How to Create a Custom Sidebar in WordPress? (Beginner’s Guide)

How to Create a-Custom Sidebar in WordPress

Are you curious about how to create a custom sidebar in WordPress? If you want to learn the method to create a new sidebar in your WordPress site, then this article is for you. 

As you might know, the sidebar is an important element of your website. It’s a valuable space where you can add additional information and navigation menus that are useful to your readers. Just adding a sidebar to your website will enhance the look and attract more visitors. 

Don’t know how to do that? Not a big deal. In this article, we’ll guide you regarding how to create a sidebar in WordPress. We’ll explain three different methods of creating a custom sidebar in your WordPress site. 

What is a WordPress Sidebar? (Introduction)

WordPress Sidebar is a vertical/ horizontal box on your website that appears next to your website content, on the right or left side of your page. The one that appears to the right side of your main site content is called ‘right sidebar’ and the one which appears on the left of the main content is called ‘left sidebar’.  

Sidebar Example

You can also add navigation menus and additional content (that isn’t part of your main content) to the sidebar. It’s also known as widget-ready-area as you can add your own widgets there. 

Moreover, you can add some extra information about your page on the sidebar like the social media account details, advertisements, email subscriptions, and much more. 


Why Do You Need a Custom Sidebar?

When you install a theme on your website, it comes with a default sidebar with widgets are pre-added to it. As it’s designed by the theme developers, it may not meet your requirements. In that case, you need a custom sidebar. 

A custom sidebar is a unique sidebar that is customized according to the requirement of your website. It’s not a regular sidebar that the theme offers. Instead, it’s a sidebar that you customize according to your need. 

You can easily add and remove the widgets and decide what to display on your custom sidebar. For example, you can add widgets to highlight certain content to recommend to your visitors.   

For something more complex, you can also use it on your eCommerce website to display product filters. In your custom sidebar, you can use different widgets and display different sliders like price, category, size, etc. through which your customers can filter the products that they need.  

Basically, you can add and remove the widgets on your WordPress custom sidebar according to your need and choice with just a bit of customization.


How to Create a Custom Sidebar in WordPress? (Beginner’s Guide)

We discussed the WordPress sidebar and why you might need it on your website. Now, we’ll point out the steps about how to create a sidebar in WordPress. 

In this article, we’ll talk about three different methods about how to create a custom sidebar in WordPress. They are:

  • Using WordPress Customizer
  • From Widgets Page
  • Using a Custom Sidebar WordPress Plugin

Now, let’s get started on showing you how to create a sidebar in WordPress. 

Method 1: Using WordPress Customizer

You can create a custom sidebar in your WordPress website with the help of the WordPress customizer. You can also choose the various layout options for your sidebar. For that, you’ll have to follow some steps.  

1. Choose a WordPress Theme

The first step that you need to follow to create a new sidebar in WordPress is to select a WordPress theme with plenty of sidebar options. As we discussed above, a custom sidebar is an important element of your website. In order to customize it fully, you must choose a theme that offers plenty of sidebar customization options.

ColorMag Theme

Not all themes have plenty of sidebar options. But, thankfully ColorMag theme has plenty of sidebar customization options. It’s among the best WordPress theme with a fully responsive design. So, here we have chosen this powerful theme to create a custom sidebar in WordPress using a WordPress customizer.

In order to start using this theme, first of all you need to install it in your WordPress dashboard. You can check out our article about how to install a WordPress theme which will guide you with the help of a step by step process.  


2. Create Sidebar

Now, after installing and activating the theme successfully, click on the ‘Customize’ button appearing on the screen. 

Customize Button

After a few seconds, you’ll be directed to the WordPress Customizer page from where you can customize your installed theme. Now, look at the left-hand side of your screen, find ‘Global’ there and click on it. 

Click on Global

Then, you’ll see three different options appearing in the left column of your screen. Just click on the ‘Layout’ option.

