You’d like some elements on this side of the page and some on another. Columns or sidebar? Let’s have a look.

Let’s take the About page. You have the photo and some basic bio content on the left, but on the right, you’d like, say, contact information. Great. So, do you use a column layout or put that information in a sidebar? The answer, of course, is, it depends.

[box type=”info”]If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, here’s some more detail about Columns and Sidebars/Page Layouts.[/box]

In a nutshell, a column is a layout option that is on the same page. A sidebar is separate from the page content and lives in Appearance –> Widgets. Let’s look some more at pros and cons of both.

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Columns

Pros

  • Editing: content all on same “page” so that you can edit it all in one place
  • Set up: Fairly easy to lay out (using column shortcodes)
  • Layout: can change from e.g. 3 columns to 1 column to 5 columns on a single page (a sidebar will be that layout for the entire length of the page)

Cons

  • Duplication: Content only on that page, can’t repeat it on other pages (without duplicating).

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Sidebar

Pros

  • Duplication: easy to put this same content on many pages.
  • Widgets: can add widgets and repeat those widgets (yes, there are in-page widgets)

Cons

  • Editing: Need to go to widgets to edit text.
  • Formatting: Text not as easily formatted (e.g. no WYSIWYG editor, although there are plugins)

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Sidebars or columns? Which to choose and when?a

Sidebars or columns? Which to choose and when?a