Designing a Static Page

When you design a static page for WordPress, you don't really have control of the whole page. Your new page appears within your blog's look and feel, and the sidebar or sidebars that are part of your theme remain as well.

The good side of this is that WordPress still takes care of a lot of the HTML/XHTML complexities for you, as they have to do with the code for the page as a whole; you only need to worry about what appears on the page itself.

Your users also are likely to have fairly low expectations for the design of your static web page. In fact, they probably expect your static web page to look like a blog entry, which is how they tend to look in WordPress unless you put a fair amount of work into designing them to look different.

You do need to think about how your static pages relate to each other. Try for a very simple model at first: Just have one level of navigation with a single page per level. This extends your blog while maintaining the simplicity that people expect from a blog. When you start to have submenus of navigation, people have to think about your blog as a website as well as thinking of it as a blog. This can make the heads of your site visitors hurt. People tend to avoid doing things that make their heads hurt, even if the avoidance happens at a subconscious level. So don't do that or they'll avoid your site.

If you create so many static web pages that you need sublevels of navigation, that's fine, but it means you might need to redesign your site as a static website that has at least one really excellent blog in it, rather than as true blog-first blog. Develop or borrow the expertise needed to create a really good traditional website and go for it.

Use the Text widget (see Chapter 6, "Using HTML in Your Widgets and Blog") to create supplementary navigation for your site and static web pages. This might be more obvious and more convenient for blog-oriented users than the navigation that comes with the theme you're using.

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