This is the setup tutorial for the Modern Homepage, which is available exclusively through the Feast Plugin.
The Modern Homepage replaces the theme homepage, greatly improving SEO, accessibility, and your ability to customize the homepage to suit your personal style.
- improves SEO with proper heading structure
- improves SEO with unique on-page content
- improves SEO with proper site structure support author E-A-T
- fixes key accessibility issues with all themes "Featured Posts" widgets
- provides additional styling options
We have some companion pages to help understand what makes the Modern Homepage different from the theme homepage, but these are not necessary to implement it:
- the modern homepage vs. theme homepage details the differences between the modern homepage and theme homepage
- the rethinking the homepage post outlines the issues we discovered with the theme homepage
- the modern homepage showcase page shows some before-and-after results for sites that have made the switch
- the modern homepage styling guide offers different styling options, unrelated to the theme styling
This tutorial makes use of two new blocks we released in June 2020:
- the Simple Recipe Index (FSRI) block, which displays an image+title of your posts
- the Simple Category Index (FSCI) block, which displays an image+title of your categories
- note that the FSCI block requires additional setup steps before using, and are an "enhancement" to the Modern Homepage
Follow the steps below to get the homepage setup:
- New sites
- 1. Create the page
- 2. Import the homepage template
- 3. Edit the page title
- 4. Edit the intro
- 5. Trending recipes
- 6. Search
- 7. Edit category #1
- 8. Edit category #2
- 9. Edit the user profile block
- 10. Add another category
- 11. Recent recipes
- 12. Recently updated
- 13. Set your featured image
- 14. Disable social widgets
- 15. Disable comments
- 16. Yoast settings
- 17. Full width Modern Homepage
- 18. Set the homepage live
- Enhancement: styling guide
- Enhancement: Link to your categories
- Enhancement: default featured image
- White Glove Conversion
- Things you should know
- Unique content
For sites that have a low amount of content (less than 50 recipes): you can skip this entire tutorial and simply display your 50 most recent posts.
Just insert an FSRI block and set the limit to 50:
The full Modern Homepage setup will not benefit you until you have enough content to break into proper categories. Come back to this once you're getting traffic or feel like you need to rebuild the homepage.
1. Create the page
Create a new page using the block editor, name it "Modern Homepage" and set it to "Visibility: Private"
2. Import the homepage template
Grab the code for the Modern Homepage template here.
3. Edit the page title
We recommend using a short, user-first description (similar to a "tagline") as the homepage h1. To do this, simply click on the post title and edit it.
See this guide on page titles from Google for more information.
We've had feedback from people saying that they don't like the page title appearing, but this is absolutely critical to have for SEO and accessibility compliance. A single page-specific h1 is required for every page on your site, full stop.
Hiding the title is technically possible, but not an option we recommend or support.
4. Edit the intro
Following the site tagline, you should have a 2-3 sentence intro that explains what types of recipes you specialize in and what people love about your site.
See the Yoast Homepage Optimization post for additional tips.
There should be enough content above the fold to force the first set of images below the fold, so that they lazyload, for pagespeed purposes.
5. Trending recipes
Linking to your top-trafficked posts reinforces their importance to Google, helping them rank, using the FSRI block.
Use this tutorial on finding your top 8 trending recipes and insert them into the "ID" section of the FSRI block.
The post ID can be found in the admin bar on the individual post when visiting that page:
The search block is included with the Modern Homepage template and requires no action. Styling included in the Modern Homepage removes the heading and button, and this is perfectly fine for SEO and accessibility.
7. Edit category #1
Update the heading, description and FSRI block, and category link to point to the first category you want to feature.
Note: the FSRI block uses the category slug, not the category name.
The category link below the FSRI block should point to your actual category - to find this, you'll want to navigate to the category normally, or find it in the admin, and copy+paste the link.
8. Edit category #2
Update the heading, description and FSRI block, and category link to point to the second category you want to feature.
9. Edit the user profile block
The about section uses the User Profile Block.
Be sure to change the image (1000x1000, or at least square), heading, description and link.
10. Add another category
Remove the paragraph below the user profile block and practice inserting your own heading, paragraph, FSRI block and paragraph with category link below the user profile block.
11. Recent recipes
For sites with high volumes of social media or email subscribers, the "recent recipes" section can be moved up higher on the page. This is because returning users may be landing on the homepage looking for the newest recipes
For sites that are primarily search engine and Pinterest driven, your recent recipes generally aren't the most relevant or timely content, and this section should stay here.
Nothing needs to be done in this section.
12. Recently updated
Having a "recently updated" section on your homepage helps to give those updated posts a little search engine boost, so that content can be recrawled and pushed up in search rankings.
