How do I add a block to the home page only above the content section, but below the navigation to spread across the page whilst still using the two-column template?
I am using Magento version 1.9.
You don't need to create a module at all. You can use Widgets in Magento 1.4+:
Click on CMS > Widgets:
Click on "Add a new Widget Instance":
Select "CMS Static Block" and the name of your theme:
Then, under 'frontend properties' give it a title and click "Add Layout Update", and configure it as shown to display only on the home page in the main content block:
Under Widget Options select the static block you want to display:
And Put the code
Here's a really quick way to do it...
Create a module:
Then add the following to your config file
And in your theme folder app/design/frontend/YOURTHEME/default/template/page/1column-home.phtml
Then in your Magento admin create a static block called 'custom_block' or whatever and add it to 1column-home.phtml after the header:
Be sure to add some content to the static block and select your new homepage layout from the design tab in CMS pages...