Click on Layout

Again, you’ll see two different options in the left column of your screen. Now, you need to click on ‘Sidebar Layout’

Click on Sidebar Layout

After that, you’ll see different layout options appearing in the left column of your screen.  You’ll see layout options for ‘Default layout’ (for archive, blog, search result page), ‘Default layout for pages only’ (for normal pages), and ‘Default layout for single posts only’ (for single posts). 

You can see that each of the layout options has four types of sidebar layouts. They are: ‘Right Sidebar’ (for showing right sidebar widgets), ‘Left Sidebar’ (for showing left sidebar widgets), ‘Full Width’ (for not showing the sidebar), and ‘Content Centered’ (for shrinking the contents and placing it in the center).

Layout Options

You can choose either the ‘Right Sidebar’ or ‘Left Sidebar’ layout type since they have a sidebar option. After choosing the layout type, you can live preview the look of your website. 

Sidebar Preview

3. Add Widgets in Sidebar

After successfully creating the sidebar in your WordPress, you can add widgets to the sidebar. Widgets are tiny blocks that can be placed in the WordPress sidebar. They add extra functionality to your website. 

In order to add Widgets, go back to the main menu of WordPress customizer. There, try to find ‘Widgets’ and click on it. 

Widgets

After that, you can see 13 different widget options in the left column of your screen. If you had selected the ‘Right Sidebar’ layout type in the previous step, then you’ll see the ‘Right Sidebar’ option in the widget. But if you had selected the ‘Left Sidebar’ layout type, then you’ll see the ‘Left Sidebar’ option in the widget.  

Here, we have selected the ‘Left Sidebar’ layout type. In order to add a widget in the left sidebar of your website, click on the ‘Left Sidebar’

Left Sidebar Option

Now, you’ll see a box appearing on the left side of your screen. Look for the ‘Add a Widget’ option there and click on it. 

Add a Widget

Then, a list of all the available widgets will appear. You can choose from them and add them to the sidebar of your website. Click on the widget that you want to add to the sidebar.   

Select a Widget

That’s all. Now, you have successfully added the widget to your sidebar. At last, click on ‘Publish’ to save the changes and publish your website.

Add Widgets

3. Remove Widgets from Sidebar 

While customizing your sidebar, you may also want to remove some pre-added widgets. For that, you need to follow the same step that you used to add the widget. 

Go to ‘Widgets’ and click on ‘Left Sidebar’.There, you’ll see all the widgets that are added to the left sidebar of your website. Decide which widget you want to remove and click on the ‘Arrow button facing downward’.

Downward Button

Now, the box will expand. Scroll down to find a ‘Remove’ button and click on it. 

Remove Widget

You can preview the changes in the right side of your screen. When you are done click on the ‘Publish’ button to save the changes.    

Publish Button

Method 2: From WordPress Widgets Page

You can also create a custom sidebar in WordPress directly from the WordPress widgets page. From here, you can directly add and remove widgets to your sidebar.         

For this also, the WordPress theme that is installed on your dashboard should have sidebar options. Only then it’ll come with a default sidebar with pre-added widgets. In fact, it’s an alternative method to the ‘Customizer’ method explained above.

Here we’ll show how to create a custom sidebar in WordPress using Twenty Seventeen theme

To customize the sidebar and change it into a custom sidebar you need to follow the given steps.

1. Add Widgets in Sidebar

In order to customize the default sidebar on your website, you need to add the widgets that you think are necessary in your site. For this, login to your dashboard and find ‘Appearance’. Hover your mouse pointer over it and from the pop up click on ‘Widgets’

Appearance to Widgets

After that, you’ll be directed to the ‘Widgets’ page. There, you’ll see the available widgets on the left side of your screen. Next to it, you’ll see the default sidebar box. Here, it’s named as ‘Blog Sidebar’.

Blog Sidebar

Now, you need to drag the available widgets and drop them to the ‘Blog Sidebar’ box. After that, you need to add a title to it and click on ‘Save’.

Drag and Drop Widget

That’s all. You can now check the changes you made by visiting the website.

Preview Website

2. Remove Widgets from Sidebar

After adding the widgets that you need on your website, you should also be able to remove the pre-added widgets that you think aren’t needed. On the ‘Widgets’ page, look in the sidebar box. There you’ll see all the widgets that are added to the sidebar of your website. 