Nothing needs to be done in this section.
13. Set your featured image
We recommend setting the featured image for this page as your logo at 1200x1200 resolution. This gets pulled for the featured image by social networks like Facebook when you share your homepage. See: image optimization for Facebook.
Follow this tutorial to set your default featured image.
14. Disable social widgets
You don't need people sharing the homepage, and social widgets can slow page rendering.
If running Social Pug (Grow), scroll to the bottom of the block editor and disable it in their settings.
15. Disable comments
You shouldn't need people commenting on the homepage.
16. Yoast settings
Configure the Yoast meta boxes at the bottom of the page using:
- your site tagline as the SEO title
- your homepage intro as the Meta description
Once done, this will look similar to:
17. Full width Modern Homepage
We highly recommend using the "Full Width" setting for the Modern Homepage:
There are not SEO, pagespeed or usability benefits to using the full width or not - it's entirely personal preference - but full width on the homepage seems to be the industry standard. It also enables the use of the full-width FSRI option.
18. Set the homepage live
Once you're happy with the homepage, you can set the visibility to public:
Then go to Admin > Settings > Reading and set the Your homepage displays to a static page and choose the name of your homepage (site tagline)
Finally, go to Appearances > Widgets and empty the Homepage: Above, Homepage: Middle and Homepage: Bottom widget areas.
Your homepage should then be live:
Note: after setting the homepage live, do not set it back to private. It needs to remain public.
Enhancement: styling guide
The Modern Homepage can be styled many different ways, without needing to update your theme.
See the Modern Homepage Styling Guide for the video tutorial on applying custom styling.
Enhancement: Link to your categories
We recommend inserting the Simple Category Index (FSCI) block below the "Trending Recipes" section.
Link to your top 4-8 categories to give an internal link boost to them, and the posts they contain.
For more than 8 categories, we recommend converting the theme's recipe index to the Modern Recipe Index.
Enhancement: default featured image
We recommend setting the default thumbnail size in the Feast Plugin by following the FSRI Block troubleshooting tutorial.
If you're having issues with the thumbnails (or they're missing), see the FSRI Block troubleshooting tutorial.
White Glove Conversion
The Modern Homepage White Glove conversion service is available for anyone who doesn't have the time to tackle this personally, or would prefer not to.
Things you should know
The Modern Homepage is designed with based on best practices we've seen from high performing sites.
We moved the homepage to the block editor because of the amount of customization you can make to it, which is a good thing, but can also be bad if you don't know what you're doing.
Here's the principles behind the homepage:
- your homepage is the most important page on your site for internal linking and is the basis for your site structure
- content and links at the top of the page have what is known as "prominence", which means that users and search engines believe it's the most important - keep your site's introduction and trending/top posts at the top
- posts that are shown on the homepage get extra "link juice" and will rank better than posts not on the homepage
- do not overstuff your homepage by trying to fit everything on it - we recommend keeping it less than 40 links to posts and categories
- having too much on the homepage can cause a "too many DOM nodes" issue in pagespeed insights and will cause pagespeed issues
- to reinforce your site structure, we recommend converting the theme's recipe index to the Modern Recipe Index
- the headings on the Modern Homepage are important, as they provide landmarks for screen readers to navigate, and are important for search engines, see the Modern Guidelines for Page Headings
- the unique content in the paragraphs provide context for your readers, and additional information about your site to search engines, and are important to include
- By default, it will exclude previously displayed - we recommend leaving this enabled to avoid repetitive internal links
- This means that a post may not show up where you expect it to, if it shows up earlier on the page and this is fine
- your "recent posts" is not the most important part of your page
We've had enough questions about the site title + intro paragraphs that this bears repeating: it's necessary.
Some people feels this "detracts" from the homepage or that it's too much of a change, and unfortunately that's simply not important.
When it comes to optimizing the homepage, check your ego at the door.
Your homepage is possibly the most important page on your site, and the content there tells Google (and site visitors) what the entire content of your website is about.
Not having any unique content, or not having enough, is a problem.
This is very simple:
- The page title (h1) should be your Yoast page title
- The intro paragraph should be your Yoast page description
- The 1-2 sentence sentence explanation for each category displayed with FSRI blocks should explain why this lives on your page and the idea behind the category
- Imagine a blind person has landed on your site and the only information they're aware of, is what is in the page content (no headers, no sidebar, no footer, no images) - do they understand what you're about?
You want to at least mention the keywords your site/categories/posts rank for, but don't try to optimize this page at all. That's not the purpose here.
Focus on providing context, and a little teaser for your readers to dive deeper into the site.