For reasons unknown, the otherwise excellent Twenty Eleven WordPress theme does not display the sidebar for individual posts. I spent some time over the weekend considering alternatives. Virtually all visitors to the Supernatural Horror blog arrive via Google search for terms relating to horror movie titles, and thus land on an individual post – usually a horror movie review. Having no sidebar means these visitors will see not a single link to any other post on the entire blog. It means visitors will not be able to see the widgets that have been configured to appear on the sidebar – crucial WordPress widgets such as the tag cloud, post categories, link categories, Popular Posts, Recent Posts, etc.
Why would any blogger or website owner not want important links to appear on the individual post pages of a blog? Well, to be fair, there are some circumstances under which this would be preferable; however, I’m thinking the vast majority of bloggers would want their links to appear on web pages that display a blog’s individual posts.
So what should I do about it?
Should I find a different free WordPress theme? I spent about an hour poking around the search results for
free WordPress themes 2011, and there are free themes aplenty – more than ever, I’m sure… but I liked the Twenty Eleven WordPress theme. It’s so neat and clean; it has the options I need and the features I wanted for this blog.
Besides, I’ve already invested time in creating my own custom header graphics (using GIMP, of course) that fit the Twenty Eleven WordPress theme, plus I invested additional time modifying the theme to display a random header image every time a page at Supernatural Horror is loaded.
Then the solution hit me – something I should have realized from the very start: the Twenty Eleven WordPress theme is a fairly popular one, so someone else has surely…
- been in my shoes,
- modified the Twenty Eleven WordPress theme to include sidebar display,
- and then blogged about it, so other WordPress users could benefit from the blogger’s experience.
A quick Googling for such precise information revealed several blog posts on that exact subject.
The first post I read about how to add the sidebar to individual posts on the Twenty Eleven WordPress theme included numerous comments about the given solution not working properly. Skip that one.
The second post – Add Sidebar Support in Posts for the Twenty Eleven Theme, which I found on a blog called Future Web Blog: Discovering the future of jQuery, WordPress and the Web – seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. Better, there was feedback and commentary sufficient to instill confidence in its recommendations:
If you’d like to have this sidebar functionality in your current Twenty Eleven theme immediately you can download a copy of the child theme from the link above. You can upload and install the zip file directly into your WordPress installation. Make sure you have a copy of the Twenty Eleven parent theme installed first, otherwise the modified child theme will not install.
This blogger had taken the time to explain the WordPress tweaks necessary for this sidebar fix – instructions that are virtually idiot-proof.
Then I saw it: there was a WordPress plugin for this!
(I’ll finish this later…)
Resources: Sidebars for the Twenty Eleven WordPress theme