How To Add And Customize A WordPress Sidebar

While you are engaged in the process of developing a WordPress website, you will need to pay extra attention towards its navigation. This is where the sidebar comes into play. Some designers tend to limit themselves to the navigation bar located at the top of the WordPress website. However, you should always utilize your website’s full capabilities whenever possible. For instance, you can deliver a much better experience to your visitors just by enhancing the navigation menu on your site. And one way of enhancing the menu, is to place some navigation items onto your site’s sidebar. Take a look at our “How to Add and Customize a WordPress Sidebar” guide to learn more.

What is a WordPress Sidebar?

Before you start utilizing a sidebar on your website; you should ask yourself, what purpose will this sidebar serve for me? For example, if you are trying to introduce a new navigation system for your website, you shouldn’t just focus on the style, layout and design of the new navigation menu. You should instead give great importance to the level of functionality that you can provide for your new users.

Because, at the end of the day; the main objective here isn’t for your website to just look nice and pretty. Instead, you should make sure that your users are provided with an easy to navigation system that they can use to browse your website with relative ease.

Just keep in mind that, when you only have a traditional navigation bar available to your visitors, they might miss out on some of the other good content that’s available to them on your web.  Your goal is to keep these visitors on your website as long as possible.  Keep them reading one article after another. By utilizing a sidebar, you can actually place secondary navigation systems on your pages that scroll with the user as they read through the content.

In fact, you can utilize your sidebars for a variety of tasks. They can be used to display specific widgets, plugins and more. For example, you can display links your website’s most popular posts on the side bar. Having a good looking sidebar also helps you visually stand out from the other sea of websites available out there on the internet. The sidebar can deliver some much-needed assistance to you when you are trying to personalize your website.

How to Find and Install a WordPress Sidebar

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Just like most things WordPress, the Sidebar is a very easy to manage component for your website. In fact, a sidebar is most likely already available with your WordPress theme and all you have to do is to go ahead and enable it. You can customize the sidebar with the hundreds of widgets available on WordPress. So, if you have a Theme that supports sidebars, then you can continue reading on to find out how to add and customize a WordPress Sidebar.

  1. Log into your WordPress Dashboard
  2. On the left menu, go to Appearance and then click on Customize.
  3. Once you are in the Customizer, click on Widgets.
  4. Most themes will have a Widget area called Sidebar.  Go ahead and click on that.
  5. If you currently have Widgets in your sidebar, you will see them there now. You can go ahead and drag the Widgets around to re-organize them.
  6. To add a new widget to your sidebar, just click on the “Add a Widget” button on your Sidebar* Widget area.
  7. To remove a Widget from your WordPress sidebar, go ahead and click on the Widget itself and select the “Remove” option under that Widget.

How to Customize a WordPress Sidebar

The best way customize a WordPress website is to go ahead and install new Plugins (Widgets) for your site. By utilizing a variety of plugins, you can massively extend the functionality of your site.

A plugin that we also recommend for WordPress customization is the Custom Sidebars plugin. What this plugin allows you to do is to manage and replace your Theme’s existing sidebars and other widget areas with Custom Sidebars and a flexible widget area manager. With this plugin, you can make custom sidebar configurations and choose what widgets display on each page or post of your website. The Custom Sidebar plugin allows you to display different sidebars on different pages and posts on your site. It also allows you to dynamically display custom widget configurations on any page, post, category, post type, or archive page. Here is a link to the Custom Sidebars plugin.

Conclusion – How to Add and Customize a WordPress Sidebar

Now that you are aware of what WordPress sidebars are and how to use them; if there ever comes a time where you need to add new functionality to your site, you should always remember to use your website’s sidebar feature. The Sidebar can deliver an impressive experience to your visitors that is both easy and fun for you to manage.

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