The Role of Widget Areas
The natural tendency is for users to place their content on the home page itself: Pages > Home > Edit. It is perfectly fine to use the visual editor tab and put the text and images inside the content area. If you know code, you could use the text tab for inserting HTML and CSS. On the other hand, using the home page widgets gives you access to many cool options that will override anything typed directly onto the home page.
The widget areas are content containers; each has its own layout position and style. To access: Appearance > Widgets. Those that are labeled with “Home… ” or “Front Page... ” will be dedicated solely to the main page. There are other areas for the sidebar, footer, and sometimes slider. All of the widget areas appear on the right side of the “Widgets” section. Open and close them by clicking on the triangle.
The widgets themselves appear on the left side of the “Widgets” section. They are sub-containers for specific kinds of content: Featured Post, Featured Page, Slider, Image, Text, Forms, Menus, etc. Themes and plugins may provide their own widgets. Drag and drop the widget into the widget area, open it by clicking on the triangle, and configure it. When finished, click the SAVE button.
I really like the Featured Post widget. It enables you to display any number of posts in a certain category and choose whether or not to show the featured image, title, and the entire content or excerpt. Powerful and flexible, try it out!
Home Page Defined
The home page on your website is the main page where viewers land when they first arrive on the site. It is most often the base URL address, such as “www.yourwebsite.com”. All of the other pages build off of the main page and use the base URL with a backslash to indicate their location: “www.yourwebsite.com/interiorpage”.
The default home page in WordPress is a list of your posts. That’s because WordPress started out as a blogging platform. The most recent post will appear at the top of the list. You can display the entire post, or a summary. To configure, go to Settings > Reading, then select “Your Latest Posts“.
WordPress can also be used for a full-featured website. A custom home page can be created by changing the default: Settings > Reading, then select “A static page (select below)“. Any page can be the main page (and another page can be designated for your blog). Depending on the theme, you can select “Home” and use the built-in home widget areas. This is a powerful feature and a source of confusion for a lot of people!