Are many of your website’s features available only to visitors who create an account? If so, then you should consider adding a login area on your sidebars. This can be accomplished by using a sidebar login widget and is very common. Widgets are used to shape your website exactly the you want it to be and they have many options that can really help your website stand out amongst the competition.
It is very common to use a WordPress sidebar widget to create a login area for your website. Having the login section on your sidebar will allow you to have more content on your page, instead of just having an entire page dedicated to logging in. Today I will demonstrate how to add a sidebar login form in WordPress.
Why Can a Sidebar Login Help Your Website
The main reason you use sidebar login areas is to save room on your actual pages and to make sure new incoming visitors see that they can create an account. If creating an account will unlock some of the website’s features for them, it is important to encourage them to do so. For example, if your visitors want to join in the comment section, then they will need to log in. By having the same people communicating and discussing in the comments section, your community will grow.
When you have the sidebar always visible until someone logs in, visitors will have to look at it their entire visit. Instead of having to leave the current page and enter a new one to log in, they can use the sidebar area to log in. Keep in mind you should add some incentive to creating an account on your website or visitors will not see the point.
How to Add a Sidebar Login Form in WordPress
Today I will demonstrate how to add a sidebar login form in WordPress. You will need the Sidebar Login plugin to create a widget that can be used. You will also already need to have an account system in place on your website otherwise there is no point to adding a login area.
Let’s start by going to the plugins area of WordPress and click on the “Add New” button.
Search for Sidebar Login in the available search box. This will pull up additional plugins that you may find helpful.
Scroll down until you find the Sidebar Login plugin and click the “Install Now” button and activate the plugin for use.
On the left-hand admin panel click on Appearance and select the Widgets option. This will pull up the widgets page.
On this page, you can see every widget you have for your theme and plugins. They are alphabetically sorted to help you find what you are looking for. Find the Sidebar Login widget.
Once you find it, you must drag and drop it to where the active widgets are stored. These options will be named differently depending on what theme you have installed on your website. Once you have placed it, you will see a lot of options that you can customize.
You can leave most of the default settings alone, but feel free to customize all of them. I will go over those that will need to be changed. The logged-out settings will appear when the visitor is logged out. This means you want to customize the login sections here. You can name the title, but the default Login is really the best. You can then add some links in the following text box. It must be in the following format:
In this format, visitors will see the word “Dog” and if they clicked on it, they would be brought to the particular link. This is best used as a “why should I join if I’m not a member” section, but don’t go too overboard. You can also set up a login redirect page in case there is an error. This can lead you to an actual login page or reload the current one, but that is up to you.
You will then see the Logged-in section of settings. It is quite similar and you can name it, but again the default “Welcome %username%” is a very good choice to stick with. You will see the links already set up on this page to display the following:
You can add more if you have others you feel are relevant, but it is best to keep it simple. Last, you have the Logout Redirect page, which is exactly what it sounds like and you can insert a link to a custom page, or your home screen, or whatever you feel is best. Once you are done with all of the settings, click on the “Save” button.
Congratulations, you can now go to your live website and see the login sidebar in action. You can change these settings at any time if the need arises. Remember, you want to give your visitors an incentive to log in, like “I get to use this great feature or view this content if I am logged in”.
Keep Your Website Practical
Logging into a website is generally not the highlight of a visitor’s day, though most browsers will store the login information and keep them signed in, so having it readily available on the sidebar can help. This can lead to security problems though and you need to make sure your login area is secure. This means visitors will not be pulled off their current page to sign in, unless you actually set that up, which will help them enjoy the content without interruption.
It’s very important that if you do require visitors to log in to enjoy certain features or certain content, your website remains still enjoyable to visitors that are not logged in. Many visitors will not log in because they find it very annoying, however they are still a valuable source of web traffic that every website needs.
Do you think visitors like having the login area in the sidebar instead of an individual login page? What types of links did you choose to place on your logged in and out menus?
Author: Chris Racicot
Chris is the Support Manager at GreenGeeks and has been with the company since 2010. He has a passion for gaming, scripting and WordPress. When he’s not enjoying his sleep, he’s working on his guitar skills and fiddling with 3d printing.