Create a WordPress.com Website

peopleBlogs are a powerful way for individuals and businesses to attract viewers and turn them into loyal subscribers and/or paying customers.  There is no one correct way to move visitors around your site but good design means easy navigation. Structuring a reader and search engine friendly site is critical to success.

In Should I Change My Website Into a Blog? Darren Rouse answers the title question.

1. Blogs give Individuals, Companies and Brands ‘Voice’
2. Blogs are Conversational
3. Blogs build Trust
4. Blogs build Profile
5. Blogs are Immediate
6. Blogs are a doorway to Search Engines and Social Media

A question I’m frequently asked is the reverse of the one Darren answered but it ties in nicely.

How can I make my blog more like a website?

Some bloggers are confused about what a static front page or “a splash page” is. The static front page is the choice of those who want to give their blog a more CMS (content management system) or website appearance.

In simple terms, a blog is a website. The main differences between a blog and website are structure and communication style.

  1. Blogs are post based structures designed to encourage interactive communication. On a blog the front page is dynamic ie. ever-changing.   The frequency of publication that characterizes blogs means blogs are indexed by search engines with greater frequency than websites.
  2. Websites are page based structures that operate as a one-way notice boards, so there isn’t much incentive for visitors to return to websites frequently.  On a website the front page is static ie. it rarely changes.

A WordPress blog can either be structured as a page based website or its conventional post based  structure can be retained.  The software provides a CMS (content management system) that allows for design flexibility, and Staff have provided help for those who want to structure their blog like a website.

How can I make a static front page or “a splash page” ?

Effective splash pages are keyword rich, search engine optimized front pages. Before you restructure your blog and create a splash page what’s important is understanding the differences between pages and posts. Pages sit outside of the blog structure and you cannot post to multiple pages in any blog.  There is only one main page for posts in a blog and all posts will display on the main blog page. There is no way to exclude posts from the main “blog” page for posts.

By default the front page of the blog  will display posts in reverse chronological order, with the most recently published post on top. However,  if you do not want all the posts to show on the front page, then you can create two pages: a static front page or “a splash page” for your site and a “blog” page for posts. Then you can go to > Settings > Reading to make the designation change and click “save changes”.

Static Front Page, Yay or Nay?

Pages and sub-pages can be used very effectively for several purposes  but choosing to create a static front page or “a splash page, rather than having posts displaying  on your front page is a traffic quenching choice, that has a negative impact on discover-ability and ranking,  as well as holding reader attention.  Read more >> Better Blogging at WordPress.com: Pages and Posts

How can I post to my subject pages in my menu?

You can’t post to more than one page in a blog but you can create the appearance of doing so. You can use categories and tags  to organize posts into subjects and you can add those categories or tags to your navigation using a custom menu.

A custom menu allows you to display Categories with drop-downs to sub-categories, Pages with drop-downs to sub-pages and/or Tags pages and/or Custom Links in tabs along the horizontal navigation where normally only Page tabs are displayed.  You choose which to display, and the order of display and which to hide.

Whether or not you choose to have a static front page or “a splash page” or to have all your latest posts on the front page of your site, mastering custom menus and being a minimalist when it comes to creating drop-downs menu items is wise.

Jerry Bates: How to Create a Custom Navigation Menu

Refer to:
custom menu walk through
troubleshooting common custom menu errors

Discussion

Does your blog have a static front page or “a splash page“?
Have you ever considered having a  static front page or “a splash page“?
Are yoy using a custom menu on your blog?

22 thoughts on “Create a WordPress.com Website

  1. Love your blog and your help on the WordPress.com forums. I have a few WordPress.com websites, but also run a WordPress (.org) blog that right now mainly functions as the blog portion of a static website for an organization. I am working to transition the whole site over to WordPress but right now use the WordPress loop to pull blog posts into just a few of the pages based on their category, including a “news” section on the home page. These are not blog category pages, but actual web pages that have static content AND blog “posts”. There are capabilities there that I like but it does make the blog content a little more static and the static pages a little more dynamic. I will have to decide whether to continue this technique or to just use category pages when I make the full transition. For now I do not have search engines reading the blog because I am concerned about problems of duplicate content. Would love to hear your opinion of this approach.

