WordPress Sidebars

EWU WordPress themes come with multiple layout options, and most of them include sidebars. Sidebars are a good way to display important information on your site. They’re highly customizable and versatile. With WordPress, you have the option to create global sidebars—sidebars that will appear the same across your entire site—or you can create custom sidebars to selectively display on certain pages.

Sidebars in EWU WordPress themes act as widget areas: areas on your website where you can add widgets such as social media icons or search bars.

EWU WordPress themes come with two default sidebar widget areas: the primary sidebar and the secondary sidebar. If your site layout only has one sidebar, it will display the primary sidebar. If your site layout has two sidebars, it will display the primary and secondary sidebar.

Adding Content to Sidebars

To add content to a sidebar, you must use widgets. If you haven’t learned about widgets yet, first read our article: Using Widgets. Using Widgets explains in detail what a widget is, what a widget area is, and how to add widgets to widget areas. This article summarizes one way to add widgets to widget areas but in less detail.

First, navigate to the Widgets page. From your website, hover over the name of your site in the Admin toolbar and select Widgets from the drop down. Or, from the dashboard of your site, you can hover over Appearance and select Widgets from the options. This will direct you to the Widgets page.

Widgets page

Available widgets are located on the left side of the Widgets page. The primary and secondary sidebars are located on the right, with the other widget areas. If you have any custom sidebars, they will also be located in the widget areas. (We’ll get to custom sidebars in a moment.)

To add a widget to a sidebar, drag and drop the widget into the sidebar. Or you can click on the widget, select the widget area from the drop-down, and select Add Widget.

Once a widget is added to the sidebar, click the widget to expand its configuration options. Here you can add content or customize settings for that widget. Select Save to save your changes.

To move or rearrange widgets, click and drag the widget up or down within the sidebar.

To remove a widget from the sidebar, open the configuration options and click Delete.

Your website will automatically reflect changes to sidebars, which is why there is no Save button on the Widgets page. You only need to save when you make changes to individual widgets.

Creating Custom Sidebars

The primary and secondary sidebars are useful for displaying site-wide content, but what if you have sidebar content you want to tailor to a single page? With Genesis Simple Sidebars, you can create new sidebars and customize them to your pages. Here’s how.

Adding a new sidebar

To add a new sidebar, first go to the dashboard of your site. In the dashboard sidebar, hover over the Genesis tab and select Simple Sidebars.

Genesis options with Simple Sidebars highlighted

This will take you to the Genesis Simple Sidebars page. On the right side of the page are your current sidebars. These include all your existing widget areas, whether or not they are actually sidebars. On the left side of the page is the form to create a new sidebar.

To create a new sidebar, enter a title, an ID, and a description for that sidebar. You can use the details of the existing sidebars as examples. Once you have filled in this information, click Add New Sidebar. Your new sidebar will appear under your list of current sidebars.

The new sidebar will also appear on the Widgets page with the rest of your widget areas. Now you can add widgets to your custom sidebar, just as you would with the primary or secondary sidebar.

Adding a custom sidebar to a page

Once you’ve created a new sidebar and added your content to it, it’s time to add it to the page. First, navigate to the page you want to add the sidebar to. Then edit the page.

The first thing to do on the Edit Page screen is scroll down until you see Layout Settings. Make sure you have selected a layout with a sidebar.

Layout settings

Then locate a section called Sidebar Selection on the right side of the Edit Page screen. This section lists every widget area available to use on your page. All widget areas will be set to default.

Sidebar selection

To use your custom sidebar instead, choose the widget area you want to replace and select your custom sidebar from the drop-down. Most likely, you will choose to replace the primary or secondary sidebar. Remember that if your layout only has one sidebar, you should replace the primary sidebar. If your layout has two sidebars, you can replace either the primary or the secondary.

Press the Update button to save your changes. Your page will now display your custom sidebar.