WordPress started off as a blogging platform but you can effectively use WordPress to built simple static websites. With that, you need not pay a programmer to code your business site- well, you can basically do it on your own. And WordPress is easy to use and learn …there are strong community groups and you can raise any questions in their support forums.
Building a website using WordPress.
I’ve built a few static websites using WordPress- including one for my former boss. And with a little adaptation (no plugins or coding required, don’t worry), you can turn the free/paid themes to be just static pages. For free site, just create a new account in wordpress.com. But note that whatever blog you create using free WordPress would have the following url: www.yoursitename.wordpress.com. If you use paid hosting, then the “wordpress.com” would not appear as part of your site name.
Here’s how to do it:
For illustration purposes, I will show you a sample site in website (not blog) format that I’ve attempted to build using WordPress: http://astrology.yinteing.com/ (I was into astrology during my childhood days but no longer into it now)
I plan this to work similar to a website- ie the homepage is a static page and then there are navigation bars for users to access to the articles. I seldom perform any updates on the Astrology site and that’s why it’s not practical to have the latest posts displayed in the front page as for the site.
1. Open a new “Page” to work on your homepage.
In that page, put in the contents that you want to appear as the homepage of the site. And you can name the title as “Welcome to _________”. Remember, you need to select a Page, and not a Post- because posts have timestamp on them- and you do not want your url to have a timestamp on it. Page template don’t have a timestamp.
3. Define your Homepage
Then, at the Settings> Reading Settings:
At the column “Front page displays”, select “A static page” and select the page you have created under the “Front Page” drop down box.
3. At other content pages, use the “Page” format as well.
For example, if you want to do for your company, you can create pages on:
- Company information
- About us
- Contact Us
- Where to find our product
- Current offers/ promotions
Take note when creating these pages:
- Turn of comments and pingpack under “Discussion” field located below the page
- After creating the post, click on “View Page” to obtain the full url
4. Linking the urls on your site’s navigation bar
Hard link the url via the “Links” section of your WordPress- first by creating link categories, then followed by “Add New” links. For my site, I hard code the links by copy and paste the full url to all the links.
a. Create links categories: For my site, I wanted “What’s Your Star Sign?” to be displayed. So I created that title:
b. Linking page urls to the link category via Links> Add New and you will see the section below:
Link each page that you have created till the finished product looks like below- I’ve placed numbers because I needed the links to appear in proper order:
Note: One mistake I’ve made though with the site is to use “Post” format (you can see that the date and month becomes part of the url) for my content pages- resulting a time stamp on it that tells the visitor precisely when I’ve created the content. “Post” format works for blogs but for websites- it’s not suitable. I know there are plugins to remove the timestamp function in the posts but I’ve not explored them yet.
Subsequently for another site that I’ve created for someone, I’ve built most of the pages using “Page” format but for certain sections such as testimonials, I utilize the “Post” format.
5. Making the links appear in your navigation bar.
You may have defined the links, but if you have not specified in Appearance> Widgets section, your links will not appear. So you need to go to “Appearance> Widgets” and then select the “Links” from your “Available Widgets” section. Then drag and drop to one of the Sidebar:
And once the “Link” is on your sidebar, click on the drop down box and select the link category that you want to appear on the navigation bar. For my site, I’ve selected the “What’s Your Star Sign”. So you would see from my site that all the urls that I’ve defined under “What’s Your Star Sign” appears on the top of my left sidebar on the page.
Benefits of using WordPress as the platform to build a website:
1. Easy to learn and master.
You can get a site up in a short time using WordPress. After that, you can gradually tweak the site but adding plugin, changing the theme/template, etc. You can also customise a free theme if you know a little programming.
2. Search engine friendly
When you type your page/blog title and save it, it automatically becomes the url. This is better compared to some other platform or sites where the url generated is does not contain the main content of the page but instead consist of some jumbled combination of symbols. For example, look at CIMB Group’s About Us page :http://www.cimb.com/index.php?ch=g2_au&pg=g2_au_content&tpt=cimb_group&cat=profile where the url is not clear as compared to other bank, say UOB’s promotional page (the url tells the visitor the main content of the page): http://www1.uob.com.my/webpages/promotions/p_promotions_main.htm .
3. Lower cost and easier to customise later
You may just want a simple, functional and presentable site for your clients to find you, send you online inquires and feedback. With WordPress, you can continously upgrade and change your website look- regardless of paid or free templates, they can be easily and seamlessly integrated into your WordPress platform.
There you have it- so you can see that with a little adaptation, you can build a website using WordPress. It’s easier to figure out than other platform like Drupal or Joomla, if you are not well versed in IT (but Drupal and Joomla do allow for more customization and is used for building more advanced sites). Using WordPress works well if you have limited budget to build your site- it’s something that you could figure out and get up and running in a weekend or less.
Last but not least, if you consider using paid hosting and you are planning to choose Media Temple, can help me out by clicking on the referral link? You would get USD25 one time discount. I’ve had my sites hosted with them for few years now.