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Create A Simple “Static” Front Page For Graphene Themed WP Website

“Virtual” static front pages allow WordPress site builders to create a traditional look, but creating one for Totally Sweet Photos seemed too complicated.  I’m more concerned with creating and posting content on a regular basis, and I just needed the ability to push my most popular content to the top and to control what shows up on my website’s front page.

This “How To WordPress” tutorial covers the semi-static front page setup I’m using for Totally Sweet Photos – it has the look of a a static front page, but still gives me the ability to include new posts–at least the posts that I want to highlight.  PhotoHow2 uses the Graphene WordPress theme, a stylish, neat, and tight theme supporting configurable columns layout options and 4 widget areas, an adjustable footer widget area.  I like the theme’s front page slider and the fact that its free and easy to configure.

There are three basic steps to setting up a simple front page that looks static, but doesn’t require any coding or serious tweaking: creating a new category, adjusting the Graphene slider options, and changing the Graphene theme front page options.

  1. Create A New Category:  Organize your slider content and the your front page posts by navigating to Dashboard>>Posts>>Categories.  Once there, give your new category a name (“Most Popular” in this example), a plug (“most-popular”), choose “no parent” if you want the category at the top level in your menu or category list, and then fill in a description.  Now, when you create a post that you want displayed prominently, click the “Most Popular” check box under Categories–if you would rather not have the post show up front and center, categorize it differently or choose “Uncategorized.”
  2. Slider Options:  Navigate to Appearance>>Graphene Options>>Slider Options, and click the drop-down.  Choose “Show posts from categories,” the category you just created (“Most Popular” in our example), and then choose the number of posts that you want to display (I like 5).  I use “Featured image” for the Slider image, and “Tumbnail and excerpt” for the slider display style, and accept the Graphene defaults for the rest.
  3. Front Page Options:  The Graphene theme makes it easy for WordPress site builders to create clear menu structure–a key feature of minimalistic website design.  Pulling off a simple static look was easy: in the Graphene Options menu (under “Appearance”), choose Front Page Options and pick your new category (“Most Popular”).  Then navigate to Settings>>Reading.  Choose Front page displays>>Your latest posts, and for “Blog pages show at most,” choose a number that works for you (I choose to display 2 posts–see below for an explanation).

I’m using the Graphene theme’s Adsense option, which only allows three ads to be place on any page, and I wanted one in the sidebar and the others placed under posts (I’m trying to incorporate some of the research conducted by Google concerning ad placement–have a look at this ProBlogger video to learn more).  This limitation on the number of Adsense ads might seem like a difficult situation to work around, but the setup keeps most content above the line and keeps the home page clean–exactly the effect I was trying to achieve.

Notice Want to tweak your website even more? Try this how to video on changing your WordPress theme at the CSS level.