How to Make a WordPress Sidebar Smashing

I recently was asked to create a WordPress website with many sophisticated features. One of the requirements was to have a flexible/ customize wordpress sidebar so different widgets can be used according to the owner preferences on different posts, pages as well as categories and tags. There are a few widgets and plugins that I used and would like to share as thanks to them this project was so enjoyable. I would like to share a few of the widgets and plugins I used for this project that made is so enjoyable:

WordPress Custom Sidebar
This is the basic step to make your sidebar smashing! The plug-in allows you to customise or tailor your sidebar depending where you are on the site. It not only allows you to choose between different widgets to use on different pages or posts, but you also have flexibility on a URL level. It means that you can choose on which posts/ pages/ categories and tabs you can use that specific widget. It really helps you to change the theme to make it look really original. The WordPress Custom Sidebar is the starting point for the other two plugins.

Here is an example how the the wordpress sidebar was customized for WP Geo widget:

Wordpress Custom Sidebar Screenshot

WP Geo
As the website I was creating was travel related, the blog owner wanted to have a map with locations of the spot described in the article/ post. Again, there are many Google maps plug-ins available and it takes awhile to go through the most popular in a single post. Many of them are just amazing and work really well. Unfortunately, they usually give you a possibility to add your map with location to your post or page, not to the wordpress sidebar. But there is one plugin that does the job! Its called WP Geo by Ben Huson. Play a little with the settings and you will get a beautifully working map on the sidebar sections. In order to do so, download and install the plugin, go to its settings section, change the “Show Post Map“ option to Manual. In this way, the map will not appear within the post/ page itself but just within the sidebar. It’s really a great tool. You can find all its features on WP Geo site

and another example how WP Geo widget can be used:

WP Geo - Example: customized sidebar

WP Custom Field Search
WP Custom Field Search allows you to create a sophisticated search engine based on tags or categories you use. It accepts multiple form inputs to be configured to search different aspects of a post. If it is configured properly, it can become a very powerful search engine on your site and it’s just an ideal tool for travel or real estates sites! Again, the WP Custom Field Search gives you an enormous flexibility as it can be used everywhere within your website as it can be added to the code manually or can be added to the wordpress sidebar by using its widget in the widget section.

If you install some of those plugins and have any problems and questions, feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below this post. I will be more than happy to help.

Mags Sikora

I'm Mags, an SEO Consultant, London

  • http://getgaragedooropeners.com/ door openers

    interesting lesson on the sidebar, I enjoyed it very usefuln

  • Mike

    You could also use a plugin such as the Graceful Sidebar Plugin to create custom sidebar content for your pages or posts.

    Enjoy!
    Mike

  • Mike

    You could also use a plugin such as the Graceful Sidebar Plugin to create custom sidebar content for your pages or posts.

    Enjoy!
    Mike

  • http://www.pageinvasion.com/ PageInvasion

    Hey Mags, thanks for a great post. I was looking for a solution to be able to add Google maps into a widget, but I think that WP Geo will do the trick, I will just include in the sitebar and make different templates for each different area. Thanks so much, glad I found your post!