How to Customize Your WordPress Sidebar

Customizing is at the heart of the reason you build a WordPress websites. It’s the power and flexibility that differentiate WordPress from other options like Facebook, Instagram, or even Squarespace. But it can be hard to figure out just where in WordPress the changes should be made.

WordPress uses the term “widget” for a draggable area of a site. Most often (and historically) WordPress widgets were the way you controlled your sidebar. Today, homepages, footers, and more may also be customized using widgets. In all cases, you’ll get to them in the same way, and basic controls will be the same.

How to Move, Edit, and Change Your Sidebar Widgets in WordPress

  1. Log in, if you haven’t already, to your WordPress site.
  2. If you’re viewing the front side of your site, click “Customize” in the top bar. If you’re in back-end, you’ll pick “Appearance > Customize” in the left menu.
  3. Once in the Customizer, you’ll notice a left panel, and your site on the right. You’ll control the way the right-side preview looks by changing things in the left panel.
  4. In left panel, click on “Widgets.”
  5. The left sidebar panel will now roll-over to show you a list of all your widget areas. These are named by your theme, so the name won’t be consistent. But one will probably have a name like “Sidebar.” Click that.
  6. Now you’ll see all the widgets which are now in your sidebar. You can drag them around to reorder.
  7. To remove a sidebar widget, click on it, and its contents should roll down to show. Click the red “Remove” in the bottom right.
  8. To add a new widget, click the “Add a Widget” button in the bottom right. This will show you all the widgets, and you’ll select the one you want, and control it the same way.

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