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Just as you can create custom content and headers for a page template, you can also make a specific sidebar. While you could use the if-else conditional technique demonstrated in the "Changing a template header" video when it comes to sidebars, the WordPress widget functionality offers another way to go. In this video, I'll show you how to define another sidebar and display it only in a specific custom template. Then I'll show you how to fill it with content from within the WordPress dashboard.
To start, we need to open up the functions.php page in order to register another sidebar. So here's my functions.php page within my theme. I'll double-click and go to code. And basically, what we're doing is exactly the same thing as we do in this very first function up here. So I'm going to copy this code here and then create another line or two and place it in the middle by pasting it in and just change a couple of values.
So we're still checking to see if the register sidebar function exists and if it does, we're going to register our sidebar. Now let's change the name and ID of the sidebar. We'll make the name Explorers with an uppercase E, and the ID we'll make explores with a lowercase e. Everything else we leave the same. So I'm going to save this page. The new sidebar will pull its structure from a page called sidebar-explorers.php, which we can create from the existing sidebar.php page.
So let's go over to our Files panel again, open up sidebar.php, and I'm going to save it by choosing File > Save As. And we're calling it sidebar-explorers. This is a standard WordPress convention. I'll click Save and now again, I just need to make one small change. We'll keep everything the same except I'm going to change the dynamic sidebar that we see here, from Sidebar Widgets to our ID, which is, you'll recall, Explorers.
Okay, all of the code's in place. Now let me save my new page and we're ready to work on the content. So let's create one more page in WordPress so that you can see the effect we're going for. From the Dashboard, I go to Pages > Add New, and we'll give this a title of Membership Benefits. And let's quickly enter in some content. Now let's change the default template to our Explorers template and publish that page.
Next we need to create some specific content that will go into our sidebar, and that content will be a custom menu. So let's go to Appearance > menus, click the plus button to add a new menu, and we'll call this Explorers. Create the menu and then scroll down a little bit here to our Pages option and check both Membership Benefits and Welcome, and add those to the menu.
Now it comes in alphabetically, but you can drag and drop them to reorder. And let me save the menu. So how do we get this new menu into our sidebar? Well, we have a widget that's built-in that can do that. So we go to Appearance > Widgets, and here you see the first sidebar, which is named Sidebar Widgets. So I'll collapse that, and here you see the custom one we've just added called Explorers. I'll expand that. And now let's bring in our Custom menu widget, and we'll give it the title of Explorers. And make sure that we are selecting the menu, Explorers, which happens to be alphabetically the first one listed, so that's by default but you might want to check that. And then click Save.
Okay, let's head on over to our site and there's my homepage. Now, let me click on Explorers, and there is our new Explorer page, complete with custom sidebar. We can, of course, now add any other widget we might want to our Explorers sidebar. And now you're ready to see how you can add custom CSS styling into the mix for your page templates.
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