If you have a WordPress blog you have probably at some point wanted to create a different sidebar for a page, post or category. Unfortunately, most WordPress themes only allow you to create one set of sidebars and widgets that are consistent throughout your entire site.
The Catalyst WordPress Theme Template on the other hand let’s you create unlimited custom sidebars that can be applied to any number of posts, pages, categories and more. It’s really changes the way I think about my site and how I design WordPress layouts moving forward.
1. Install the Catalyst WordPress Theme
First, you need to start using the Catalyst WordPress Theme, which I’m using to power this blog and highly recommend. I’ve written a separate post on why I think Catalyst is the best WordPress Theme and top 5 reasons to use Catalyst.
2. Create a new Custom Layout
Once you’ve installed and acivated Catalyst, do the following step:
a. Go to Advanced Options in the theme settings
b. Select Custom Layouts section
c. Click add, to customize your new Custom Layout name and layout settings
d. Give you layout a meaningful name and layout that over time you can easily identify. For example, for this post I create a custom layout called catalyst_custom_sidebar_tutorial_post
e. Click Save Changes to save the new custom layout settings
3. Customize the widgets for your custom layout
a. Go to Widgets
b. You’ll notice that a new sidebar area has been created based on your custom layout. Again in my case the sidebar is named catalyst_custom_sidebar_tutorial_post
c. Drag widgets into your new sidebar as you would normally and click save within each widget as you go
4. Assign your Custom Theme to an individual blog post
a. Edit the post you want to assign the new sidebar to
b. Under the post select your custom layout from the Catalyst Layout selection box
c. Save your post and see the new layout and custom sidebar!
5. Catalyst also allows you to assign custom layouts to a number of other post types, including:
a. page layout
b. post layout
c. general archive page layout
d. category page layout
e. tag page layout
f. author page layout
g. search page layout
h. 404 page layout
To see these options go to Catalyst Theme Settings > Content > Site Layout Options. You can further customize individual category layouts in the general WordPress category settings. Pretty cool, huh?
There are some WordPress plugins to assign custom layouts and sidebars to your site, but they are not as fully integrated as what we see here with Catalyst.
What do you think? Do you like this feature? What are your though on Catalyst?