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What is WordPress sidebar and how to create it

What Is WordPress Sidebar and How to Create It

WordPress sidebar is a theme feature that allows you to organize your content so it can attract the reader’s attention. Basically, it’s a vertical column in which you can display information other than the main content of the web page. Most often sidebars are positioned at the left or right of the content. But, what is more important is you can customize it to fit your needs. As a website administrator, you can easily set different elements in order to offer great user experience for your site visitors. Although website’s sidebar is one of its essential elements, have in mind it’s most often used for secondary content purposes.

Secondary content is also crucial for the website, the only difference is its attention doesn’t come first. Here, you can display the content that will help users navigate in a different way. Also, the sidebar is great for highlighting sections of the site with important information or special offers. With the sidebar, you can both include content that will gain more attention or the content that is important but shouldn’t take away focus from the main content.

Now, we will take you through all the steps needed for including content and editing your WordPress Sidebar:

What to Include in Your WordPress Sidebar

The sidebar can be beneficial for a wide array of content types. For starters, take some time and think about the content that will benefit the most from being featured in the sidebar. The great thing about the sidebar is you can highlight content in different forms – from short blurbs, and lists to the images. This website area is ideal for organizing navigation. While the primary navigation may be available, content you include in your WordPress sidebar can act as essential navigation as well. But this is only a start.

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Depending on the website type, you can choose to highlight whatever you like or find important.

Add an About Section

Sidebar area is a great place to introduce yourself to your visitors who will first end up landing on a random page of your site instead of your home page. Thus, you should place a short info about you or your company somewhere easily noticeable in your WordPress sidebar. We recommend that you put your about info at the top of your sidebar. This gives visitors an opportunity to learn a thing or two about what you’re about while checking your content. As a result, this could inspire them to further explore your website.

Put an Opt-in Form

Adding an opt-in form to your sidebar is great if you want your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter, mailing list, YouTube channel, or any other service you may be offering through your website or blog. When it comes to opt-in form creation process, there are plenty of different ways available in which you can make one. You can easily create an opt-in form in any way you like with the help of some of the plugins that you can find online, such as MailChimp or OptinMonster.

Add Social Media Links

If you have other places on the web where people can find you, then be sure to add them to your sidebar. Generally, this can be done in two ways. You can either use a plugin that will pull content from your social media to your page, for example Social Icons Widget, or add social icons.

Add Your Most Recent Blog Posts

This is also a great place to put any recent posts that you have on your blog. In this way, your visitors will be instantly up to date with the latest subjects that you’ve covered on your page.

Add Your Topics

Another suggestion is to add the list of topics you regularly write about in your blog. However, if this list is too diverse and it’s troublesome for you to add them all, then just select a few of the most recurring topics to give the visitors a general idea of what content you cover the most. Like this you will also be able to avoid clogging up your sidebar.

Put a Banner Ad or Offer

Do you have any recent offer for your visitors, or you simply want to put a link that would lead them to any associated website or some other place that you want to promote on your page? Then putting a banner in your sidebar is an ideal solution. Once you design a graphic that corresponds with your ad, just link it to the page in question. This is also a great option if you have an online shop. You can help user find the products or items they want with ease. Just emphasize the product’s categories or allow customers to use filter by price, color or size. Possibilities are numerous. If you want your ads to get noticed, WordPress sidebar is an ideal place to put them. Since many websites use this strategy, this has become like a standard. In other words, users expect the banners and promo offer here, so they won’t get annoyed when they run into an ad in your sidebar. On the contrary, they might get interested.

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How to Edit WordPress Sidebar and Add Content

Before we explain what the best way to edit WordPress sidebar is, let’s have a closer look at WordPress themes. When it comes to sidebar design every theme is different. So, the place of a sidebar is predefined and most often you will be able to use left or the right sidebar. Some themes, on the other hand, come with the large collection of sidebar designs. In a case you want to experiment with your sidebar and try different options, look for a theme that will give you many sidebar possibilities. The theme Bolge is great for this purpose.

Now, let’s see how you can edit WordPress sidebar and add content you want using the WP theme of your choice. In case you need additional functionalities, you can also create a sidebar with Custom Sidebars plugin, but we will show you how to do it the most straightforward way, without the need for any kind of plugin.

First, go to Appearance and click on the Widgets.

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On the left side, you can see all the available widgets. The right part is dedicated to blog sidebar. All you have to do is to mark the widget you want to add and drag it over into the sidebar field. If your theme comes with a larger sidebar collection, you would be able to see more fields for the sidebar here.

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But there is also another way to add widgets to your website. Go to Appearance and choose Customize. Now, select Widgets.

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Thanks to live preview you will be able to preview changes to your sidebar before deciding to save them.

In a case you want to include a specific widget that isn’t packed with your theme, there is also a solution. There are some really awesome widgets plugins you can use to create a sidebar that fits your needs.

Let’s take MyCalendar plugin as an example. After you install it, you will be able to see the field with the calendar options. These fields will be added automatically.

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You can as well insert a shortcode in the text block widget. This is a case with Instagram feed plugin. This plugin contains the list of shortcodes and different options you can use on your sidebar.

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In Conclusion

As you can see, adding an useful and attractive sidebar to your website is definitely not rocket science. We named only some of the most common sidebar uses here, but that’s certainly not all you can use it for. After you decide what exactly you want to achieve with your sidebar, you can let your creativity shine and make the best out of this handy feature.

We hope this article was helpful. If you liked it, feel free to check out some of these articles as well!

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