If you have poked around the settings for customizing your WordPress theme, you have undoubtedly run across the ‘front page’ setting that lets you determine what visitors will see when they first land on your site. The default setting is to make your front page a running list of your most recent blog posts. Your other choice is a static page.
It is probably safe to say that most new WordPress users stick with the default setting because they either do not know how to change it or are afraid of breaking something by doing so. Well, let us be the first to tell you that the default setting is now passé. Not only does it offer very little by way of SEO benefits, but it also will not help keep new visitors on your site.
The modern internet user is better served by a static front page. Here’s why:
- Visitors Look for Value – When visitors land on a website for the first time they are looking for some sort of value. If they do not see it within the first half minute or so, they will be on their way. You may think that a list of your most recent blogs offers value, but it does not. See the next reason for an explanation.
- Visitors Don’t Always Read – Website visitors are more apt to skim than read. Didn’t you skim this post before you began reading? If skimming didn’t offer something that piqued your interest, you would have passed up this blog post and moved on to something else.
- Internet Users Are Visual – We have reached a place in the online world where visual content is more appealing than text-based content. That is not to say you shouldn’t be writing blog posts; it is to say that you need something that’s eye-catching if you want to hook visitors long enough to encourage them to read.
- Blog Posts Are Tools – Finally, the blog posts you write are not an entity unto themselves. They are tools for engaging your visitors in the hope of converting them to paying customers. As such, no tool should be the centrepiece of your website. The centrepiece should be a static front page that tells visitors what they can expect from your organization.
Setting up a Static Page
You can set up a static front page very simply. There are two ways to do it. The first is to go into the Dashboard, then navigate to Appearance>Customize. A sidebar will open to the left. Click on ‘Static Front Page’, then tick the static page box and use the drop-down menu to choose the page you want to use. Most themes have built-in static front-page ready to go; you can modify it if you wish.
The second method is to navigate to Settings>Reading. On the new page that opens, you can use the same process described above. Tick the appropriate box and then use the drop-down menus to choose your page.