    1. Hi there,
      Wow! What you are describing is a huge undertaking and I wish you well with it. Please feel free to keep me updated on your progress.

  2. Hi there. Just wanted to mention that after 2 frustrating months of being stuck in HTML mode, I came across a forum post from over a year ago where you helped a guy figure out how to get his visual editor back. It was such an easy solution but if I had not come across your advice, I would never have figured it out and left my blog to die. Thank you!

    Muk

  3. Hi Timethief,
    Oops, again!
    Yes, I was wearing Titan devoid of my content. I did a little more tinkering and showed my wife what I was up to, I forgot to reactivate to Autofocus. I have switched to AutoFocus, no content.

    I’d like to rewind a little further and direct you to my current website, markwilsonfurniture.com.
    You will notice that it is supported by Picaholic. The general appearance of this site works for me. However, I noticed some time ago that it seemed to get no traffic, so I contacted a local web-based marketing consultant. In short, he said that my site is flash-driven and lacked sufficient content for optomization, etc. He strongly recommended WordPress.

    Despite appearing to be completely confused, I’m not. Just a little!
    I’ve spent a good deal of time getting to know my way around the basics of WordPress. For instance, I understand the difference between pages and posts, and having a ‘static’ front page and an ‘active’ blog appearance. Basically, I’d like to build a site that has that website appearance up front with a blog on the menu. I don’t have any particular allegiance to the AutoFocus theme. Here is a website/blog that I’m pretty sure is built on WordPress, http://jawoodworking.com. His business looks very, very much like mine. I like that the site has the look and feel of a traditional, static website, but it’s really a blog that posts current projects.

    I do like some aspects of my Picaholic site – mainly the clean, straightforward appearance. My work is up front and center on a stage of minimal graphics.
    I’d really appreciate your recommendations to make my efforts more effective.
    -Mark Wilson

    1. Hi Mark,

      Basically, I’d like to build a site that has that website appearance up front with a blog on the menu.

      It sounds like you know what you want and how to achieve it, so I wish you all the best when it comes to developing your new site.

    1. Hi Mark,
      I have had many requests for help on this topic. In most cases people don’t comprehend the differences between page and posts and the impact of choosing to create a page based structure with a “splash page” on readers and on SEO.

  4. I don’ thave a splash/static page on any of my blogs. My partner actually creates a separate web site that links to one of the blogs I manage. He likes that approach better. Otherwise if we try a perpetual (undated) sticky post, it might get tiresome to always work around it.

  5. Thanks Timethief for all the help you’ve provided since last year when I was new to creating a website and blog with WordPress. I now have 2 ?s that are related, but not exactly on topic–1. As an artist who would like, in the future, to add prices and a PayPal link in my gallery, would that require moving to a WordPress.org site? and 2. If yes, what are the practical differences in managing a WP.org site from what I am now doing with WP.com? (I understand about paying for a independent host.) Does the Dashboard work the same in both? Thanks for any help or links you can provide on this…

  6. Hi! I learned the concept of custom menus, categories, and tags from blogger Stopping The Wind. I was immediately attracted to her site because of content and organization. She was nice to help me after struggling for hours trying to figure it out. As a result I documented the organization of my blog so that it remains constant with regards to assigning categories and tags to future posts. Thanks!

      1. I’m having a problem with spam mail. How can we open our blogs to comments when there are so many spammers? I have to keep my blog set that only registered users can comment and they don’t comment at all. What is the problem? I believe I have watchers instead of participants. Help!

        1. The vast and overwhelming majority of all “information” circulating on the internet is spam. Over 80% of all “comments” submitted to WordPress.com blogs every day are spam. The best thing is that Akismet catches ot very well and we can improve that by moderting comments and being careful about which ones we approve. The worst spam isn’t in the Akismet spam folders on our blogs. It’s never sent to us to moderate as it contains malware and viruses and if opened it would bring down many blogs. We have no idea what’s causing the increase. The waves rise and fall. and what you describe is not unusual at all. If you had a WordPress.org install you would be experiencing hundreds of spam comments daily. For some help with spotting spam and marking it so Akidmat learns see here http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/05/06/trackback-and-pinback-spam-what-to-do/

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