The best way to create custom sidebars in WordPress

One of the things I like the most about WordPress is that nothing seems to be impossible. Every time a client throws a request at me, I know I will find a solution for it.

Out of the box, WordPress only offers one sidebar across a site. You can choose whether to have a sidebar on your page or not, but if you choose to have it, it’s automatically always the same sidebar. A client of mine needed the static pages sidebar on their site to be different from the blog feed and posts sidebar. So I helped them create custom sidebars in WordPress.

A quick and easy guide to having as many sidebars as you want on your WordPress site.

How to create custom sidebars in WordPress

This issue is very easily solved, thanks to the excellent Custom Sidebars plugin by wpmudev.

Custom Sidebars plugin by wpmudev


Once you’ve installed this plugin, in the dashboard go to Appearance> Widgets. You will see that in the right hand side you now have a heading called ‘Sidebars‘, with a button saying ‘Create a new sidebar‘. Simply click on it and create a new sidebar, name it as you like, and drag the widgets that you need to have on it.

In The Stop Hunter’s case, for the static pages I needed to display an affiliate link and banner, which I did by dragging a Text widget on the sidebar and pasting the affiliate code into it; Genesis Featured posts, the Twitter feed, a search box and the newsletter sign up.

The sidebars widget in the Appearance area

The great thing about this plugin is the Sidebar Location tab, which allows you to be very specific as to where you want that sidebar to appear, and also in which widgetised area for those themes that have more than one. I am using Genesis Parallax Pro for The Stop Hunter’s site, which comes with a number of widgetised areas.

Define where you want your custom sidebar to appear.

Should that not be enough, you are also able to specify which sidebar you want to appear on a specific post or page simply from a drop-down menu on the right hand side as you write the post or page itself.
So now you have neatly and quickly created two different areas of the website, each with its own type of content and sidebar. But you don’t have to limit yourself to two: on this specific website I have as many as four, and could have as many as I need to.

The sidebar on the static pages

The sidebar on the blog pages


If you found this post useful, you might also find these other two of use:

How to exclude categories in WordPress

How to hide content in WordPress feeds and archives

Leave a comment