Easy Page-Specific WordPress Sidebars

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In yet another step to make WordPress function more like a CMS than a simple blog, there is a recently updated plugin that I think is worth noting.
By default, the WordPress sidebar remains identical on every single page of your web site. However, sometimes we need to be able to have a specific sidebars for different pages. For example, maybe you have a “Products” page that needs testimonials along the sidebar while your “About Us” page sidebar needs to display a listing of awards.

Solutions:

The Advanced Way:
Create a separate page template with it’s own sidebar widget function. Alternately, you could include a conditional statement in your sidebar.php to display different sidebars depending on the page that’s being displayed.

If none of what I’m saying makes any sense to you, then you’ll probably want…
The “Regular Folks” Way:
Simply download the Per Page Sidebars plugin at
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/per-page-sidebars.
Once it’s installed, you’ll notice that at the bottom of each of your pages is a box titled “Custom Sidebar” (see image below). To set up a unique custom sidebar for the page that you’re creating, simply check the “Activate Custom Sidebar” box, and select which of the sidebar widget areas you’d like to replace. In the screenshot below, we’re replacing the “Primary Widget Area” – which is the sidebar that goes at the upper right-hand side of every page.

Now go into the “Widgets” page of your admin, and you’ll see a new widget area labled “PPS-” followed by the name of the page with the page-specific sidebar.

A couple of things to consider:

  • At this time the plugin only allows you to set up custom sidebars for pages, and not for posts or custom post types.
  • Removing a custom sidebar widget was a little bit unintuitive. To do so, simply go to the page with the custom sidebar, and uncheck not only the “Activate Custom Sidebar?” checkbox, but also the radio button next to the name of the sidebar that your custom sidebar was replacing.

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