In building a website using WordPress, whether, for blogs, online stores, or news portals, you will hear the terms sidebar and content area. These two terms are part of the web page itself. The content area is a special section to display the main content. While the sidebar in Indonesian is the Sidebar which means a special section that displays supporting/additional content. The sidebar has an important role in designing the layout of a WordPress website to display content other than the main content. In WordPress, the placement of the sidebar will depend on the theme you are using. Some themes use 1 sidebar, 2 sidebars, and there is even a theme that distinguishes the sidebar for blog content from E-Commerce product pages to search results pages. So the placement of the sidebar will depend on the theme you are using. For example like Demo Site ID Blog, I use 1 right sidebar which contains several widgets such as Search, Ads, Related Content. As you can see, most of the widgets that appear in the left and right sidebars are supplementary/supporting content.

However, if it’s still not enough, here are some examples of widgets in the WordPress website sidebar that are often used:

  1. Product / Service Recommendations.
  2. Shopping Cart.
  3. Product Filters.
  4. Customer Testimonials.
  5. Search Box.
  6. Latest Articles / Products.
  7. Most Popular Articles / Products / Recommendations.
  8. Subscribe to Newsletters.
  9. Social Media Button.
  10. Share button.
  11. Advertisements.
  12. Website Owner Profile.
  13. Navigation Menu.
  14. Other Important Content.

To set the appearance of the WordPress sidebar, please log in to your WordPress Admin dashboard. Then go to the View menu > Customize.

For the Astra theme, you can adjust the sidebar placement in the Sidebar menu in Live Preview. Some of the settings you need to adjust are as follows:

  1. Define Default Sidebar Layout. Choose whether you use the right or left sidebar. This default layout will act as the default setting for your website.
  2. Set Sidebar for Pages, Blog Articles, and Archives.
  3. Specify the width of the sidebar. I’m using 30% meaning the sidebar will use 30% of the overall content layout width. Adjust this section so that the appearance of your website still looks proportional.

4 WordPress Sidebar Optimization Tips

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the placement of the sidebar will depend on what theme you are using. However, usually, WordPress themes provide 1 sidebar that you can choose to appear on the left or right side of the page. So that the use of this sidebar can be optimal, I have 4 tips that you can apply.

Use 2 Sidebars Only When Needed

If your WordPress theme uses a 3-column (2 sidebars) layout, first consider whether you need this 2-sided sidebar. Also, think about whether you have additional content to display on both sidebars. For example, like the website w3school. they added a navigation menu into the left sidebar. While the right sidebar is for additional content/advertisements. It’s clear, there is useful content for visitors on both sidebars.

Think: Left/Right Sidebar

If your theme only supports 1 sidebar, think about whether to use the left/right sidebar. The left sidebar tends to be more suitable for navigation menus like the W3 website above. Another example is, E-Commerce Websites tend to be more suitable to add the Product Filter feature on the product archives page. I think this technique is very useful for increasing visitor engagement. Because in general, visitors read content from left to right. So the first area that visitors see is the left side of the page. The Product Filter on the left side tells visitors about the structure of your E-Commerce site. They can find a wide variety of products based on this category hierarchy. While the right sidebar tends to be suitable for other additional/supporting content such as advertisements or related content and so on. Look at popular sites like Search Engine Land. The right sidebar contains additional content such as related articles and so on. This technique also benefits websites/blogs. Because the focus of visitors is to read your content. If they find related content on the left sidebar, I find it a bit annoying. Because related content is not what they are looking for. Instead, they are looking for the content they are currently visiting. Still not enough? Try opening the youtube.com dashboard, see what’s in the left sidebar. The navigation menu is not it? Then, try watching one of the videos. See the contents of the right sidebar. Related content right?

Don’t Use Too Many Widgets In Sidebar

In certain circumstances, using too many widgets in the sidebar can be bad from a visitor’s point of view. When the content area is exhausted, but there are still many widgets in the sidebar, then the user will only see a blank page after the content. Try to make yourself a visitor and judge for yourself how the sidebar looks like that… For me, the main content is too little compared to the sidebar. So after reaching the empty section below the content, visitors will not continue to scroll to the bottom. Yes, the impact, in addition to making the blog look less attractive, widgets will also not be fully visible. It’s a loss, especially if the last widget in the sidebar is an ad.

Use Sticky Sidebar/Widget

This can be a solution if you write very long articles/content but only have a few sidebars. It’s the Sticky Sidebar as you can see on the Demo Site Blog Biz. While on the M Journal website and the Demo Site ID Blog, the name is Sticky Widget. Because only some widgets are sticky when scrolled down, and not the whole sidebar. If you don’t use a sticky sidebar/widget, the risk is that when your content/article is very long, users will only see an empty section after the last widget. While your article is still long down.

Source: https://mjurnal.com/web-wordpress/sidebar-dan-content-area-wordpress/