Glossary WordPress Tutorial

What is a Sidebar in WordPress?

If you are starting a website or a blog, you might wonder what is a sidebar in WordPress. Well, wonder no more, we are here to explain. Generally, it is an area where you can place widgets. That is why it’s also called a widget-ready area.

It complements the main content shown in the middle of your blog. That being said, customizing a sidebar is not a must. It is, however, useful if you want to put some extra information on the page.

Please also note that the definition applies to any website platforms, including WordPress. Take a look at the red boxes shown on pictures below:

sidebar on hostinger website
How we use the sidebar area on our blog

 

referral candy sidebar for social media channels
ReferralCandy

 

various widgets on serious eats sidebar
Serious Eats

There you go! You can put anything on your site, as long as you have the specific widgets for it. Bear in mind that a sidebar doesn’t necessarily have to be on the “side”. It could be near your footer too – or any widget area on your page.

One thing though – don’t shove random content to the sidebar just because you can. Fill it with something that adds value to your website, otherwise, your user experience might be at stake.

Top 5 Practical Uses of the Sidebar Area

To customize your sidebar area, head to Appearance > Widgets and drag-and-drop your preferred widgets.

If you want to create more areas, we recommend using the Custom Sidebars plugin. This plugin eliminates the need for coding but the result is just as powerful.

Now that you have enough space, what should you put in it? Aside from advertisements, here are our suggestions:

  1. Reading Recommendation
    Don’t let your visitors leave after reading only one post. Guide their attention to your popular and related posts. Not only will that drive more traffic, but it will also increase your SEO performance. The longer they stay, the higher you rank on search engines.
    Recommended plugins: WordPress Popular Posts and Jetpack
  2. Email Subscription
    If your visitors like your content, chances are they want to hear more from you. Try placing an email subscription form on the sidebar. They might subscribe for easier updates.
    Recommended plugins: OptinMonster, MailChimp
  3. Social Media Feature
    Great posts are meant to be shared. Place social sharing buttons on your sidebar and let your visitors spread your content around. If you have social media channels, you can add extra widgets that lead your visitors to each account.
    Recommended plugins: Simple Social Icons, Easy Social Share
  4. Social Proof
    There’s no shame in showing off your reputation. Be it subscription stats or testimonials – make it visible. Social proof helps you earn trust from your visitors, especially if they’re new to your site.
    Recommended plugins: Social Count Plus, Testimonials Widgets

    sidebar as social proof on etramping
    Social proof to justify the article’s popularity
  5. Sticky Sidebar
    Think of your long posts. As your visitors scroll down to read it, your sidebar stays at the top. This feature lets you ‘stick’ it to the page, so the visitors will always see content.
    Recommended plugins: Q2W3 Fixed Widget, Sticky Menu (Or Anything) on Scroll

    social media sticky sidebar on psych2go
    The page is way down but the sidebar stays intact

Conclusion

A sidebar is often taken for granted. If you can cultivate it properly, however, it may help your website grow.

 

About the author

Herawan Dwika P.

A Psychology and Marketing graduate, Dwika possesses a solid mix of empathy and good eyes for opportunities that lead him towards earning years of experience with WordPress, Linux, and Hosting. When he's not sharing his knowledge with others, Dwika works on his social platform, promoting humanity through the web. He's also a movie enthusiast. He takes them very, very seriously.

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