Two Quick Ways to Make WordPress Look Like A Regular Website and Not a BlogBy
As I’ve said before in this tutorial series – Using WordPress to Run Church Websites – WordPress was really designed for creating and maintaining blogs.
But as we’re exploring in this series, it can also be used as a way to easily create and maintain small to medium-size churches.
There are two quick and relatively easy ways to make WordPress looks less like a typical blog and more than a fully functional, clean and sleek church website: creating a static home page and a dynamic sidebar navigation.
OK, those are fancy, $2 words, but I had to use them …
Now, I’ll explain what that means.
First, the static home page.
If you look at most blogs, including mine, the home page has a listing of post headlines that are ordered by the most recent one being at the top of the stack.
If you look at most church websites, they usually have a standard “static” home page that maybe includes a welcome message of the pastor with accompanying photo and links to ministries, or sermon series graphics, or things like that.
Some of you might want to have a “static” page like this. Others might want to use WordPress to put your current news and events on the front.
In WordPress 2.1, it’s merely a click of the mouse.
Here’s what they say about it:
“You can set any “page” to be the front page of your site, and put the latest posts somewhere else, making it much easier to use WordPress as a content management system.”
Basically, this allows you to set a “page” that you’ve created to be the home page of your site. On that “page,” you could put a welcome message, links to photo galleries, or small group/Sunday School information, whatever you want — all editable on one page.
HOW TO DO THIS: Log in to WordPress and into your “Dashboard.” Click on the “Options” tab, then click the “Reading” tab. Scroll down under “Front Page” and select the “A Static Page” button, then choose which “page” you want to use as your home page.
Later in this series, I’ll talk about how to use WordPress to show a dynamically-updated front page, instead of just a generic one like this.
OK, now to the second part of how to make WordPress look like (and function like) a standard website than a blog.
The key here is having a dynamic sidebar navigation system that updates automatically.
Basically what I mean here is that when someone clicks on one of your main categories in your main navigational bar (usually near the top listing your website’s main sections, like “Home,” “About,” “Ministries,” etc.).
The idea here is that obviously under the “Ministries” category you’ll have probably a couple of sub-categories, like “Children’s Ministry,” “Student Ministry,” etc. The same goes with the other categories like in the “About” section, you might have “Beliefs,” “History,” “Contact Us,” etc.
After a lot of searching and pulling out my hair, the best way that I’ve found to do this (so far) is to use the Collapsing Page Menus Plugin.
Essentially, you will make “Pages” (different from regular WordPress “Posts”) for your main categories. Then make more Pages within those “Parent” Pages.
I’ll explain more of this in upcoming posts. But with these two tweaks, it helps make WordPress look more like a regular, typical website and not a blog. Of course, for those who know how to look at the code beneath a site (page source), you can quickly see what “engine” is running it.