Wordpress/website/internet novice seeks bailout.
April 8, 2008 5:35 PM   Subscribe

Can I get some basic Wordpress help? So out of my depth here.

I'm in way over my head here. I am helping a friend set up her organization's website. I have Wordpress all installed. Is there any way I can make the homepage not be a blog? I know I've seen other "Wordpress-powered" sites that don't have blogs as the main page. Am I seriously mistaken? How the heck can I do this? I looked through WP's documentation and couldn't make heads or tails of it. I'm using BlueHost, if it matters. If Wordpress isn't the thing for me, what is? I'm an utter novice, in case you haven't noticed.

Anyone who cares to walk me through it, shoot me a MeMail! Thanks a million.
posted by sneakin to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
(Could we get this answered here, instead of MeFiMail? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who'd like to hear the answer!)
posted by astruc at 5:37 PM on April 8, 2008

Response by poster: I just meant if anyone would like to walk me through it step-by-step should I require lots more assistance than the average person (this is likely).
posted by sneakin at 5:40 PM on April 8, 2008

Wordpress certainly can be used for things other than blogs, but that's the basic functionality it was designed to provide. You might get some useful advice by linking to examples of of websites you think you want to emulate.
posted by mzurer at 5:40 PM on April 8, 2008

Response by poster: I'm not looking to emulate anything specific. I'd just like a homepage that has some text, a navigation bar, maybe a photo.
posted by sneakin at 5:42 PM on April 8, 2008

If you're looking for a website that can use any page as the homepage, but also lets you have a blog, and also comes with technical support where you can ask for help from the people who actually make the tools, a lot of WordPress users end up working with TypePad. I work with the team, so I'm biased, but we find a lot of people who don't want to mess with installing, updating, and figuring out all this stuff themselves simply import their WordPress sites into TypePad and then you don't have to deal with supporting a friend's website forever, either.
posted by anildash at 5:44 PM on April 8, 2008

If you have no interest in a blog on any part of the web site, uninstall Wordpress and start with the "free drag and drop site builder" advertised on Bluehost's homepage.
posted by mzurer at 5:51 PM on April 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Sweet, anildash, I'll be MeMailing you, thank you.
posted by sneakin at 5:51 PM on April 8, 2008

Best answer: LOL, no need to switch to another software.

Make a page. Call it something memorable like "Welcome to this site!"

Go to Options -> General (or general options in 2.5). There is a "Front Page" option. You can either do the blog thing, or choose a "static page" from a drop down. Any page you have published will show up there.

Otherwise pages are good versus posts to create "static" content. You can make the site look as bloggy or as corporate as you are capable with themes. Most themes list both categories and pages in the navigation bar, but you might have to play around to find a happy medium.

Wordpress.org has really good forums to ask more specific questions. Hope this helped.
posted by shownomercy at 5:52 PM on April 8, 2008 [3 favorites]

I think the keywords you're looking for are "static front page."
posted by salvia at 6:16 PM on April 8, 2008

Edit: Options -> Reading. oops, sorry.
posted by shownomercy at 6:25 PM on April 8, 2008

search for "the loop" on Wordpress' help sits/forums. There's a pretty simple chunk of php code that prints your posts. They use this code on their default page, but you can use it anywhere.

Then, once you get that going, you can easily customize it to only show 3 posts, show only from a certain topic, etc... I don't have time to help you personally, but there should be plenty of help about on the forums/wiki- that's how I learned it.

Wordpress is very good at letting you customize, since it's all just php. You might have to get in touch with a php developer if it's really over your head, but it's not that hard. I think you want to do something custom, and I can tell you as an unbiased observer there is no product that will really give you that out of the box.

{not entirely clear what you want actually. I'm assuming you want a page of your design, which ALSO contains some blog posts. that's what I'm talking about. If you just want a website with some static pages, and the worpdress blog (with a default-ish template) on a different page, it's just about moving files around. Make something else your index page and put the blog in another directory.}
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:27 PM on April 8, 2008

oh sorry I kind of misread. it actually kind of sounds like you want Drupal or some general CMS. Wordpress is designed to be a blog. if you don't want to build any html at all, "CMS" is they keyword you're looking for I think.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:29 PM on April 8, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond--my problems are solved!
posted by sneakin at 6:31 PM on April 8, 2008

drjimmy11: No, Wordpress is actually now really CMS-y, much to my surprise (3rd-party contractor did a site up for my employer using WP, and I finally had a chance to play with it last week). After seeing what Drupal did to a web server I used to administer, I'd vote for Wordpress EVERY time, because, as cool as Drupal is, it's a resource hog of the stupidest degree.

My $.02.
posted by liquado at 11:02 PM on April 8, 2008

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