Effective WordPress Sidebars – Part 2 in the Conversion Series

Conversion Friendly WordPress Sidebars

How To Make Your WordPress Site Conversion Friendly: Part 2 – Effective WordPress Sidebars

Sidebars are one of the best places to put your calls to action. Widgets make your life easy and almost every theme has ’em! But we need to exercise some self-restraint when working with sidebars to make them effective.

Control Your Sidebars!

The reason you need to control your sidebars is so that you can tailor the content based on the area of the site the user is in. Some themes may have already baked in a way for you to choose different sidebars on different pages so that you can have different widgets accordingly. But many have one sidebar that will display the same set of widgets on every area of the site. If you want to get really refined about the conversion process you’ll need more control.

My favorite plugin for this is Display Widgets which I discuss over here

If your theme does not give you a way to choose a different sidebar per page, you need to go grab yourself one of the plugins listed.

What Should Go In Sidebars?

Sidebars often become the dumping ground for all the stuff you want people to see but can’t fit anywhere else. But less is more in this case, and more is just…..diluting and confusing.  So try to keep sidebars lean and mean. The very top of your sidebar should house the most important elements. What those elements are will vary according to your business, what you are selling (if anything) and what your conversions are (see part 1). Here are some ideas.

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How to Have Different Sidebar Content On Different Pages of Your WordPress Site

how to have different sidebar content on different pages of your wordpress site

Many WordPress themes do not yet provide a way to have totally different sidebar content on different pages of your site. Some may provide a little flexibility with, for example a sidebar for the blog and a different sidebar for static pages, but sometimes you need more comprehensive control – for example you may need an additional set of navigation on a certain set of sub-pages. There’s several different plugins that help you gain this type of flexibility with your site.

Display Widgets

The Display Widgets plugin is perhaps the simplest and most user-friendly option. After activating the plugin you will notice that when you add a widget to your sidebar, there is a system of checkboxes whereby you can easily tell the widget to show up, or not to show up on certain pages/posts or types of pages/posts. In addition you can choose to display a widget based on whether a user is logged in or not, which would be handy if you have any kind of membership site or protected content pages. This plugin is easy enough for beginners to use!

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6 Common WordPress “Gotchas” To Avoid

6 common WordPress Problems to avoid

I teach people on a daily basis how to use WordPress, from the ground up. A few face-smackingly simple issues come up time and again.

1) Pasting from Word will make your posts look funky

Anytime you copy and paste directly into the WordPress editor, from Microsoft Word, another website, or any other outside source, you run the risk of it looking, well,  a bit funky ,when you publish it. This is because other applications, especially Word, have their own set of formatting that gets carried over when you copy/paste. Usually this ends up conflicting with the formatting and styling of your theme. You may not realize there is an issue until you publish the post and something looks off – the fonts don’t quite match, or the spacing is strange. 9 times out of 10 in these cases, it’s because you copied/pasted from Word. To avoid such issues, simply use the 2 clipboard buttons on the second line of the post editing toolbar with the T and the W on them.

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