With the release of WordPress 2.1 it is now possible to easily create a static homepage. Previously, it was possible through plugins and hacks to create a static home page on your WordPress site but it wasn’t easy or reliable because it worked outside of the main WordPress loop. One of the major improvements with the 2.1 release is the ability to create a static homepage within the WordPress framework.

The only issue with the new WordPress release is the features have out paced the documentation. Even though the WordPress CMS supports a static home page it was pretty difficult to figure how to do it. Here are the few steps necessary to set up your WordPress 2.1 site with a static home page.

1) Create a new template to be used for the home page. The easiest way to do this is to save the current index.php template as a new file such as home_page_template.php. Then change the top of the page to identify it as a new template, for example:
Template Name: Home Page Template

2) Change your template as necessary to become your new static home page. The first thing you will notice is because this is not the main template you will not have access to the WordPress Post Loop. This means when you fire up your home page it will just have the content for that page and not all of the other. I go over how to access the loop outside of the main template in another post if you need to do so.

Static Homepage : Page Setup

3) In your WordPress Admin section select Write Page from the Write menu. Create a new page to house your posts. You can leave the content of this page blank as it will be filled with your posts. Save this page with a descriptive name, something like Blog, works well.

Static Homepage : Blog Page

4) In your WordPress Admin section select Write Page from the Write menu again. Now you will create a new page to be your static home page. Again you can leave this content blank unless you need the content as part of your home page and you are using the content in your template. Select “Home Page Template” from the Template option menu. This tells WordPress to use the new template to display your information and gives you the ability to have a unique design and content for your home page.

Static Homepage : Homepage Page

5) Now for the version 2.1 magic. In your WordPress Admin section select Reading from the Options menu. The top selection on this page is Front Page. Under the Front Page Displays: section, select “A static page”. Next select the Home Page you created in step 4 for the Home Page dropdown and the Blog page you created in step 3 for the Posts page. Click the Update Options button and thats it you now have a static home page for your WordPress 2.1 site.

Static Homepage : Options - Reading Settings

With the latest release of WordPress version 2.1 it is easy to set a static homepage for your site. The difficulty with a static home page is finding out how to configure the settings and then making a template that looks like you want it to. If you are having problems getting your homepage to look like you want it to check out some of my other posts for help.

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