There is a lot to love about WordPress, including the thousands of free templates available to site owners. However, with those templates comes an annoying little question that seems to have no real answer: should I use a static home page or a page listing all of my most recent posts? Answering the question often determines how a WordPress site will ultimately be designed and used.
The place to start this discussion is in the arena of templates. Whether you go directly to the WordPress site or browse for templates from your administrative panel, you will see some of the mock-ups using a static homepage with a full range of posts categories, headings, subheadings, and menus. These types of templates seem to be more common today than they were when WordPress was first introduced.
Making the home page a summary your latest posts was the more common tactic used back in the day. Why? Because WordPress was originally developed as a blogging platform. Bloggers appreciated this kind of setup because it allowed their readers quick access to lots of content by way of short post descriptions.
The Static Home Page
Developers have created thousands of WordPress plugins that have extended the functionality of the CMS above and beyond just hosting blogs. You can now build an entirely functional WordPress website that includes everything from e-commerce to product reviews to embedded video and audio. A website with such advanced features is a good candidate for a static homepage.
The static homepage makes it possible for you to create a launching pad for the rest of your site. Most modern templates let you include dynamic slide shows as well, making it possible to produce a very attractive homepage that encourages your readers to look around.
Enabling a static home page is very simple to do. You have two options:
- Navigate to the ‘Reading’ category of the Settings menu and configure your static page using the first four options.
- In the Themes administrative panel, click on the ‘Customize’ button of your currently active theme. The last option on the menu bar to the left of the page lets you set your static home page options.
Most Recent Posts
If you are operating a site consisting primarily of blog posts or other similar information, a home page featuring your most recent posts is probably the better option. Search for a blog-oriented theme before setting up your site. For an already existing site currently using a static home page, the same directions from above can be used to change it to the ‘most recent post’ option.
As a side note, site owners using the ‘most recent post’ option might want to make themselves familiar with the ‘more’ tag. This tag makes it possible to limit what people see on the homepage to just short descriptions of individual blog posts. You can enable the tag from within the post editor by clicking on the appropriate toolbox button. It will automatically insert the tag wherever the cursor is currently located.
Now you know a little bit more about static versus ‘most recent post’ home pages. Choosing the right one for your WordPress site should be easier.