How to make a Static home page in Joomla

Joomla is a fantastic tool for building modern and dynamic websites. However, many people new to Joomla find it hard to set up their site to mimic a non-portal site with one or more fixed articles on the front or main home page. In this article I will try to explain some of the tricks you can use to achieve this effect while keeping the RSS feed and the blog style layout of the dynamic content.In Joomla the “Home” page is not just a regular page. In fact, the “Frontpage“, as it is called, is nothing more than a Joomla component in its own right.

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In a regular Joomla site the “Frontpage” allows the user to publish selected articles in a “blog” or “portal” style. While this is a nice feature and one of the things that make Joomla so powerful, many websites need a Home page with a fixed article to greet and guide visitors or illustrate the  site purpose. While this is actually easy to achieve, it is not immediately evident. I will assume you know your way around Joomla! by now, but even if you don’t these techniques should be fairly easy to follow.

The Static Page

This is possibly the easiest technique of all. Create a static content item and in your administration area go to the “Menu Manager”.

Choose “Main Menu”, link the static content you created (or alternatively, make a link to it from the content pane) and once

you are done move the link to the number 1 spot in the list of links of Main Menu.
In Joomla the topmost link in the Main Menu is the site’s home page. Go back to the live site and you’ll see that your static article is your home page.
To keep your RSS feed (remember, in Joomla only the Frontpage has an RSS feed attached to it) move the previously named “Home” link elsewhere. Because of its blog style appearance and functionality you can move it to a link named “Blog” if you need a blog on the site with an RSS feed and it will work just fine for that purpose.

The module

What if you need a static, fixed article on your Home page but you want to retain the ability to publish other articles on your home page in more of a “portal” style? In this case you’ll need to get your hands dirty a bit and follow this procedure:

  • In your Modules > Site Modules create a new module.
  • Name it what you want but a descriptive title will help.
  • In this module you will see a bunch of fields that allow you to publish an RSS feed in a module position.
  • Ignore those and skip to the content pane at the bottom of the module interface.
  • There you will be able to write your content as if it was a regular content item.

Before you save, go to the top of the interface and make sure you:

  • Publish the module (select yes)
  • Pick an unused Position such as user7, 8 or 9 (or any other non-named position – named positions are fine if you don’t use them in your site but I prefer numbered positions)
  • Ignore module order. If this is the only module in this position it won’t matter
  • Go to the right pane and make sure you publish the module in the first link of the Main Menu (usually “home”)
  • If needed (as we’ll see later) apply a “Module Class Suffix” (something like “-homepage”) to allow you to style the module independently of the others if needed.

Wait, you are not done. Now you’ll need to make a small change to your template.

  • Go to your FTP program and download your index.php file from the template directory (not the main Joomla index.php).
  • In fact, you should already have at least the entire template directory for your site on your hard drive.
  • Next, in index.php look for the name of the div that contains your current content.
  • You need to insert what is called a “module position” in the space above your content.
  • To make this easy, search for this tag: <?php mosMainBody(); ?> (This is your main body tag where your content should appear in your template. Above that you will see a number of DIVs elements (or table tags if that’s what you are using).

If you need help finding a good spot for your new module, do this:

  • Go to your site
  • Do a “view source”
  • In Dreamweaver or other text editor, paste the source
  • Identify the main content in your HTML and see where you could include a div or table above it. Remember, now you are working with a good old static page here, so it should be easy.
  • Make a note of the tags used above your content and find the same tags in your index.php file
  • Insert this code where you would like your static content to appear:
    <?php mosLoadModules ( ‘userX’); ?>
    (There, I finally made the change, sorry for the error)
  • X marks the user number you have specified when you created the new module.
  • Upload the index.php file to the server – NOTE: Make a backup first!
  • Go check if it works fine. If you need to style it you can now use the suffix you specified earlier like this:
    module-suffix {} (where “module” is the stock class used by a module and “-suffix” is what you entered in the module panel)

Try also without the suffix if you want. Just remember you have the option.

Now, you should have your regular “Frontpage” working as usual but you’ll also have a static content item at the very top. If you need to display also other static content while still having the dynamic “blog” style content, you can repeat the process by placing more modules in the same position, placing another position anywhere on the page or placing modules with static content in the side positions.

