Looking for a good widget management tool? Or at least some conditional statements capability? You’re in good hands.

You can create several conditional statements per widget.

You can create several conditional statements per widget.

The good news and the bad news is that there are some powerful tools to help manage your sidebar widgets. But how do you know when to use each?

I’ve done write ups for both WOO Sidebars and Jetpack Visibility, but I just sat down to get a client’s site this morning and I couldn’t figure out which one to use. The more I used WOO Sidebars, the more I thought, “Hmm, this might be overkill. Maybe I should look at Jetpack Visibility.” But actually, the decision isn’t just about complexity, it’s about “widget areas” versus “conditional widgets.” Confused yet? Yep, it’s confusing. Stick around.

[box type=”info”]If you’re looking for my quick answer, I’d recommend using Jetpack Visibility until you outgrow it (which might be never).[/box]

Here’s a quick list of what’s what with both to hopefully help you decide when to use which.

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WOO Sidebars

  • Ceates new, separate “widget areas” in which you can put as many widgets as you like. It’s contained, you know what’s in there and what shows up on that page (those selections you’ve chosen).
  • Can put lots of widgets into an area (e.g. About Us widget area has photo, calendar, call to action, and contact info). Maybe no other page has those widgets or at least in that order. “Lots of widgets” might take more time using Jetpack Widget Visibility whereas you build your area and put your widgets in.

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Jetpack Widget Visibility

  • Is just a conditional statement selector per existing widget.
  • You can’t create a new “area” however, you could create a new widget and just have it go in one place.
  • You don’t have to deal with loads of widget areas in your widget management screen, but you might have tons of widgets. Your call.

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In summary, and this summary comes mostly from writing this up and actually thinking about it for a bit, go with Jetpack Widget Visibility until you find that you need something that can use more complex conditional statements or you’d like to have dedicated widget areas to put your myriad of widgets.

Whew, still confused? Play around, get a feel for how they work.