From there, select the widgets that you want to remove from the sidebar of your website. You’ll see a ‘Drop down arrow’ next to the widgets. Simply, click on it. 

Dropdown Icon

Now, the widget box will expand. After that, find the ‘Delete’ button in the box and click on it. That’s it.

Delete Button

Now, you have successfully removed the widget from the sidebar. You can preview the changes in your website.


Method 3: Using a Custom Sidebar WordPress Plugin 

The next method that you can follow to create a sidebar in WordPress is by using a custom sidebar WordPress plugin. Again, like the previous method you should use a theme with a sidebar option to use this method. After that, you need to follow some steps.

1. Choose a WordPress Plugin

First, you need to select a sidebar WordPress Plugin. Here, we have used the Easy Custom Sidebars plugin. Using it, you can manage and replace sidebars on your website. It’s compatible with all the themes and doesn’t require any coding.

Easy Custom Sidebars

You need to install and activate the Easy Custom Sidebars plugin to start using it. If you need any help to complete the installation process, you can have a look at our article: ‘How to Install a WordPress Plugin? (Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners)’


2. Create Custom Sidebar

After completing the installation and activation of the WordPress plugin, you can start creating a custom sidebar in WordPress. 

Find ‘Appearance’ on the left side of your screen and hove your mouse cursor over it. You’ll see different options appearing there. Click on ‘Sidebar Replacements’.

Sidebar Replacements

Now, you’ll reach the ‘Sidebar Replacements’ page. There, you’ll see a box where you need to enter the ‘Sidebar Name’. Enter the sidebar name and try to find the ‘Create sidebar’ option on the page and click on it. Here, it’s named as ‘Example Sidebar’.

Create Sidebar

Again, you’ll automatically reach the ‘Edit Sidebar’ page. There, you need to choose the location for the sidebar from the box on the left side of the screen. You need to choose from each category (posts, pages, etc.) and click on ‘Add to Sidebar’. Then, the selected location will be added to the ‘Sidebar Replacements’ box automatically.

Widgets Location

After that, scroll down the page to reach the ‘Sidebar properties’ box. There, select the sidebar that you want to replace with the new one. You can also add some ‘Sidebar description’ and click on ‘Save Sidebar’ at the end.

Replace Sidebar

You have successfully created a sidebar in WordPress. Now, the ‘Blog Sidebar’ of your website will be replaced by the ‘Example Sidebar’. Only those widgets will be displayed on your website that are added to ‘Example Sidebar’.


3. Add and Remove Widgets

After creating the custom sidebar in WordPress now, you need to add the widget. Again, on the left side of your screen, find ‘Widgets’ and click on it.

Find Widgets

You’ll be directed to the ‘Widgets’ page. Now, just like the previous method you need to drag the available widgets and drop them to the ‘Example Sidebar’ box that you created. After that, you need to add a title to it and click on ‘Save’

Dragging Widget

Again, following the same steps as shown in the previous method, you can remove the widgets from your ‘Example Sidebar’. You can follow this step if you think something you added isn’t required. 

At last, preview your website and see all the changes made in your sidebar. 

Preview the Changes

Conclusion

In this way, you can create a custom sidebar in WordPress. Sidebars not only make your website beautiful but also makes it information. When different widgets are added to the sidebar, your website visitors can easily access additional functionality. 

Now, we hope that your query about how to create a sidebar in WordPress has been successfully addressed. You can follow our guide and start creating a sidebar. You can use any of the mentioned methods out of three and easily create a new sidebar in your WordPress website.

Don’t forget to share this article with your social circle. Also, please give your valuable feedback in the comment section below. 

If you’re interested to learn how to edit the header and footer in WordPress, don’t forget to have a look at our blog.  

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ThemeGrill Author

We are a team of SEO copywriters and editors who work both individually and in the team. ThemeGrill author is where one of the editors here is working on one project personally. Write to us @themegrill_blog in Twitter.

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