Quick Tip: Create Custom WordPress Sidebars for Categories or Pages

Many bloggers set up a single sidebar and then include that sidebar on every page of their blogs. But what happens if you have categories that would benefit from different sidebar content, or pages on your blog where you'd like a custom sidebar?

Maybe you want to place hand-picked affiliate ads, or you want to promote different books on different sections of your blog. Whatever your reason, you can create custom sidebars and have them appear only where you want them to on your WordPress site.

The Custom Sidebars Plugin

If your blog or other WordPress website is a good candidate for custom sidebars, this plugin is a great place to start. You can set up new sidebars to replace the default one (or to replace other widget areas in your theme).

Get the Custom Sidebars Plugin

What can you do with it?

  • Have a custom sidebar for each blog category.
  • Set up custom sidebars for specific pages (such as a special sidebar with a contact form for your contact page or a sidebar with your personal bio for your blog's About page).
  • Create custom sidebars for different post types, if you're using custom post types (such as having a different sidebar for the portfolio section of your site).

This is a plugin I personally use, including here at All Freelance Writing. And I have plans to use it even more extensively in the near future. I'm lucky that my theme here already comes with the ability to swap different sidebars in for different areas of the site. But the number of custom sidebars is limited. Any more, and the plugin comes into play.

Not all themes have that option. So if you've felt stuck with a single sidebar, give the Custom Sidebars plugin a try. Promote your books and services more effectively. Share related posts with more relevant readers. You might be surprised at how much more flexible your WordPress site becomes with this plugin installed.

Have you used this or a similar plugin before? What do you like best about being able to customize your sidebars? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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8 thoughts on “Quick Tip: Create Custom WordPress Sidebars for Categories or Pages”

    • Honestly, I’ve had nothing but negative experiences with the Woocommerce folks, so I can’t recommend their plugins. But for those who must use Woocommerce, then using their own plugin for this is certainly an option.

  1. I have never liked the idea of the same sidebar on each page. This looks great, Jenn. Thanks for the tips. I am planning a redesign of my site so the suggestion is timely. 😉

    • I hope it works out well for you Cathy, especially if you end up combining sites which I know is something you had been considering. If nothing else it’ll help you deliver more targeted content to those audiences. 🙂

  2. Hi Jennifer, great article and I really like the video of the plugin! However when you are running a medium sized or big site, the Custom Sidebars plugin will slow it down significantly… have you experienced this?
    I was once searching for a plugin so I could display sidebars for posts in certain categories and after trying several plugins I found “Content Aware Sidebars”.
    It simply has amazing features and today it is one of the plugins I install on every site!

    • No, I haven’t experienced any slowdowns with the plugin, even on this site with a lot of posts and with quite a few other plugins, including some heavy-duty ones. It’s been one of my few problem-free plugins so far. 🙂

      Perhaps it wasn’t playing nice with your theme or another plugin on your site. Either way, there are certainly other options out there, and I’m glad you found one that works well for you. 🙂


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