One of the big WordPress website design questions that must be address before choosing a WordPress theme is whether the website will use a particular home page layout or simply post the most recent blog posts.
What makes this issue more interesting is that there are some WordPress themes that have home pages comprised solely of widget zones where a website can list recent posts as well as other content.
Therefore, when building a WordPress website, should you go with a widget zone home page or use a traditional blog home page?
Both home page formats have their advantages. I set those out below.
Advantages of a Widget Zone Home Page
1. Home page design and content flexibility
Widget zones enable you to insert any kind of content within the zone. Moreover, there isn’t a limit to the amount of content. Therefore, one widget zone provides for a great deal of flexibility. Multiple widget zones configured into columns provide even more home page layout options.
The more flexibility you have, the easier it is to test different content on your home page to what works best.
Determining what works best depends on what your primary goal with your website is. Therefore, it’s imperative you know exactly what you want your website to do for you when planning and building it (as well as choosing a theme if you’re using WordPress).
2. Best of both worlds
Some premium themes include what’s called a “featured posts” widget, which means the home page can be formatted easily as a traditional blog home page. However, because it’s a widget zone, additional content formats can be included such as a slide show, links to specific pages, contact forms, etc.
3. Feature your most important content
With a widget zone home page, you can get your most important content displayed front and center on your home page. This is important if you have specific goals or purposes for your website that you achieve with your content. It may be selling something, getting people to read a particular article,
Advantages of a traditional “recent blog post” home page format
1. Excellent for an audience
If your website/blog has an audience who revisit your site, placing your latest blog posts on the home page makes the most sense so that readers don’t keep running into content they’ve seen before. This makes it easier to build up a loyal audience who get their eyeballs on your latest work quickly upon visiting your website.
2. Zero formatting involved
When you have a widget-zone home page, there’s quite a bit of formatting, planning and design work involved to get the home page just right. When going the traditional blog-format, there’s zero home page formatting required. You simply focus on providing top notch content and let the WordPress CMS do the work for you.
How do you choose?
If you’re website is a true blog, go with the traditional, non-widget zone home page format. If your goal is to publish timely and new posts regularly for readers, the blog format is for you.
However, if you’re publishing a magazine website, business website or wish to feature a portfolio or e-commerce catalogue page, a widget-zone home page is best. The widget zone home page will give you more flexibility in formatting and laying out your content to create a high-calibre home page.