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If you’re a WordPress newbie who’s only just created your website, you may have noticed that your posts immediately appear unsorted on your homepage—a disorganized, slow-loading, and unappealing sight that could turn away new visitors!
But, what if we told you that you can easily solve this issue with one simple trick?
Just use a static homepage! If you’re wondering what static pages are and how to use them on your own site, then read on!
Simply put, a static page is just what it sounds like: a page that doesn’t change with each user or search query.
Instead of displaying different content based on who is viewing the site and what keywords they search for, a static homepage has only one set of information — usually text and images — and displays that same content every time someone visits your website.
Dynamic pages or websites, on the other hand, change constantly—they are built on the fly by servers via HTML, CSS, and server-side scripting languages (e.g., PHP).
For example, if you visit an online store after searching for exercise equipment, a dynamic website might provide you a customized page that contains products related to your search query, such as different brands of protein powders, dumbbells, and other gym equipment.
With all of these benefits, you may be wondering: A website that adapts its content dynamically to its visitors’ search queries sounds fantastic! Why would I ever want to use a static page?
As we’ve stated in the introduction, dynamic pages come with their own disadvantages, with WordPress itself stating that dynamic sites consume more server resources. In addition, dynamic websites can also be less secure, since they rely on server-side code.
Luckily, the latter issue is easier to solve, since the best web hosts will help you take care of the security side of things, helping alleviate any server-side vulnerabilities.
As for the former, well, there’s no solution—static pages just require fewer resources than dynamic ones, and that’s it. A single, static page that was coded in HTML and CSS a month ago will still load faster than a dynamic one that is created as you browse.
If you’re intrigued and would like to learn more about this fascinating topic, feel free to check out our article on dynamic versus static websites.
As such, you may want to use a combination of static and dynamic pages on your WordPress site; more specifically, you might want to set up a static homepage.
Because a static page loads faster than a dynamic one, setting your homepage to be static helps your visitors see what your site is all about quickly and efficiently.
To set up a static page as your site’s homepage, do the following steps:
First, you’ll need to set up a new, static page to use as your homepage. To do this, simply log into your WordPress dashboard, mouse over “Pages” on the left side of the dashboard, and then click on “Add New” in the menu that pops up.
Once you click on “Add New,” a new page will pop up, which lets you create a new page. You can fiddle around with the page designer window as much as you want. Once you’re done, click on “Publish,” review any relevant details (such as visibility and when to publish the page), and then click on “Publish” again.
Once you’ve done this, you should create another page. For example, if you’re running a food blog, you can create a page titled “Recipes.” Again, hover your mouse over “Pages,” and click on “Add New.”
Then, edit your newly created page as needed, and then hit “Publish.” Although these steps may seem redundant, trust us: They’ll make sense once you move on to the next step.
Once you’ve made both of these pages, navigate back to your dashboard, hover over “Settings” and then click on “Reading.”
In the panel that shows up, click on the circle to the left of “A static page (select below).” Then, select the static homepage that you created earlier as your homepage. Then, pick the other page for the “Posts page” option (e.g., the Recipes page that we created earlier). Once you’ve done this, click on “Save Changes.”
Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up a static page as your WordPress site’s homepage! If you want to spruce it up with a custom layout and some nice visuals and don’t know where to start, check out our reviews of the best website builders!
Let’s be honest: Despite your best efforts, your homepage may still look kind of bland. Luckily, you can add some more visual and functional flair to your WordPress homepage using handy little pieces of software called plugins, which add various functionalities to your site, such as customizable themes, advanced page builders, and even a newsletter signup form!
However, there are more than 60,000 plugins on WordPress.org alone, and while many of them are surely great, you’d be stuck for weeks on end just searching for the right ones for your site.
Fortunately, we’ve sifted through numerous plugins and found the top 5 ones to help push your static homepage to the next level:
HubSpot (free, professional version starts at $800 per month) is a versatile plugin that allows you to easily do the following (among plenty of other features):
Post Grid Combo (free, licenses start at $38 a year for one site) lets you create a fully customizable grid layout that you can add to your static homepage, which you can set to only display posts of a specific type (or only the most recent ones), helping promote specific posts and allowing your readers to read and navigate your posts more easily.
With more than 5 million active installations, Elementor (free, basic plan starts at $9.99 per month) is one of the most popular plugins for WordPress, and for good reason.
It is a very good website and page builder that boasts plenty of features, such as an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop editor and a lot of premade widgets. If your host’s built-in site or page editor just isn’t cutting it for you, download and install Elementor!
The Essential Addons for Elementor plugin (free, premium version starts at $39.98 annually for 1 site) adds even more features on top of your existing Elementor install, including more than 50 widgets and 5 free extensions to step up your design game, such as the following:
Simply Static (free, pro version starts at $99.99 for one domain) is a plugin that converts your WordPress website into a static site, with all of the advantages that it brings, such as faster load times and better security.
Alternatively, its pro version also allows you to only export a subset of pages or posts via builds. Every custom post type can be assigned to a build and then exported into a static version, in addition to other features, such as enabling comments on a static site without the aid of a third-party provider.
If you’re looking for even more plugins to enhance your WordPress site, here are 21 must-have plugins for an e-commerce site.
In the end, choosing a static homepage for your WordPress site brings its own drawbacks and advantages. Hopefully, if you ultimately decided to go for a static homepage, our handy guide has helped you quickly and easily set it up!
Remember our tips, and try out the plugins that we’ve listed—trust us, you won’t regret it!