Just remember to publish the static content exclusively on the home page or every page will have the same static content in it and remember that your static content is no  longer in the regular Joomla content structure and each time you need to update it you’ll need to go to the module manager.
The component

There is also a contribution that substitutes the Frontpage component and does pretty much the same thing on its own. It is called “MJ Frontpage” and it is available here http://extensions.joomla.org/component/option,com_mtree/task,viewlink/link_id,995/Itemid,35/

To install simply use the regular component installer and go to components > MJ Frontpage. There you will find a content pane for your static content. All the features of the Frontpage should be available but read the documentation to make sure.
Ordering content

This should be it’s own article and I will only touch on it in passing. however, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that in Joomla it’s possible to customize the order in which your articles appear in any kind of list, blog or even in the Frontpage.

To have an article permanently fixed in your Frontpage you need to make sure that you set up the custom ordering of your Sections, Categories and single articles. This is trickier than it sounds and as I said it merits it’s own article, but if you know even just a bit of Joomla you should be able to figure it out by going to the Category manager, Section Manager and content manager, place the sections, categories and content in the order you prefer and make sure you select the custom ordering in your Frontpage preferences ( Admin > top menu > Content > Frontpage Manager).
The drawback of this system is that your RSS feed will also be affected by it and it will display in the same order, making it appear at first glance as if it wasn’t updated in a while.

I hope you found this article useful and feel free to let me know how I can improve it. Good luck

Marco Conti is the owner – webmaster of conticreative.com, a web agency specializing in Open Source integration for e-commerce, CMS and SEO.

Check out my new website where I am now maintaining all my blogs Please visit my blog page on www.conticreative.com if you are interested in my articles.
Thank you and I apologize for the inconvenience.
Marco Conti
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65 responses to “How to make a Static home page in Joomla

  1. A very good article which I followed along nicely,

    2 mistakes I found though were in the paragraph below

    “Insert this code where you would like your static content to appear: ”

    ” ”

    too many braces above, should read

    ” ”

    But even that is the wrong command – the correct code should read,

    “”

    Good article and look forward to more work you publish.

  2. And it removes all the PHP code Great…

  3. This seems like it could be useful if it were fleshed out some more. (What a wiki entry is for!).

    The whole point of this is to help newbies, who do not jump missed steps. Case in point so far:

    >Create a static content item
    Obviously this is an important step, but I am stuck already! I’ll assume this is under the ‘Content’ menu, and Article Manager?? If so, what options should be set when creating the article???

    >and in your administration area go to the “Menu Manager”.

    I think this means “Menu Manager -> Edit Menu Items??

    >Choose “Main Menu”, link the static content you created (or alternatively, make a link to it from the content pane)

    This is frustrating. Why taunt us here?

    Under the edit menu, create a New Link is obvious but… what MENU ITEM TYPE should be selected? Please!

    If the author is busy or not monitoring this article, would someone please finish this article and post the URL here? There’s room for some good Google Pagerank karma… this is the most promising article I have found, but the 100 meter view is unnecessarily difficult.

    Thanks for trying though.

  4. Pingback: How to make a Static home page in Joomla · Joomla How To - Joomla Tutorials and Resources

  5. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction – I tried this but the code is incorrect as noted above. The correct code is:
    //

    remove // from before the above and change X in userX to your chosen number.

    Good luck

    Anon

  6. And again, removes the code aaaaahhhh!

    As above, insert this code where you would like your static content to appear: change to

    [?php mosLoadModules ( ‘userX’); ?]

    Change [ for
    change X in userX to your chosen number.

    Good luck

    Anon

  7. Hello everyone, it has been a long time since I wrote this post and things have changed a lot. I apologize to those that found I missed steps. I try my best not to do that, but time is precious and I am usually accused of being too verbose in my tutorials. Therefore I try to make my points as brief as possible but sometimes some steps do need to be fleshed out a bit more.

    I will revisit this topic soon and adapt it to the new Joomla 1.5 version. It’s a promise :)

  8. By the way, I tried fixing the code according to the suggestions of the other posters, but with WordPress rewriting the syntax and the fact that I no longer work with Joomla 1.0.x it proved a bit hard.
    I think I’ll dust off one of my older Joomla sites and take a picture of the code as well as rewrite the article for Joomla 1.5.x, where the process and the code have changed somewhat.
    Thanks for all the kind words and thanks for the criticism as well. I like to see that people care.

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