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Best way to make a hub page with blocks of dynamic content in wordpress?

  • New to wordpress- have developed in Drupal for the last 5 yrs. Been reading docs – just trying to get opinions on people more seasoned to save me from going the wrong direction.

    Issue: Making a hub page for a site – where it will pull and display teaser or summary like information from the other parts of the site and an image that represents that part of the site.

    Need:
    1. 2 blocks or widget areas within the content area over taking the content area or below it.
    2. I need to keep the footer – with the site map the way it is – so can not use them for this.
    3. The blocks need to be 50% width floating next to each other.
    4. Need one block to be blog block pulling 3 titles or 1 title of a blog post with an featured image.
    5. Other would be an events block with the featured events.

    I have an image showing what I need.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1UtLF9ZEXTiaW9HZWJidUZEUFE/edit?usp=sharing

    Questions? Does the answer reside in?

    1. Creating widgetized areas? And placing new widgets in the content area of a page template?
    2. Creating a template and hardcoding the design and content directly in the template
    3. If so would I – are you able to pull pieces/parts of a post or a page – like the tittle; featured image; and excerpt – in order to create a user experience like i show?
    4. Can I limit the content to just certain categories or taxonomy? Such as for the blog block – would want only the main user’s blog recent or featured blog post to diplayed in there.

    Any help or pointing in the right direction would help. Thank you.

    Jamie

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