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Lesson 3 – Part 6 – Configuring WordPress to be Like a Traditional Website

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We just finished talking about the 3 Different Ways to Use WordPress and now we’re going to look at one of those ways, using WordPress as a traditional or static website, in depth. In order to use WordPress as a static site for a small business you have to set some configurations because as I mentioned WordPress comes pre-configured to be used as a blog.

If you want to create sites like we just talked about, Dendron, London Translations or Jackie Jacobson’s, then we need to adjust some settings for starters. What we’re going to do here is take this bootcamp.com and make it so that it’s only a static site.

Create Pages

First let’s create a couple pages. We’ll talk about creating pages in a little while but sometimes you can’t learn things linearly and we have to create a couple of pages in order for us to do this.

The first page we’re going to create is our Home page, we’re just going to call it Home. We can call it anything, it’s just the title of the page. All we’re going to do is create it. I’m not going to put any content in it yet. Then we’re going to add another one and call it Blog.

Display Home Page Instead of the Blog as the Front Page

Now that we’ve created those two pages we can come back over to our Reading Settings. We’re at our front page display and by default it says Front page displays your latest posts. Well, for a standard small business website you don’t want your front page to display your latest post right?

Display a Static Page

It’s fine for a blog but that’s not what you want for a business site like Dendron. What you say is I want to display static page and then you have to choose the page you want to use as a static page. We created this page called Home so we’ll use that one. Again, it doesn’t matter what you call it, it could be anything. I just chose to call it Home for simplicity.

Post Display Must be Set Up Even If You’re Not Using the Blog

Then you have to choose a posts page and we’re going to choose the blog as as our posts page. In this case, we’re not going to use this posts page but WordPress won’t function properly if it doesn’t know where to display posts.

So we have to tell it what its posts page is going to be. We don’t ever have to use it. In fact, some themes will let you mark it so that it’s no index and no follows so that it doesn’t show up on your site, it doesn’t show up in a Google search and won’t show up in a sitemap.

You can definitely exclude it from certain things but it still has to exist. If it doesn’t exist WordPress chokes. Now, that’s the same for other things too associated with blog posts. Something I see beginners do that does not work well is they come into their posts and they delete this post.

You can delete this post as long as you create another one but WordPress chokes if there’s not at least one post, one page and one category. It starts off with the “Hello world!” post, with an uncategorized category and it starts off with a sample page. You can delete those as long as you have replaced them with something else.

That’s something to consider when you’re working on setting up your site. You think to yourself, “I hate blogs. I don’t want to do anything with the blog.”. Well, fine don’t do anything with it but don’t delete those things because WordPress will stop functioning if you do that.

Review the Changes on the Site

That’s really all that we had to do. Let’s go back over to the site so you can see the changes. You can see it’s not showing me the blog posts. To see those now I have to go to the blog page but if I go to my Home page, I’m not going to see the blog posts.

We see whatever content I put on my Home page which is why Dendron can show this content on his Home page. He has a static front page as his Home page and that’s why London Translations has their Home page that looks like this. It’s because they’ve chosen to use a static page as their front page in the Reading Settings in WordPress settings.

Does WordPress Use HTML Pages?

Ed asks, “So is there no such page as home.html?” No there is no such page as home.html. In fact, there is no such thing as page anything HTML in WordPress. I’ve heard people who really don’t know what they’re talking about suggest that you can increase your SEO by adding HTML after the name of your page.

You can actually do that by faking it but in fact, there are no files that are displayed. This is not a file. If we go look at her post, there’s no file called Baked Beet Chips. This is dynamically created from the database by taking the content that she has here out of the database and inserting it into a template and then generating a page called Baked Beet Chips.

There is no such file as bakedbeetchips.html. That’s the same for absolutely every page that WordPress creates. There is never an HTML file that contains this data. It’s created by data stored in the database and that is assembled in templates and is dynamically created that’s why they refer to WordPress as dynamic websites.

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