Changing Your Home Page

If the list of posts is less important on your site, or if you
want to show some sort of welcome message, or if you just want to direct traffic (in
other words, give readers the option of reading posts or going elsewhere on your
site), it makes sense to start by showing a page instead of a post.

Creating a Brochure Site

The simplest way to change your home page is to ditch the post system altogether,
using pages instead of posts throughout your site. The resulting all-pages site is
sometimes called a brochure site, because it resembles the sort of informational
pamphlet you might pick up in a store.

Should You Build a Brochure Site?
A brochure site may make sense if you’re building a small site
with very simple content. The restaurant site in Figure 7-17 is
one example.
But if you’re trying to decide between a brochure site and a
post-based site, consider two questions. First, would your site
be more attractive to readers if you included posts? Even the
bare-bones restaurant site might be more interesting with
posts that chronicle restaurant news, menu experiments,
and special events. Not only that, but the fact that posts are
frequent, dated, and personal makes the site more vibrant. In
addition, if you want to get people talking on your site—for
example, posting comments about recent meals or sending in
requests and off-the-wall recipe ideas—you’ll have more luck
if you include posts. Think of it this way: A brochure site feels
like a statement, while a blog feels like a constantly unfolding
conversation.
Then again, you may decide that a brochure site is exactly
what you want. Maybe you really don’t have time to spend
updating and maintaining a site, so you simply want a place
to publish some basic information on the Web and leave it at
that. You can still take advantage of several of WordPress’s
best features, like themes, which ensure that your pages look
consistent. You’ll also get WordPress’s help if you want to track
visitors (page 444), add sharing buttons (page 412), or add any
one of a number of features described in this book.

TIP If you use a custom page for your home page, you may want to jazz it up with a few more navigational
features. Many themes provide page templates that can help you out by adding a widget-stocked sidebar beside
your page content,

Creating a Custom Entry Page

Even if you want to change your home page, you might not want to ditch the post
system. In such a case, use a static home page (called a welcome page), and include
a full complement of posts on another page.
The trick to doing this is specifying a URL for the page that displays your posts.
Here’s where things get slightly bizarre. To get the URL for your posts, you create
yet another page. This page is just a placeholder—its sole purpose is to provide the
web address for the posts page. You don’t actually need to put any content on this
page, because WordPress automatically creates the list of posts.

NOTE If you use the self-hosted version of WordPress, you need to make sure you changed your site’s
permalink setting to use post titles rather than post IDs (page 117). Otherwise, the link to your placeholder page
will use the post’s ID, not its name. This is terribly confusing—it means you’ll end up with a permalink with a
name like http://magicteahouse.net/?p=583 that actually shows your list of posts.

Even though you created a posts page, that doesn’t mean your visitors know
about it. They need a way to get there, and the best option is a link in your site’s
menu. Creating that is easy—you simply add a new menu item that points to
your placeholder page.

In some cases, you may decide not to lump all your posts together in a single reverse chronological
stream. In that case, you don’t need to create the placeholder page.
Instead, you can add category links to your menu so that visitors browse all the
posts that fall into a particular category.
This is a great approach, but it may become less practical if you have a lot of categories,
because you don’t want to burden your site with a crowded, clumsy menu.
One solution—provided you have a self-hosted site—is to customize your home page
with the theme-editing tricks

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Changing Your Home Page

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