Introducing Sidebar & Widget Manager for WordPress
Hot diggety folks! There’s a powerful new player in the arena of WordPress sidebar plugins. The Sidebar & Widget Manager for WordPress gives you several cool ways to manage the display of your sidebars and widgets:
- Widgetize any page to create the page layout of your dreams.
- Create as many custom sidebars as you want.
- Insert any custom sidebar in any page or post content with shortcodes.
- Replace existing theme sidebars with your custom ones.
- Decide where to display your sidebars (pages, posts, archives, categories, taxonomies, etc.)
- Granular control for the display of individual widgets too! (Enable this in the plugin options.)
Widgetize a page
Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin (with zero configuration!), you’ll see a new metabox appear beneath the content editor when creating or editing a page. There, you can insert whichever sidebars you want, in any layout you can imagine.
Here’s an example of the kind of page layout you can create with this plugin. Imagine building a magazine-style page layout like this, and setting it as your homepage. Your WordPress site will get a whole new life!
Create custom sidebars
Don’t want to use the existing sidebars that came with your theme? Create and add your own! In the “Add Sidebar” section in your wp-admin, you can create as many custom sidebars as you want. Custom sidebars can be set to display the widgets in a vertical arrangement (default WordPress behavior) or horizontally. There, you can also set any custom sidebar to replace an existing theme sidebar. Any custom sidebar you activate will be instantly available in your Appearance > Widgets area for you to add widgets.
As you can see in the above screenshot, you can also set your custom sidebars to display only for certain types of content. Plus, and this is really cool, the plugin automatically recognizes all the custom taxonomies that are available. For example, if you have MarketPress from WPMUdev.org installed, the plugin will recognize the custom post type (product) as well as all the associated taxonomies. This means you can set custom sidebars to display related products on individual product pages, or display featured products on product category archives, or any other arrangement you can think of.
A shortcode is generated for each custom sidebar you create. Using the shortcode, you can insert a custom sidebar in the content of any page or post. Yes, widgets in posts! With a little CSS savvy, you can style the sidebar content by wrapping the shortcode in a div container so the content wraps around it. The example screenshot below shows a custom sidebar inserted in a post with the following simple code:
Replace an existing sidebar
Already have a number of sidebars included in your theme but want more control over how they display too? Nothing could be easier with this plugin. When you create or edit a custom sidebar, you can set it to replace any theme sidebar, and set the conditions too. This means you can now customize the sidebar content and widget appearance in any widgetized area of any theme, even the footer.
Display only on selected content
As mentioned above, each custom sidebar can be set to display only for the content types you select. It can be a bit tricky if you’re zeroing in on a very specific content type, because you need to consider things like templates, template hierarchy, categories, etc. But with a little experimentation, you can get things just right. The plugin supports all the following content types:
- Page templates
- Custom post types
- Post type archives
- WordPress service pages – home, front, 404, search, etc.
Visibility settings for every widget too!
If you enable this feature in the plugin options (it’s the only option), you’ll see a new “Set Visibility” button on each widget you drag to your sidebars. Clicking that button will open a modal window where you can select where that particular widget should display. The settings are identical to the ones above but, with this feature, you also have granular control over every widget.
Note that each section of the modal will only show the 15 most recent entries in the content type you select. But a useful feature with this option is the ability to filter out everything you don’t need. Very handy indeed if you have hundreds of pages or thousands of posts!
Want to see for yourself?
How to widgetize a page
How to replace a sidebar
How to set widget visibility