WordPress shows your most recent post on the front page of your site by default, but some webmasters want to create a static front page on WordPress. Static pages work best for sales pages or squeeze pages or any other content that does not change very often. A sales video, a brochure or enrollment form all all good reasons to use a static front page.
Static Front Page versus Recent Blog Post
Before we get started digging into how to create a static front page I want to talk a little about SEO as it pertains to static front pages versus the most recent blog post being your homepage. In my experience it makes no difference, you can rank static pages as easy as blog pages on the search engines. In fact, if you really want to target a keyword I would recommend static pages with comments disabled. Comments, especially comments unrelated to your keywords can change the keyword density of your post and in doing so, change your rankings. Static pages don’t have that problem because you control all the content added to the page.
Personally most of my sites have a static front page as the home page that I have optimized for the main keywords of the site, then I add a link from that home page going to my blog. Also, on the header image of each blog post I have a link pointing to my home page/static page. This seems to help ranking for both the homepage and the blog posts with deeper backlinks pointing to pages deeper within my site. I’m not sure why Google likes this but it seems to like my sites. It doesn’t seem to matter which post on my blog ranks on page one, I still get the “link juice” to my homepage and visa versa.
How To Create A Static Front Page
Instead of having every new post go to your homepage, you can have a page that never changes as your homepage, a “static page” that targets your keywords. You can do this by going to your WordPress admin area and clicking on Settings>> then click Reading>> Here’s what it looks like once you’re there:
Select “Static Page” then select the front page you want as your static page and be sure to save your settings by clicking Save Changes>> at the bottom of the page. This will now make your homepage the page you selected. You can come back here to select a different static page at any time in the future if you want.
If you’re using a static page to target keywords and need to optimize you SEO (Search Engine Optimization) then don’t let people comment on your static page, as I mentioned earlier.
NOTE: You may noticed on the homepage of this blog that I am not following my own advice and I have allowed both comments and Facebook comments on my homepage. WHY? To test what happens to the SEO when social activity spreads the word about this blog. It does seem to have very positive traffic results and that over time have increased my rankings, pagerank and backlinks. But sometimes people will comment on a blog post asking a question that is unrelated to the keywords of the blog and it changes the keyword density so it is no longer optimized. That’s why you’ll see some site posts with the comments closed to further comments. Since my blog is about helping people learn WordPress, I don’t tend to worry about my SEO as much and just give the best help I can to people. It works!
How To Make A Post “Stick” To The Homepage
Another great option for making a static page is when you have just written a great post that you want to be your homepage. You can make a “sticky post” from the post itself when you publish it by simply clicking a box next to the Publish button. Here’s a screenshot of how it looks:
This lets you keep your main article at the top of the homepage. Future articles will either be published below the primary article on the homepage (if you have selected to show multiple posts on the homepage) or just in your latest posts however you choose to display or link to those.
Once you’ve set up your Static homepage you may need to remove an extra Home link from your top navigation (some themes can end up with two Home links when you create a static Home page because the theme has been hard coded to display “Home” link even when there are no other pages on the blog).
The solution for is to create a custom menu for your top navigation but we will get into that in a future post.
I hope that this post helps you understand some different options for showing the content you want on your site and sheds some light on how simple it is to do.
I would be interested to know what others create a static front page for on their site and the results they are having as well as any questions or thoughts you may have about that.