Creating an entire website in WordPress

WordPress is becoming a more widely used tool by web developers to create websites. Originally WordPress was seen solely as a tool for blogging, they were easy to setup and you can choose from a selection of free templates to make your blog stand out from the crowd. As developers have learnt more about the capabilities of WordPress it has become apparent that creating your entire website in WordPress is advantageous as it makes for an excellent CMS.

How do I get started?

As with any normal website you need the basics before you can start creating your WordPress website. The basics include purchasing domain name and hosting package. Once you have this setup you can download the latest version of WordPress here.

Next you need to upload the files you downloaded to your server, the best way to do this is using an FTP program such as FileZilla which you can download here for free, the details you need to connect to your website will be provided by your host.

Once you have uploaded all the files simply go to the domain where you want to set this up to for example: http://www.bytewire.co.uk. You will be taken through the steps to install WordPress on to your server.

How do I stop WordPress looking like a blog?

In order to setup WordPress to function like a “normal” website and not just a blog you need to make some changes to your WordPress settings. First you need to give your pages a template name, this is so that WordPress can link a Page created to a file, this will all begin to make sense further down.

Setting up template names:
  • Navigate to the files of the theme you are using for example yourdomain.com/wp-content/themes/yourtheme/
  • Create a new file called homepage.php
  • Add the following code to the top of the page: <?php /* Template Name: Home */  ?>
Linking template names to WordPress Pages:
  • Login to the dashboard and navigate to the Pages tab
  • Create a new page called Home
  • On the right hand side change the template from “Default template” to “Home”
  • Create another new page called Blog and leave the template as the “Default template”
Set WordPress to show the Homepage not the Blog
  • Within the dashboard you need to navigate to “Reading” which is in the Settings tab
  • Set it so that the “Front Page” shows “a Static page”
  • Select Home from the Front page drop down box
  • Select Blog from the Posts page drop down box
Turn on Permalinks
  • By default WordPress does not use enable Permalinks, permalinks allows URL’s to be more friendly for example news/20/11/2010/setting-up-wordpress
  • To enable permalinks go to “Premalinks” in the Settings menu
  • Select “Day and name” option as this gives you the best URL’s.
  • Press Save Changes
  • WordPress will now attempt to create a .htaccess file to make the changes to your WordPress settings, if your files have strict permissions set on them WordPress will not be able to do this, follow the on screen instructions to complete this manually.

Common Problems

Sometimes when you set a static homepage this page is also shown on your posts page. If this happens to your blog, you need to rename the homepage file on your server to something different. WordPress uses a template hierarchy in which index.php and home.php are at the top. Your posts page will be named index.php therefore you posts page should not be called home.php to avoid confusion.

Your WordPress website

You now have a WordPress website which now has a static homepage whilst still making use of the superb blogging system provided by WordPress. From here you can add other pages just like the homepage was setup to create your whole website in WordPress.


Blog written by Elliot Reeve

I am one of the Directors of Bytewire and I like to blog about lots of different and interesting stuff surrounding the website design and development world.


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