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Configuring WordPress to be Like a Traditional Website

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We’re going to start off by configuring WordPress to act like a traditional website. There are just going to be pages. It doesn’t have a blog and it’s not going to use categories or tags or anything like that. All it’s going to use are pages.

Page Hierarchy

I’m going to show you a bit of structure for the pages. Here you’ve got your homepage. And you can see this is a hierarchical chart. Below your homepage you’ve got for top-level pages such as a services page, testimonials page, case studies and about. Then the services page has child pages: service 1 ,service 2, service 3. The case study page has child pages: study 1, study 2 and study 3.

You’ve got this hierarchical system of laying it out. In my Start Building your Website Here course we build a professional services site and this is the structure of the site that we use when building that.

Default WordPress Setup is as a Blog

There are a couple of things you need to do when you’re going to build a typical services site. The first thing to do is to come over to your dashboard and in the dashboard we’re going to add a couple of pages. The reason we are starting here is that when you go to the homepage right now it’s showing a blog post. Also this hello world is a blog post. If you had a whole bunch of blog posts they would show it below this.

By default WordPress comes configured to be used as a blog and your home page displays your latest blog posts. Since we’re not going to have a blog and we don’t care about that. We want our front page, our home page, to display a static page with information on it. So the very first thing we have to do we do is actually create a page.

Create the Home Page

I’m going to Add New and I’m going to add two pages. The first page I’m going to add is going to be my homepage. This default name is not a good name for your homepage, not a good title for your homepage. I’m going to change it to reflect the site I’m building here. I could call it Agility Skin for Thesis 2.1, Simpler for Beginners – More Powerful for Pros if I were building it for my Agility Skin.

Importance of the Page Title

You want the kind of title on your home page that calls attention to the services, products or the benefit of the site. Naming it Home is only useful from an organizational standpoint, it’s not useful from an SEO standpoint or useful even for your customers really. For the time being, we’re going to call it home page and publish it.

Create a Blog Page

Then we’re going to come over to pages and add new again. I’m going to create another one called Blog. No, we’re not going to have a blog but I’m going to come over here and add a blog page anyway. The main reason is the possibility that somewhere down the road I might want to add a blog. If I don’t have this page created but I go ahead to create a blog post that post is not going to show up. So my decision is to go ahead and create this blog page just in case.

Let’s see change the settings here because my Permalink settings have been using this old system. I’ll talk about this in a minute but take a look at this. They’re playing a game, the game they’re playing is pretending that your website is comprised of PHP files and so they’re adding this word index.php in front of it to try to suggest that that’s what you’re doing here.

It’s stupid behavior. With this you’re introducing something into the URL that is meaningless and it’s based on advice that people are trying to sell which says you know you don’t want your website to look like a WordPress website so if you include stuff like this into your URL then it won’t look like a WordPress website. That doesn’t matter, it’s never going to matter and never did matter. You should automatically discount anybody who suggests that it does matter. Add category postname and save changes.

What Front Page and Home Page mean in WordPress

I’ve created my two pages and now I can go to my reading settings. This says front page displays and then you have a choice of posts or static page. This terminology Front Page comes from WordPress blogging days. For everybody else in the world homepage and front page are synonymous, in fact Front Page doesn’t even exist outside of the WordPress world. The home page is the page you go to when you type in your URL.

Well in the WordPress world, the home page in WordPress speak is the page that displays your blog posts and your front page is the place you get to when you type in your URL. Right now it’s set up so that the front page and the homepage are the same thing. The front page displays your latest posts and therefore you’re in the default blog situation.

Choosing Static Page as Your Front Page

However, we don’t want our front page to display blog postings since we don’t even have any. We’re going to choose display as a static page. But, note that you have to actually have a static page created in order for you to do this. And that’s why we created the pages first. Our front page is going to be the one that is called Home Page. Our posts page is going to be the one we called the Blog Page.

Notice that we’ve got a sample page here? That’s because WordPress automatically creates a sample page and a sample post. The sample page is called Sample Page and the sample post is called Hello World? So we call it Blog.

Somebody asks, “when am I going to choose the theme?”. I’m going to choose the theme in session three when we talk about customizing the appearance of the site. The theme that you use is not going to be one of the most important decisions that you make at the beginning. I know that sounds counterintuitive to a beginner but at the beginning, any theme will do because you can’t even focus on what your website looks like until you’ve developed some content. We’ll talk more about that later.

We’ve now got our home page and our blog page. You can leave all the rest of the this alone., We talked about the search engine visibility which you can turn off while you are developing your site which I don’t usually recommend. We’re going to hit Save Changes.

Let’s look at what the website looks like now. We just reload this and now it says Home Page and it no longer says Hello World because we have now set our home page as our front page. Anything we add into the text editor is going to show up here.

Types of Sites that Start Setup as a Traditional Site

That’s how you configure WordPress to act like a normal website. Not a blog but a normal website. You would start any kind of content management system this way, you’d start a kind of e-commerce system this wa. You might even start a blog this way, like the hybrid ecommerce-blog-portfolio site I showed you earlier. This is the non-typical WordPress setup. The typical or default WordPress setup has no static front page and shows posts on the home page instead.

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