Adding a Blog page to your site is pretty straightforward, although there’s some variation from one theme to another. There are four areas you need to cover:

  1. Create a Blog Page
  2. Tell WordPress you want a blog page
  3. Give your theme some instructions about how to display it
  4. Add it to the Menu

We’ll also look at some specific variations in how themes from StudioPress [aff], Elegant Themes [aff] and bundled WordPress themes handle the job.

Create the Blog Page

From the dashboard, Click on Page / Add New.

Add Page

In the Title area, name your page — something clever like “Blog” is good.

Give it a title

Look over on the right. If you’re using a StudioPress or Elegant Themes theme, you’ll see a box labeled Page Attributes.

Elegant Themes Page Attributes

Click on the arrow under Template to show the dropdown box, and select Blog. (If Blog doesn’t show up as an option, go on to the next step, then come back to this point.)

if you have more than one page nested under another, you can assign a number to order them the way you want.

Tell WordPress You Want to Use a Blog Page

After adding your blog page as above, click on Settings / Reading on your Dashboard menu. You’ll see a page that looks like this:

Add a blog using a WP theme

Change the setting from “Front page displays your latest posts” to “a static page.”

Select the page you want to use as the homepage, then select your new Blog page to use as the blog page.

Specify the number of posts you want to show on a page, and whether you want to show a summary or an excerpt.

Hint: Unless you’re already well versed in SEO and plan to create custom excerpts for each post, select the post content option here.

Click Save Changes.

Now, when you save your draft and click the Preview button, you’ll see a blog page.

Instruct Your Theme How to Display the Blog

Do you want the blog page to show each post in its entirety? Do you want to display thumbnails? Some themes let you specify all these, including the size of the thumbnail you want to use.

If You’re Using StudioPress

StudioPress themes give you more control over how your blog appears than many other theme designers do.

#1. Click the Genesis / Theme Settings menu on the left-hand side of the dashboard.
#2. Scroll down until you find the Content Archives box.

Genesis Theme Settings

Here’s where you choose how to show content on any archive page, which includes your blog page. You can specify how many characters of the post you want to show, whether you include the Featured Image, and the size of the thumbnail.

Post Navigation Technique just refers to whether your archive pages say Previous/Next at the bottom for navigation, or whether you use numbers.

#3. Make your selections in the Blog Page Template box.

You can choose to show posts from all categories, or just from specific categories. If you want to show posts from all your categories except one or two, you can specifically exclude those by typing in those categories numbers next to Exclude the Following Category IDs.

(To find the category ID, navigate to Categories and hover your mouse over the name of the category you want to exclude. While hovering, look down at the bottom left of your screen — you’ll see a grayed-out line of text, starting with your site’s URL. Keep looking until you see category&tag_ID=X. The number after the equal sign is the ID for that category.)

The number of posts you choose to show here will override the number you set previously in the Settings / Reading menu.

If You’re Using Elegant Themes or a bundled WordPress Theme

You may not have the option to choose how much of your content shows up in the blog, or the size of the thumbnail. Using TheCorporation theme, I was able to specify thumbnail size, but most of Elegant Themes’ other themes use predetermined settings. The only way to change them is by getting into the code.

If you’re using an Elegant Themes theme that gives you some of these choices, you’ll find it on your Page on the right, labeled ET Template Settings It’s usually just underneath the Page Attributes box.

ET Page Template Settings

Add the Blog Page to the Menu

Once you’ve added and configured your blog page, just add it to the menu and you’re in business.