We tried coming up with a more exciting name for Custom Sidebars but what else do you call a plugin that gives you custom sidebars? Or more specifically, allows you to display different content in your sidebars and footers to different users who visit your site?
Without a doubt, Custom Sidebars is a must-have plugin, especially if you run a membership site. First-time visitors to your site don’t necessarily need to see the same content in your sidebars as regular visitors. Likewise, it makes sense to display different information (or widgets) to users who are logged into your site (such as account details), as opposed to users who are logged out.
Yes, the one-size-fits-all sidebars approach doesn’t work, which is why we created the aptly named Custom Sidebars plugin. It’s available to download for free from WordPress.org and there’s a premium version, too, which we call Custom Sidebars Pro.
In this post, we’re going to run you through some examples of what you can do with Custom Sidebars to control the widgetized areas of your site and how to set it up.
Why Use Custom Sidebars?
With Custom Sidebars you can create as many sidebar configurations for your site as needed – for first-time visitors or members, for specific pages on your site, for special landing pages, you name it – and trigger them to display as needed.
Here are a few examples of how you could use Custom Sidebars:
- If you run a blog that features reviews, opinions or tutorials, you could trigger a custom sidebar for each category that best reflects and supports the topic.
- Share a calendar, promotional code or special offer with logged in users, based on their WordPress user role.
- If you run an e-Commerce site, display a product list or list of featured articles.
- Display advertisements only to users who aren’t logged into your site.
And here is what you can control in the backend of the free version of the plugin:
- Sidebars for all the posts that belong to a category
- Sidebars for all the posts that belong to a post-type
- Sidebars for archives (by category, post-type, author, tag)
- Sidebars for the main blog page
- Sidebars for search results