From personal bloggers to large organizations, more and more WordPress.com users choose to welcome their visitors with a homepage, a central space from which to discover their site’s content.
Make a Great First Impression with a Homepage
Most bloggers display their latest posts first — reverse chronological order is the classic blog format, after all. Many WordPress.com users, however, choose to build a static front page — a homepage — that creates a website feel and brings your long-term content to the front.
A well-designed homepage has always been a staple of major websites, like The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation — a WordPress.com VIP partner. You don’t have to be a large company or non-profit organization to see the advantages of a homepage, though. Artists and other creative professionals enjoy the benefits of portfolio sites and personal pages to showcase their talents. Increasingly, so do personal bloggers across a wide variety of niches. To give you a taste of what a homepage can do for your blog, here are some sites that use this option in a smart, creative way.
Claire, the Seoul-based kindergarten teacher behind Groovy Bow Sequence, put together a sleek-looking homepage for her travel-focused personal blog.
She uses Moka to great effect. The theme offers the option of adding a splashy post slider to the homepage, enticing visitors to click on Claire’s striking landscape images and read her posts, while still maintaining the easy navigation and streamlined look of a fixed front page. While sites with a homepage often still feature a blog section, Claire has opted to forego one altogether, presenting some recent posts on the homepage itself, and letting the rest be easily accessible through the sidebar menu.
Writer-blogger Alexandra Corinth deploys a homepage — and especially her site’s primary menu — to direct readers to her various writing projects, from her young-adult books, to her multi-genre portfolio, to her personal blog.
She chose the clean, easy-to-navigate Suits, and kept most of the theme’s out-of-the-box look. The focus here is on her content, and her homepage is a distraction-free zone — visitors will only find an author’s portrait, along with a short bio tucked into a Text Widget in the sidebar. They can then quickly decide which section of the site to explore first.
Dan, the blogger behind redstuffdan, is a retired expat living in the southwest of France. His blog is mostly about his art — a mixture of photography, digital art, and painting — and he’s opted for a homepage to showcase his creations. Right beneath a short introductory text to his site, visitors quickly plunge into a colorful tiled gallery full of Dan’s art. The gallery’s composition can be modified whenever new material is uploaded — just because the page is “static” doesn’t mean it can’t be updated and refreshed.
For the rest of the content on redstuffdan, which was built using Able, the sidebar gives visitors easy access to the site’s top posts and pages, most recent posts, as well as to older content through monthly archives.
Up From The Deep is the labor of love of Mark Ellinger, a musician-turned-photographer who chronicles the gentrifying streets of San Francisco’s grittiest neighborhoods. Creating a homepage allowed him to highlight the different types of writing on his site: a blog to which he uploads new photos regularly, as well as long-term project pages, like the ones on the Tenderloin and Mid-Market neighborhoods.
The homepage layout features a selection of images that whet the visitor’s appetite, and its primary menu leads not only to the site’s main content, but also to an extensive bibliography page and a Prints page, where interested readers can order copies of images from Mark’s website.
Creating a homepage
If you’d like to try out a front page that isn’t populated by your latest posts, setting one up is a breeze. Go to the Settings → Reading tab in your dashboard, and select “a static page.” Then, choose your desired page from the “Front page” drop menu, and you’re set. If you wish to add an optional blog section to your site as well — where your posts will be displayed in reverse chronological order — specify a separate “Posts page” in the second drop menu. Note that you can also set up a homepage from the Customizer, where you’ll need to go to the “Front” panel.
Looking for more ideas for your homepage? Here are a few more examples to inspire you:
- Haley the Wonder Dog, a resource site for owners of dogs diagnosed with cancer.
- The Lovecraft eZine, a popular horror fiction ezine that puts Oxygen‘s Showcase Page template to excellent use.
- H. G. Robert, a minimalist site showcasing the work of a soon-to-be-published author.
Feb 12th at 6:41 pm
What is the theme used by RedstuffDan?
Feb 12th at 6:46 pm
I prefer to create a blog with a sticky post, to give the reader the important “static” image at the top of the page, then blog posts below.
Feb 12th at 7:10 pm
Thanks for the idea! I’ll edit my ‘best posts’ page & make it my main page.
Feb 12th at 7:10 pm
Yes… it’s a good idea. But I think one needs to set up the blog on their own domain to get the maximum out of this static homepage protocol!
Feb 12th at 7:16 pm
Is the static homepage option available across all themes?
Feb 12th at 7:46 pm
Groovy Bow Sequence was a nice page.
But, the others you chose seem busy, and do not point to anything for the reader to follow. I am not sure I would want to do that to my readers.
Feb 12th at 7:51 pm
These are some great examples! Since I’m just starting out, I am constantly looking for good examples on how to make a good impression with my homepage. So far, I think it looks good but I only have one post!
Feb 12th at 8:31 pm
What a nice surprise – Although I’m always striving to improve the look of redstuff; this current theme let visitors see my pictures in a format that does them proud.
I love discovering the new and trending themes.
Feb 12th at 9:24 pm
Great piece of advice. Thanks!!!!
Feb 12th at 9:44 pm
Very helpful especially to newbie such as myself.. Thanks
Feb 12th at 9:57 pm
Great idea, thanks.
Feb 12th at 10:32 pm
This was very helpful! Thanks!
Feb 12th at 10:34 pm
You have motivated me to make a welcome/static front page. I have toyed with the idea for a few months now. Seeing the beautiful blogs that you have showcased here was just the push I needed. I’m excited to dig in and get started. Thank You!
