Static Front Page with Updating Category Posts in WordPress

This blog is diverse. In terms of topics I’m not like a guy who is writing a “niche” blog. This is more of a “personal blog” because I talk about stuff that’s interesting to ME. And that means music, TV, movies, comic books, computers and stuff I do on the internet or even HOW I get on the internet (cable or DSL). But I also have recently started talking about race and culture-because again, that’s stuff that comes up so often and I DO have a degree in Anthropology from one of the most prestigious and expensive universities in the country-so what the hell, might as well throw my 2 cents around when some Obama thing happens and people can’t figure out what’s going on. But for a blog and especially for a blog with some money making goals that spread out approach can be very counterproductive.

So I got the idea to split the blog into maybe 5 or 6 subblogs using either subdomains or subfolders. So you’d se something like this or . I use WordPress and I’ve got a self-hosted situation (as opposed to the situation where they host for you but you don’t get your own exclusive domain name). Turns out you can set yourself up with subdomains from the server. Once you enact that feature it will create a folder and from there I get a little hazy. I tried to upload another WordPress to that folder and planned to use the same database, but it just shut down my main site. So I’ll get back to you on that experiment.

But the main reason I was doing this at all was because the Adsense was out of whack. That was the problem. Having all these topics-even separated into categories, was giving me HELL in terms of Adsense context matching. And if you want to see 25 horrific examples then follow that link. But after writing them multiple emails and finally making that post, they set the ads right. But by this time the idea of having some kind of way to separate the content for visitors had set in my mind. I also kind of like/dislike the standard WordPress blog format for landing pages. I like to use images in most of post AND I write long post. So if the top 5 stories load-even with very optimized images, with all the javascript and images going it’s just a heavy load. And a visitor MIGHT scroll down past the first story, but it’s not really too likely if the top story wasn’t interesting to them. If I write about Comic Books on Monday and Tuesday write about installing a USB card in your computer, those posts might not have the same kind of reader.

Step 1

So this idea of creating a static page got in my mind. And the other idea of having my categories top story titles visible, but not actually having the full post seemed like that might be best for this blog. But how to do it? I searched for days before finding out that WordPress has a static page feature, maybe since version 2.2. Go to Options (now called Settings). Then Reading. There you can set any page as the “homepage”. I created a new index landing page that does not have a name, and WordPress will take all your landing page info and direct it to that new page. So your blog description, keywords, metatags, and all your goodies will now show for that new page. I didn’t name my page because by default it sticks the title of the page ON the page, and I didn’t need people seeing “home” since they know that already.

Step 2

The second trick of getting category post titles is done with Sobek’s Post in Category . But this plugin is not an install and go type plugin. You do need to read the instructions. The good news is, it’s a 5 minute read.

The only problem you might run into is the quotes. If you copy and paste from his instructions page instead of using your own keyboard the plugin will error out, and not work . So you can copy and post, but delete his quotes and type them in yourself. And that’s it! You can put this category listings anywhere, and manipulate them in all kinds of ways. So I hope you use it, since it’s very powerful and really let’s you do something unique with WordPress. And check out my category pages to see how I uses the “post teaser” plugin.

6 thoughts on “Static Front Page with Updating Category Posts in WordPress

  1. I actually hung on your every word! That was a really great explanation and I may get brave and try something like that with one of my blogs. I like your explanation style – very easy to understand. Thanks!

  2. WOW! Hey thanks.

    I tend to sort of get the idea about something to write, and then write it “in my head” so by the time it’s time to really type it out I get kind a sloppy and rush-plus this awful WordPress 2.5 is so cumbersome and the pictures have to be manually inserted!!!

    But those pictures do most of the talking for me. ha ha

  3. Hey Kathy! Thanks. I used to use a free tool called Infranview, but switched to SnagIt. I think the Snag people also make that one people use to make little videos lessons of their computer screens. I think that it has a price but type in “free screen capture” at Google and you’ll have many choices.

  4. Pingback: April 25, 2008 Edition of Work at Home in Your Pajamas | Sarah Paine

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