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What is the Home Page and Where is it on My Dashboard?

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This member notes that his home page doesn’t show up in the page list. He wonders where he can find it in the dashboard. WordPress uses 3 terms that can be referred to as the “Home Page”. Those terms are Home Page, Front Page and Posts Page. We discuss the difference between them and show how to create a static Front Page, a Posts page and how to make the home page display the posts.

Video Transcript

He asks, “What is the first page in WordPress? Is it always home and where can we find the first page in the dashboard or in Thesis? My first page is home but I can’t find it anywhere in the dashboard or Thesis.”

Okay this is… actually, it’s an important thing to know and what you have here is the difference between your front page and your homepage. And it’s useful actually that you said, “What is the first page?” because it draws… it uses a term that is outside of the context of WordPress which actually makes it a little easier to talk about.

On my site here, I have what’s called a static front page and we refer to this colloquially as my homepage but in fact, WordPress refers to it as the front page. On the other hand, this site here… turned on the wrong thing… on this site here, I believe it is a… well, let’s see. Let’s go to a different one that has this…oh, I can’t do that. I can’t think of…oh yeah, sure… the Community Library site. www.library… Okay, Community Library Case Study site is a site that we’ve been working on Wednesday evenings. This site here, this is not a static homepage. This is in fact, our static front page. This is in fact, a blog page and this is what this blog page is what WordPress considers to be the homepage. So WordPress uses 2 different… or actually, 3 different pieces of terminology. It uses front page, it uses homepage and it uses posts page. And for purposes of conversation about WordPress, posts page and homepage are identical. But front page and homepage are not. So in WordPress-speak, it’s usually best to talk about either the front page or a homepage.

And so this is a homepage where it displays the latest posts and that is the standard out of the box default behavior of WordPress whereas my site has a static front page which is not the standard out of the box behavior of WordPress.

Now if you want to create a static front page or if you want to access your front page, let’s exit full screen here. Now we’re back in my Customize Thesis Like a Pro Lesson 5 website where we’re going to be talking about the images again here in a minute. If we go to that site, this site has a static front page and another page, a blog page which is its posts page and WordPress considers… when WordPress says homepage, it means this blog page here even though normally, when you say homepage, when you see this homepage, you mean this front page. WordPress considers this to be the front page.

Okay, I think I beat that part dead. Anyway, the way you determine whether or not your first page in WordPress, Brian, I’m going to use your term now, the way you determine whether or not your first page in WordPress is either a post page or a static front page is in Settings.

And so, if you go to… scroll down to Settings… my browser’s out of date. Look at that, isn’t that funny? I’ve never seen that one before. That must be a feature of WordPress 3.2. Down in Settings, under Reading, you have this… the first dialogue is Front Page Displays. And it either displays your latest posts or it is a static page. So by default, if we come over here to the Community Library and we log in to this, wp-admin, if we look at that same setting here down under Settings and Reading, you can see here I have it set in the default condition, front page displays your latest posts. As such, if you go to page, you will see no page called home which is what you’re experiencing. So if we go to one of my pages, there’s no page in here called home because WordPress automatically creates this homepage and there is no page sitting here for you to select.

On the other hand, on this site, it says front page displays a static page and when you select this, then you pick which one of your pages you want to be the static front page. And in this case, I have created a page that I’ve called home that I have selected as my static front page. And then I’ve also created another page that I’ve called blog that I have selected to be my posts page. So both of these pages actually show up here because I had to create them at the beginning of this, of my process here you know, I went to Add New Page and created a page called home and then Add New Page and then created a page called blog.

And so, if you look at the blog page for a moment, you’ll see it’s blank. There’s nothing in the blog page and if I add some stuff in the blog page… if I add some stuff and update that, that’s not going to show up on the blog page because WordPress replaces everything on the page. We said this is going to be our posts page with the blog posts. And so, anything you do here is not… well, you can’t put anything in the content that’s going to show up on that blog page and we’re going to see that here in a second, I trust. While we’re waiting for this, that won’t let my mouth go ahead of what I’m showing.

Okay let’s try that again, let’s see, let’s beat this silly thing. Okay now, the page is updated. If we view this page, you can see it still just displays the post and this stuff has not been added to this page. And the reason is because it is the blog page or the posts page and so anything that I’ve written here is ignored. It’s simply not going to show up and it only shows up in the Thesis dashboard or in the pages thing here because I created this page for that purpose.

Now the homepage that I’ve created of course, you can add content to because it’s a static page and as a static page, WordPress takes the information out of this place and writes it to that homepage. Now, I could just as easily though… there’s nothing magic about those names, right? I could just as easily under Settings, Reading… I could just as easily instead of my front page being my homepage there, I could just as easily make my front page my demo1 page. If I hit Save Changes and I go to my main website, now the page that was called demo 1 is actually a homepage. And if I select the home off of this… oh no, that’s right. Because this is a… just ignore what I just said there. This is another subject for conversation about how to designate the homepage on the Navigation bar. But nevertheless, if you just go to the URL now, the page that will show up is the page that you specified as your front page. And no, the static page does not mean that the page never changes. It just means that it’s not the page where the posts are automatically displayed. Static page means that it doesn’t automatically change, it changes when you physically change it.

So here we are at demo 1. If we go to Edit Page and let’s say that I want to get rid of this image gallery or no, let’s just add something to it. I’m going to say, “Here is an image gallery.” Okay so there’s the change I just made to what WordPress is treating as my static homepage. If I update that and go back to my page, you can see here’s an image gallery. It has actually added that material there.

So all pages are considered to be static pages and by that, that means they do not automatically change when you make a post. The blog page however, automatically changes every time you make a post because the latest post ends up on top and all the rest of the posts gets shuffled down.

So in the same way that I can specify a different page for my homepage, I can also specify a different page for the blog page, right? It doesn’t need to be called blog. The blog page could be called… let’s see, Category columns. No, I don’t think I have that one up there. Let’s make it demo 1 instead now and let’s make demo 2… let’s make our homepage our blog page. Our front page is now our blog page or is the page called blog. It’s not our blog page, it’s our page called blog and the post page is now going to be the page called demo 1 and you’ll see what happens here.

Now the main site you know, the main URL goes to that page called blog and now you can see where that sentence were “if I add some stuff” showed up. And if you go to demo 1, all that stuff that was in demo 1 is now gone and has been replaced with a post. And so, all of that to say, all of that is to say that if you want your main homepage, if you want your first page in WordPress which is the term you used, if you want that to be the place where your posts are displayed, you don’t have to do anything because that’s the way it comes out of the box.

But if you want to put your own specific content on that then what you have to do is you have to make it a static front page and you make that a static front page by creating a page for the static page, creating a page that’s going to be your post page and then going to Reading Settings and changing this to a static page. And then selecting the page that you want for your front page, selecting the page that you want for your posts page and hitting Save Changes and now, it goes back to the way I created it originally.

Now this is not the first time on the site I’ve said this, I’ve delivered this information although probably the first time interactively and if you look at the Start Building Your Website Here tutorial series, I believe it is Lesson 5. No, it’s Lesson 6. Lesson 6 talks about configuring your static homepage and does a brief conversation about that and then Lesson 7 goes in to creating the rest of the pages. So there’s you know, a little bit more polish perhaps, a little bit more… maybe a simpler explanation of that same information right here. So Brian, you can find that under Lessons 6 and 7 of the Start Building Your Website Here. And that sounds to me like it’s a good place for you to start with this too, in this series right here because there’s lots of interesting little basic stuff about WordPress similar to that, that comes out of this lesson.

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