April 2016 Website Journey – creating a new home page layout using the Page Builder plugin, and hiding Pinterest Pins in your blog posts
This month was a big change for “Peas” (as I affectionately call this website) with a complete change of home page.
I also decided to create and add more Pinterest pins to my website, and learned how to hide them in my blog posts so they don’t take up any room.
It’s an awesome little trick, and I’ll include a tutorial to show you how to do this too.
1. Creating a new home page – do you need to change themes?
I wanted my home page to look more professional and less like a list of blog posts.
Initially, I assumed that in order to get the kind of home page I wanted, I’d need to change my website theme. I love my current “Evolve” theme as it’s free and very easy to use, so it was with regret that I started to look elsewhere.
WordPress.org has literally hundreds of free themes available to use. You’d think that with so many themes to choose from that I’d find my ideal soon enough. But that’s easier said than done…
There’s so much choice that it takes forever to sift through and find what’s needed. And, you only see what the theme looks like with your current website content, by installing it for a live preview. That takes clicks and time.
If only you could quickly hover over the thumbnail and see what your website looks like with each theme.
There were quite a few themes that looked workable on the theme thumbnail but, once previewed, didn’t offer anywhere near the functionality I currently have with the Evolve WordPress theme.
The Evolve theme uses the Redux Framework which gives alot of flexibility and options to the end user – me.
Having already got so much theme functionality, I decided to stop searching, cut my losses and stay with Evolve even though I knew that the free version couldn’t provide the kind of home page I envisioned (but maybe the pro version can).
2. Using the Page Builder plugin to create the home page
Before settling back to use Evolve, I came across a theme that was 100% based around a drag-and-drop page building system. Unfortunately, the theme itself wasn’t compatible with my website content so I had to give it a miss – but not before I realised the layout possibilities that the drag-and-drop system offered when creating a post or page.
It was exactly what I’d been looking for. I now needed to find a drag-and-drop plugin that would work with Evolve.
I found the free Page Builder plugin by SiteOrigin which not only had the drag-and-drop features but was compatible with Evolve. I also downloaded SiteOrigin’s other widgets plugin (SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle) to further increase my format options.
I’m used to self-formatting my posts, which is totally different to how you’d use Page Builder. You need to grasp the concept of how Page Builder works in order to understand how to use it: imagine your page is split into lots of rows. Each of those rows can be divided into however many columns you require, into which you’ll place your images, text and widgets.
Check out my tutorial for more information on using the Page Builder plugin.
3. Creating and hiding Pinterest pins within each post
The trouble is, you may not have room to include such large pins in your posts, but you still need them to be available for people to pin from your website to Pinterest.
The answer… hide the Pinterest images in your posts.
I created the images using my favourite go-to, Canva, uploaded them to my website and hid them in the relevant post.
The images are invisible until the Pinterest social share button is clicked. Then the long Pinterest image appears in the gallery with all the other images on that page. The visitor can select whichever image they prefer, including the image size 735px x 1102px which is tailored for Pinterest.
What’s been learned?
- think outside the box – there might be another way to get the results you’re looking for without having to change your theme
- you don’t need to find space for lots of images on your website – hide them so they’re only available when needed
Honest stats – April 2016
Monthly website traffic increased to an overall high of about 2,000+ mainly via search engine traffic. I don’t get much time to work on the website (only when I have the laptop at the weekends), so I’m glad that Peas is becoming self-sufficient and generating traffic without social media presence.
I hope you found my May 2016 diary interesting. Don’t forget to check out the tutorials for easy-to-follow instructions.
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