While WordPress excels as a blogging platform because that was its original intended function, it has become increasingly sophisticated as a general tool to build websites. You could create an e-commerce shop, a portfolio, or a business site in this way.
Note that you could easily include (either upfront or at whatever point) a blog with that site if you want – as indicated below with the discussion of a page for posts. The blog does not have to be the defining centerpiece of your site, though.
Here is how you would go about setting up your WordPress as a static site, drawing a lot of ideas from WordPress themes and plugin company DesignWall.
- What exactly is a static site (vs. a dynamic one)?
- How to set the homepage of your static WordPress site
- Creating the menus of your site
- How to make your non-blog WordPress site stand out
- The option of doing posts within their own page
- Great hosting for strong WordPress UX
What exactly is a static site (vs. a dynamic one)?
A static site will have a homepage that does not change, no matter what new content you have go up elsewhere. That is in contrast to a dynamic site, which would be changing as you add new material – displaying the most recent posts from your blog. (Note that to be completely technically accurate, your site will remain dynamic if you use WordPress as its basis no matter what; however, you are essentially giving your site a static face regardless of its specific designation from a technical standpoint.)
The homepage will always use the same exact page – so let’s talk about that aspect.
How to set the homepage of your static WordPress site
You will be able to move forward with establishing this page whether or not you are just getting started with a new installation. Don’t worry about exactly what you want to say. You are able to create the page and then go back into it to figure out exactly what your message will be. Just follow these 6 steps:
- 1. Log into your WP admin account
- 2. Click on Pages in the left-hand sidebar, and select Add New Page.
- 3. Give it the simple name “Homepage” for now (which can be changed later).
- 4. Your theme may give you the option to turn off Comments and Pingbacks, typically both listed under “Discussion.” If those options are not available there, you will see them as small checkboxes on each page in the upper-right-hand corner above where it says, “Publish.”
- 5. To test and *go live with this page*, go into Reading Settings, which is within Settings in the sidebar.
- 6. There, you will see Front page displays, and you want that to be “A static page”; to complete this option, select “Homepage” and then Save Changes.
- 7. Look at your site, and you should see the Homepage displayed as your homepage.
Creating the menus of your site
It is time to establish menus for your static WordPress site. However, before we move forward with menus, think about what other pages you will need, and go ahead and create draft versions of those. Just create the pages at this point, without concerning yourself about the content. By having these pages at least in very rough place-holding form, you will be able to set up your navigation menu in a more logical and meaningful way.
Now go to the left Sidebar, click on Appearance, and select Menus. Here, you will see that you can add any of the pages you just created to your menu, which (depending on your theme) is typically displayed on your main header or in the sidebar.
You can nest whatever of the menu items you want by dragging and dropping it into position.
It is also possible to change names of menu items to whatever you want (without having to rename the linked page). Go into Menu Settings, and you can automatically add pages to the menu if that makes sense to you.
It is not necessarily a good idea to add pages automatically. That’s because you could end up with a lot of clutter. Probably you want certain pages to be especially prominent (e.g. About Us, Products or Services, etc.).
You may also have the option within your theme to change where this menu can be seen on your site.
How to make your non-blog WordPress site stand out
Probably, you do not want a mediocre non-blog WordPress site. You want a great one. Here are some tips on how to make it stronger from Alyssa Gregory on SitePoint:
- 1. Choose a strong theme. Gregory notes the importance of the theme in terms of how your content will be displayed. You may not want to have dates in your posts, for instance. Something with a magazine format will typically work well.
- 2. Figure out how pages and posts make sense. Gregory also mentions that you do not have to set up a non-blog WordPress site as a series of pages; you can use posts instead. However, using pages is more organized, from her perspective. If you do use posts or are dedicated to that structure for whatever reason, her advice would be to stick to it – because trying to create a hierarchy that crosses between pages and posts on a non-blog WP site could quickly get confusing. However, you can really use both in a meaningful way as long as the posts all appear within a certain setting, on their own distinct page (so you have someplace that you’re building content, even if it’s not the basis of the site). See below on that.
- 3. Dig into the code. Inevitably, the theme will need a little adjustment “under the hood.” That will allow you to clear out some of the more blog-centered elements that are built into the theme. An example would be when you turn off the ability to comment. You may still have a No Comments line in many themes, but that could be removed at the level of the code. It is usually also a good idea to clear out the RSS subscription option and anything else that is more of a reference to blogging than to a website without the blogging function.
The option of doing posts within their own page
You do not have to have a page for your Posts. However, if you do use the Posts on a non-blog site, you will want to organize them within a page so that the non-blog structure is the basis for everything. Actually, it does not hurt to create this page, says WPSiteBuilding.com, even if you don’t use it at this point. Generally, a blog is considered a good idea for search prominence and general engagement. This page could be called Blog or News or Thoughts or Updates, whatever you want. Just put a title, without anything on it. To test, publish that page.
Great hosting for strong WordPress UX
Are you wanting to deliver the best user experience through your non-blog WordPress site? At Total Server Solutions, we are always working to find the best, most effective ways to serve you and provide solutions to help you meet your challenges. Explore our platform.