Have you ever bought a WordPress theme, installed it, then wondered why it doesn’t look exactly the way you saw it in the preview? What about a situation where you’d like to completely remove the blog portion of your website from the homepage?
Website homepages mean a lot when it comes to conversions. This goes for email newsletter signups, sales and client leads. Yet, configuring your homepage on WordPress takes a little elbow grease to make perfect. But don’t worry, setting up and editing your WordPress homepage is just about one of the easiest tasks you’ll encounter. Then, after you know the routine you’ll have no problem completing the same task over and over with future websites.
When Would You Need to Set & Edit Your WordPress Homepage?
Seeing as how this is WordPress, a blogging platform, your blog shows up by default for a new WordPress installation. This means that all of your most recent posts show up on the first page that everyone lands on. For some websites, this is perfectly fine. For others, it doesn’t make sense from a marketing standpoint. Since WordPress has evolved into a well-rounded website builder, companies are looking for static homepages, where they can present information on products, services and the people working at the company.
For these companies, a blog is more of a secondary section that customers can navigate to if they want, or when they land on one of the blog posts from a search engine.
So, that begs the question, when would you want to set and edit your WordPress homepage?
Well, the main time is when you don’t want the blog out front. This happens when you have some of the following goals:
- More email subscribers.
- More leads.
- More sales.
- More of a focus on your services.
- When you don’t plan on having a blog at all.
- In a situation where you’re not quite ready to start a blog.
Editing the homepage is an entirely different story. Unless you’re entirely satisfied with the theme and default configuration of that theme, chances are you’ll want to edit some aspects of your website. For example, you might want to achieve some of the following:
- One or multiple sidebars.
- Show widgets.
- Have a different navigational menu setup.
- New colors, logos or other design aspects.
In short, most WordPress users make at least a few adjustments to their homepages. One of the most popular ones is adding a static page instead of the blog, while others are keen on keeping the blog but still adding all of their favorite widgets.
Now that we’ve understood the “why” behind setting and editing your WordPress homepage, let’s explore how to complete the process.
Defining a Static Homepage in WordPress
As discussed, you have the option to leave your blog on the homepage. But if you’re more inclined to make more of a landing page or add a slider or product gallery, changing this to a static homepage is required. In fact, the vast majority of premium themes you purchase are going to ask you to immediately switch to a static homepage.
Start by opening up your WordPress dashboard and going to Settings > Reading. Select the Reading tab to open up several settings for your homepage.
Find the Front Page Displays header to see exactly what your website is currently showing on the homepage. Chances are, it’s on the Latest Posts option by default. Therefore, click on the Static Page radio button to select this as your new homepage.
Upon selection, WordPress reveals two more choices for you to make. One of them asks you which page you’d like to show as your Front Page and the other is for your Posts Page. If you already have a bunch of pages made on your website (sometimes your premium theme generates the right pages for you, or you’ve already gone through and made your pages,) scroll down to find the pages you want.
For example, a standard setup would be to choose the Homepage or Front Page as your Front Page. Keep in mind, this all depends on the names you give your pages, so it could be completely different for you.
For the Posts page, you might select a page called Blog or Posts or whatever else you decided on.
Hit the Save Changes button, then navigate to the frontend of your website to see how that static page has become your homepage.
If You’d Rather Have Your Blog on the Homepage
Some folks only want to show their blog. It’s most common with, you guessed it, blogs! A general business website probably won’t have a blog as its front page, but a website dedicated solely to written content is more likely to want those articles on the homepage.
Therefore, go to Settings > Reading, then check to make sure that you have Your Latest Posts marked. You don’t have to adjust the selection for the Front Page or Posts Page. Those will be blanked out.
However, a few edits can be made depending on how you’d like your blog to show up. For example, you might want to have only five or ten of your most recent blog posts on the homepage. Some larger publications keep hundreds of posts on the front page, while newer blogs would be wise to limit it to whatever content is currently available. The syndication feed can be the same number.
Finally, you also have a big decision to make regarding how those posts are going to appear. Your choices are Full Text and Summary. The summary gives users a chance to see more posts in a few scrolls of the mouse. The full text, however, reveals every single word and image from every post. Therefore, a visitor must scroll all the way through the first post to get to the second. I’d recommend the Summary option, but lots of websites have the full text.
Creating Your Menu
Your WordPress theme isn’t automatically going to implement a clean menu. In fact, you might not see one at all.
Therefore, go to Appearance > Menus.
Either select a menu to edit by going to the dropdown or click on the Create a New Menu link. Creating a new menu makes one from scratch, while the other one might take some of the default menus that got created with your theme.
Regardless, once you create your menu or find the one you like, you can bring it up to fix the structure. For example, you might want a custom link as a menu item. Maybe you’d like to move your Blog tab a little closer to the front of the menu, allowing people to see it easier.
After your menu is organized, go to the Manage Locations tab. All themes have different menu locations, but the most common are Main Menu and Footer Bottom Menu. All you have to do is try a dropdown button to select the menu that you just created. For instance, I want my Main Menu to be placed in the Main Menu location.
Additional Homepage Editing Thoughts
From moving around widgets to customizing your homepage background, the majority of these homepage tools reside in the Appearance tab. In addition, the Customize tab (under Appearance) reveals a visual builder that’s great for uploading a logo, changing fonts and choosing your colors.
Want to Create a Custom Homepage?
If you want a custom (or customized) homepage but your theme doesn’t offer any added options for change colors, fonts, layouts etc you can always install a plugin.
- If you simply want to tweak the elements that are already on your homepage (like change a font size, or edit paddings) then install a WordPress CSS Live Editor plugin
- If you want to build a completely custom homepage from scratch, then you should have a look at a WordPress page builder plugin that includes tons of easy drag & drop elements for you to design your own layout
After all of that, your homepage is ready to go!
Are You Ready to Set and Edit Your WordPress Homepage?
Sometimes you feel like your website is broken or you’re doing something wrong, but you’ll often find that a quick adjustment with the front page display does the trick. Hopefully, you’ve found this helpful for setting and editing your WordPress homepage. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions.