WordPress Widget Visibility with Jetpack

If you’ve ever set up a WordPress site with widgets, you know they’re a powerful way to customize sidebars and other areas. If you’ve set up a few dozen sites with widgets, you’ve probably at some point wanted the ability to show or hide a widget on a specific page or class of pages. That’s where widget visibility plugins (generally) come in. It’s also where the very popular Jetpack plugin from WordPress.com can come into play. Jetpack has robust widget visibility built in. And you don’t even need to turn it on.

Why would you use widget visibility?

  • You want to show author information in the sidebar, but only when the author who you’re highlighting wrote the post
  • You want some widgets to only show on the homepage of your site, or on every page but the homepage
  • You want a widget to only show when a user is on a specific page, like “About”

All of these and more are doable with Jetpack’s Widget Visibilty feature. Here’s a video explaining:

How to Show a Widget on Only Your Homepage with the Jetpack Plugin

  1. Make sure you have the Jetpack plugin installed and activated. Today Jetpack doesn’t have an easy to access setting to turn this feature off, so you’ll probably have it on. If you need to turn it on, I’ll make a little step-by-step guide below.
  2. Drag the widget you want to configure into a widget area (sidebar) if you haven’t already.
  3. Expand the “disclosure triangle” at the right side of the widget.
  4. You should see, next to the “Save” button at the bottom of the widget, a “Visibilty” button. Click that.
  5. Select “Show” in the top-left dropdown. (It’s the default, if you want the widget hidden, toggle this.)
  6. Select “Page” in the “–Select–” dropdown. And “Front Page” in the dropdown to its right.
  7. Hit save.

As you can probably guess, if you get something working this way, tweaking it is pretty intuitive. For that reason, I won’t offer exhaustive examples of other common reasons people want to show or hide widgets in WordPress.

How to Enable Jetpack’s Widget Visibilty, if it’s Off

As mentioned above. Jetpack recently made this feature always-on, so it’s unlikely you’ll find yourself needing to explicitly turn it on. But I did, so here’s what I learned:

  1. You’ll want to make sure Jetpack is installed and activated. If it’s not, do that first.
  2. Go to “Jetpack > Settings”.
  3. None of the default panels seem to show this feature, as of this writing. But  you can find it—you’ll first click the magnifying glass at the right of the central “page” bar. This is the search field.
  4. Type “widget visibility” into the newly-exposted search field. Hit enter (if it doesn’t auto-search because you’re too fast).
  5. You’ll see at the top a little row like this:
  6. Click “Activate” on that row.
  7. You’re set!

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