This is a guest post by Jon Dykstra.
One of the most important elements I look for when choosing a WordPress theme for a new website, is finding a theme with the right home page layout. When referring to home page in this article, I’m really referring to the front page.
With literally tens of thousands of themes to choose from, there is a vast number home page layouts to choose from.
However, home page layout and design doesn’t stop with choosing a theme. Most themes offer options for home page layouts as well. Yes, it’s a process.
Home Page Options
A good starting point is getting an understanding of the different types of home pages.
1. The chronological full blog post home page.
This type of home page is one where a blog’s entire most recent blog post takes up the lion’s share of the home page. Previous blog posts may fill out the remainder of the home page, but it’s the latest post that takes up the most real estate.
2. The chronological blot post excerpt home page.
For my blog sites, this is one of my favorite layouts. This format is a list of blog post titles accompanied with an image (usually) and post excerpts. It’s a classic magazine style. I love this style because it serves visitors by enabling them to scan several posts quickly and to choose one that resonates with them.
3. The slider or slide show home page.
For business sites (my client sites), I almost always choose a theme with a slide show or slider above the fold on the home page. It’s a contemporary website design that works well.
Usually a slider or slide show home page sits atop a list of blog post excerpts or a full-blown blog post. Business websites often provide links to key pages such as the Services, Contact, About, Products, Features, etc. pages.
4. The blatant opt-in home page.
For business owners seeking to build up an e-mail subscribers, their website’s home page may focus solely on a newsletter sign-up form. If above-the fold, there may be other content under it … but the bulk of the above-the-fold home page real estate is dedicated to the “opt-in” form.
5. Product catalogue home page.
E-commerce websites often feature their best-selling or on-sale items on the home page. Often the top of the home page includes a slider or slide show followed by featured products.
If it’s a one-product website, the home page will offer links to more details about the product such as features, comparison charts with competing products and/or buying options (i.e. a package comparison chart).