ll add more content to your website over time. So that’ll take care of the first reason.

Most WordPress themes come with a custom homepage. Even if your theme doesn’t, you can easily create a custom homepage for your WordPress website. Setting up your homepage the right way will take care of reason two.

In this article, we’ll look at various options WordPress offers to set up your homepage.

Starting a new website should be quick and easy. That’s why all CyberChimps premium themes come with demo content. Most of our themes also have a custom homepage. Once you import the demo content and edit it, you’ll have a great looking website in no time.

Static Front Page Vs Blog

Before we look at these options, you’ll need to decide on the kind of homepage you need.

By default, WordPress will show your most recent blog posts on the homepage. If you’re running a simple blog or a magazine website, this is fine. That way your readers will see the most recent articles (or news) when they come to the homepage.

But this won’t do if you’re planning to build any other type of website. Particularly a business or an ecommerce website.

On a business website’s homepage, you want to:

  • Introduce your business to the visitors
  • Give them a glimpse of the products (or services) you offer
  • Showcase customers testimonials or awards
  • And provide information about how interested visitors can get in touch with you

For an ecommerce store, you’ll want to showcase your products, recent product reviews and any offers you may have running.

Either way, the very first step is to set a static WordPress page as your homepage.

Set a WordPress Static Page as the homepage

Out of the box, WordPress gives you two ways to create content:

  1. Blog posts, and
  2. Pages

Which one do you use?

Blog posts are chronological entries in your blog. Each blog post has a publish date. For example, chronological content such as company news will be published as a blog post.

Pages, on the other hand, have no chronological order. They are meant for more static, evergreen content. So, timeless content such as your ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ information should be published as pages. As an example, for a non-blog website, your home page will have static content. And should be published as a static WordPress page.

Now that you know what a WordPress page is, let’s look at the three steps you’ll need to set a static page as your homepage.

Step# 1. Create a Static Homepage

In this step, we’ll create a WordPress page, that we’ll later set as the home page. To create a page in WordPress login to your WordPress dashboard admin area, then:

  1. Click on the Pages >> Add New menu.
  2. Add a page’s title and content.
  3. Then click on the Publish… button to publish your page.

wordpress-create-static-homepage

Step# 2. Create a placeholder Blog Page

Since our homepage will now be set to the page we created in step 1, we’ll need another page to display our blog posts. This page will serve as a placeholder to display our blog posts.

To create this placeholder blog page:

  1. Click on the Pages >> Add New menu.
  2. Set the page title. For now, let’s set it to ‘Blog’. Don’t worry about the content.
  3. Then click on the Publish… button to publish your page.

wordpress-create-static-homepage

This is an optional step. You can skip this step if you don’t plan to publish any blog posts on your website. You can create a WordPress website using just static pages.

If you decide to publish blog content in the future, you can always come back to this step.

Step# 3. Set the Static Front Page & The Blog Page

In this final step, we’ll configure WordPress to display our static page as the homepage. We’ll also tell WordPress to display our blog posts on the placeholder Blog page we created in step 2.

To set the static front page and the blog page:

  1. Click on Settings >> Reading in your admin dashboard.
  2. Set Your homepage displays to A static page.
  3. Select the static page we created in step 1 as the Homepage.
  4. Select the placeholder blog page we created in step 2 as the Posts page.
  5. Click Save.

wordpress-set-homepage

You can also do this from the Appearance >> Customizer >> Homepage Settings option.

In case you prefer video, we have a slightly dated version of these steps as a video tutorial. The UI is pre-WordPress 5.0. But the instructions remain the same.

Changing the WordPress homepage

It should be obvious by now. But if you want to change your homepage and set it to another page, follow step 3 above. And select the new static page as your homepage.

Add the Home Link to the Menu

Typically a navigation menu will contain a ‘Home’ link that points to the homepage of your website. What happens when you change the homepage? Do you have to go back to the navigation menu and change the link as well?

Fortunately, no.

WordPress makes it easy to add a custom ‘Home’ link to your site. This link will always point to the homepage of your website, no matter which page you set as the homepage.

To add this ‘Home’ link to the navigation menu:

  1. Go to Appearance >> Menus in your WordPress admin dashboard.
  2. In the Pages box, select the View All tab.
  3. Check the “Home” checkbox.
  4. Then click Add to Menu.
  5. Finally Click Save Menu.

wordpress-custom-home-link

Blog Page Options

WordPress also gives you a couple of options for the blog page. With these options, you can control how blog post entries appear.

Number of post entries to display on the blog page

This option controls the number of blog post entries that appear on the homepage. In case you have more blog post entries, they’ll be displayed on page 2, 3 and so on.

Visitors can navigate to the next page using paging links. You theme decides how these paging links appear.

To set the number of post entries to display on the homepage:

  1. Click on Settings >> Reading in your admin dashboard.
  2. Set the “Blog pages show at most” option to the number you desire.

wordpress-blog-page-number-of-posts

Keep in mind that sticky posts simply ignore this number. For example, if you set this number to 10 and have a single sticky post, 11 blog post entries will be shown on the blog page.

Post entry content display mode

You can also control how the content of your blog post entry appears on the blog page. You can either choose to show the entire content of the blog post or just the summary.

To set this option:

  1. Click on Settings >> Reading in your admin dashboard.
  2. Set the “For each article in a feed, show” option to the option you desire.

wordpress-blog-page-content-summary

Note that this option may not work with all themes.

Conclusion

Unless you’re running a simple blog, you’ll most likely need to set a custom WordPress homepage. In this article, we looked at how to create and set a static WordPress page as the homepage.

We looked at how to add a custom homepage link to the menu. That way no matter what page you set as the homepage, this link will always point to the site’s homepage.

In addition, we also looked at how to set a custom blog page and decide how blog posts entries appear on it.

Your turn.

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About the Author

Susmita is an engineer, a writer and a dancer - not necessarily in that order ! Ever since she discovered WordPress, she has not ceased to be amazed by how this community-driven platform brings people together - in more ways than one. And yes, she loves binge-watching movies !

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