From time to time, you may want to change the look and feel of your site. With WordPress we know this is really easy, you just apply a new theme. 9 times out of 10 you apply the theme and it works, but occasionally you find the theme you ‘really’ like, you apply it but when you go to look at your site, it looks like a car crash. All your sidebars are a mess and stuff is missing.
When you go in to the widgets section of appearance, you are non the wiser as to how to sort it out because your sidebars have been renamed.
The first thing is DON’T PANIC!
There is a quick and easy way to sort out your sidebars and actually understand what ‘sidebar wide’ or ‘primary right’ actually are in your theme and get everything back nice and ship-shape.
The second thing to do, is go back to your original theme, take a note of what is where, so you can put it in to a similar order in your new theme.
Next go back to appearance > widgets and do some house keeping. Open each widget and make sure it has a nice friendly name, not George, Sally or Dave (which are all nice friendly names) but something that tells you what the widget is. Some are already named for you some aren’t. What you need to do is make sure you know which each widget it.
Now the backward step, bear with me……
Drag your widgets off the sidebars and in to Inactive Widgets, this is the section at the bottom of the widgets page. When you drag a widget in to here, it will keep all its settings. If you just drop it in to the available widgets, it is like deleting it, it will reset the widget back to its default settings. So always drag them in to Inactive Widgets first.
Anyways, we are going backwards by removing your widgets. Why? Because if you have a widget in sidebarX in your current theme and sidebarX doesn’t exist in your new theme the widget disappears, until you apply your original theme back. This can be a real OMG! moment, when you apply your new theme and find all your beautifully hand crafted widgets have gone AWOL..
So back to sorting your theme out.
So far we have:
- not panicked
- done some house keeping
- moved all our widgets in to Inactive Widgets
So now we can go back and apply your new theme and go in to appearance widgets to look at the side bars.
Not a clue what these are or where they are in relation to anything on my site. So how do we sort this out?
In the available widgets, look for one called Text. Drag this in to your sidebar, and name it the same as the sidebar, like this:
Now do this for each side bar. When you have added a widget to each sidebar, go back to your site and have a look at it again.
So you know where 2 of your sidebars are, but what about the third? Have a quick look at the content on your site, go to a post or a page just to see if anything changes.
Now you can see where the other sidebar is, it changes from Primary Post to Primary Index, when you look at a post on the site.
So now you know where all your sidebars are and how they work with your site, you can start adding your widgets back in from the Inactive Widgets section. Then go and shout about how cool your site looks now it has had a make over..
Oh yeah, and you might want to delete your little text widgets out once you have done 😉