Last updated September 24th, 2015 at 06:29 pm

How to add widget areas to WordPress sidebars and to other places on posts and pages.

Updated September 2015
I removed the original content from this post because it was no longer accurate for the current versions of WordPress. All WordPress themes now come with a sidebars widget area and usually a footer widget area.

To add widgets to built in widget areas go to Appearance/Widgets, or Appearance/Customize, in your WP dashboard. You’ll see a list of all available widgets. Most you can use as many times as you want in different places. Some with heavy javascript, such as Facebook Page Widgets, clash if added to the same sidebar.

If your theme doesn’t have the widget areas you want, and you’d prefer to not change themes, this plugin will let you add more: WP Custom Widget Area. It allows adding more sidebars and widget areas elsewhere.

Some themes are built around widgets such as the Genesis Framework and it’s Studio Press Child Themes. You do need to choose a theme that includes all the widget areas you need. Otherwise expect to do some coding.

Themes and plugins that have a page builder function allow you to lay out your site as you wish, including adding widget areas. Here are some I recommend, after using them myself.

  • Elegant Themes with their Divi Theme or Page Builder plugin to add to any theme. I’ve used Divi on a number of sites.
  • Themify – All themes come with builder functions and there’s the Themify Builder plugin for 3rd party themes.

Plenty of other themes have multiple widget areas built into them. You can find all the themes I’ve used and recommend on my Recommended Resources Page.