Feb 12th at 11:37 pm
Thank you for this wonderful advice!
Feb 12th at 11:38 pm
Can we use different themes for the front page and other pages?
Feb 13th at 12:09 am
I’m using the “newsworthy” theme and when I try to activate a static page, the only option from the drop down is “about”. How can I change this to a real static page?
Feb 13th at 12:34 am
@Ben Huberman Thank you for featuring my blog. What a wonderful surprise!
Feb 13th at 1:59 am
I can’t seem to make it work. When I create a “Home” page and click on it to be my static page, my blog goes away. How does one direct readers to the blog, after creating the static “Home”page?
Feb 13th at 3:18 am
Thank you so much! I just started blogging in January and last night I decided to upgrade to make my sight more user friendly.This was very helpful. However, I am still trying to figure out, how do I place my pic to be shown when I comment or reply to a post.
Feb 13th at 3:28 am
Hi Ben, great post and I do want a static homepage but had issues with the mobile site. Once I went to static, it messed up the mobile page using the Graphene theme. Might that issue be specific to the theme or to the WordPress platform?
Thanks in advance,
Feb 13th at 5:18 am
Thanks for the info. I was also worried much about designing home page. Sometimes thought of sending lot of internal links from home page. Thanks for nice examples
Feb 13th at 6:18 am
I got sub page for blog post and have been using static front page about my self .
Feb 13th at 6:28 am
I never thought much about what the static page can do. I figured latest posts only made sense. I’m still new so posts like these have been really helpful. This is great, thanks! Definitely going to mess around with it.
Feb 13th at 8:57 am
To make homepages, it will be great if we have the ability to put some widgets in a page.
Feb 13th at 10:09 am
Your examples are really helpful – thank you!
Feb 13th at 10:54 am
Thanks, Ben – lots of good tips there!
Feb 13th at 1:36 pm
This is an interesting thing to think about. I spend all my blogging time writing and little time thinking about design and layout, partly because I’m not sure what to do with that side of things.
Feb 13th at 2:01 pm
I took your advice and updated my “Home” page. Much, much better. Thanks!
Feb 13th at 2:18 pm
Fantastic, I’m on it.
Feb 13th at 3:53 pm
Thanks for the ideas and examples, very helpful. I think a static page could also be used to present a brand image for people using the blog to support their business.
Feb 13th at 5:48 pm
Any specific tips about Booklite, which I am currently using. If I went to a static front page would it keep the same image, which I actually like. Booklite seems not to have a lot of customization options. Could I create a kind of ‘ table of contents’ in keeping with the Booklite look? And I would probably want to include at least an excerpt of the most recent post. Thanks.
Feb 13th at 8:07 pm
Great idea, thank you!
Feb 13th at 10:56 pm
Thank You for sharing Your knowledge! Thanks to Your article, the support pages of WordPress and the great thema Twenty Fourteen I finally succeeded in making a website with which I am satisfied (although it is not yet ready): http://www.empathieworkshops.nl
Feb 13th at 11:21 pm
Hi Ben, Thanks for answering my question, but I’m still having some issues. I created the “blog” page as per your instructions. That works great. I’d like to create a Static Front page that says “Home”, but there seems to be a page already there, which I cannot remove or edit. How do I remove the “Home” page that seems to be some sort of default page, that I did not create? If you click on the “Home” tab, and the “Blog” tab, they are the same. I am using the Yoko theme. You can view it here: http://paintingforjoy.wordpress.com/
Thanks for your help,
Feb 14th at 2:32 pm
Thank you for the advice it is really helping me figure out what to do with my blog exactly
Feb 14th at 8:45 pm
I have always wondered how to do this. Now I am excited to give it a try on my blog soon. Thanks for helping me make my blog a little more sophisticated.
Feb 15th at 3:47 am
Very useful tip!!
Got some ideas for the front page
Feb 15th at 7:49 am
Feb 15th at 9:13 am
Just what I needed to read!
Feb 15th at 12:17 pm
Very helpful tips and impressed me very much. Thanks a lot!! MicroDreamIT
Feb 15th at 3:38 pm
Ben, you told another commenter above:
“To do this, you’ll need to create another page — you can call it “Blog,” “Latest Posts,” or anything else you feel like. Then, from the same panel in the Dashboard where you selected your front page (Settings > Reading), go the “Posts page” drop menu, and select that page you’ve just created — that page will then become your blog.”
I did all this. However, I do not see a link to the “blog page” on the home page. What am I doing wrong?
Feb 17th at 8:51 am
Cool concept idea for my blog.
Feb 17th at 11:24 am
Useful, I wanted a fixed page as an introduction, and you tell me I can. Thank you.
Feb 18th at 6:21 am
Good idea. thanks!
Feb 18th at 10:36 am
Really helpful! Thanks! Ill work on mine right away
Feb 18th at 4:53 pm
Thanks for the ideas! I need to revamp!
Feb 21st at 1:11 pm
I am in awe of all these creative people. I’ve just started my site and managing to do posts once I remember how to access the driving thingy. The langauge is all new to me so I’m learning as I go along but I haven’t quite sorted out my widgets from my blog yet. I am sure your excellent advice will come in useful if ever I work out what you are talking about so many thanks.
Feb 21st at 1:22 pm
Excellent blog and wonderful advice for all of us. Merci beaucoup for sharing your experience and insights, oui?!
Feb 23rd at 6:25 pm
If I make multiple Blogs would I be able to list them on a static page?