Simple Sidebar Navigation Plugin

The Simple Sidebar Navigation Plugin. Actually there isn’t anything simple about this plugin unless it is using it.   The complexity of how you can structure you internal linking using this plugin is nothing short of amazing. It puts at your disposal an entirely customizable navigational system.   I can’t begin to go into all the ways you can use this in a single post.   I’m not even going to try.   This post will only server to whet your whistle for what this plugin can do for your blog.

In a second post I’ll address one of the hidden understated functions of this plugin that I have in use on several of my current blogs.   This one function alone makes this plugin a valuable tool in your RE blogger toolbox.

Pages are Pages and Posts are Posts

Most WP blogs are 99% posts filed in categories and a few pages of content added for things like:

  • sitemap
  • archives
  • about
  • contact
  • IDX search
  • CMA request
  • Relocation packet
  • forms

However,   I’ve run into some blogs lately that are more pages than posts.   Pages are harder to SEO than posts, at least in my opinion.   Pages are also a lot harder to structure navigationally.   Posts filed under categories seem to be an intuitive navigational structure.     Like file folders with tags on them.   The tags are the category names and the posts are the pieces of paper in each folder.

Pages on the other hand are more like loose pieces of paper lying around on the desk.   If a page is a parent it will have children pages somewhat attached to it.   But again many blogs aren’t equipped programmatically to handle Parent Page, Child Page navigation.

Simple Sidebar Navigation Structure

This plugin allows you to create your own structure.   You can mix pages and posts in a sidebar navigation widget.   (Check the “Include Posts” option on the Setup screen). In that widget you can assign parent child relationship.   You can also determine where those widgets will be displayed.   For example:

  • Only on certain categories
  • Only on particular pages
  • Only on the home page
  • On all pages
The Widget setup

The Widget setup

You can add additional   Custom Link URL’s in the navigation that don’t exist as pages or posts. For example if you want a “Home” added to the navigation you can add “Home” and put the Custom Link URL for the homepage in the widget.

This plugin gives you the ability to map out and construct a navigational structure customized specifically for your blog.

Make note that if you are still on a version of WP earlier than 2.8 you will need to download the earlier verison of the plugin.

Simple Top Navigation

This is the part of this plugin I’m using.   I don’t currently have a need or use for the simple sidebar nav.   But I the Simple Top Nav installed on three blogs currently and love how it works.   This will be covered in the next post.


  1. As you know I use this plugin. It is awesome! I love how you can customize a large (or small) website. Once you get the hang of it, it really is very, very simple!

    Kristal Kraft ´s last blog post..Denver Makes Forbes “Best City to Purchase a Home” List

  2. Awesome write up Dave, thanks a lot! I couldn’t do a better job myself 🙂

    I just wanted to add a little bit about the Side Navigation options – that’s where you can add navigation widgets into your sidebars. A simple example – let’s say you have a whole section on the site that is dedicated to one subject, like one of the towns you’re selling real estate in, or financing etc. and you have a number of pages dedicated to this subject. Well, with the conditional appearance options of the widget, you can setup a custom navigation widget that will reflect navigation links only for that section of the site, and will appear only on those pages. You can call it supportive or extended navigation. You don’t want all those links to appear throughout your whole web site – that’s where this widget comes really handy.

    The whole plugin was originally designed for WordPress based web sites and not just blogs.

    Thanks again!

    Max ´s last blog post..Advanced Text Widget for WordPress

  3. I forgot to say, MAX ROCKS! 🙂

    Kristal Kraft ´s last blog post..Denver Makes Forbes “Best City to Purchase a Home” List

  4. KK,

    I totally agree, Max has an great WP extension in this plugin.


    Thanks so much for this additional information. Again, this isn’t just a plugin, it is a self contained navigational system that is amazing and flexible. It is like nothing else available for WordPress.

  5. Thanks for the post … I have been looking for this

  6. This sounds like a great tool. The more you can customize your blog, the more you can make it stick out to your readers and make it your own. I really appreciate the helpful information.

  7. That plugin is very cool–and, more importantly, useful. Gonna mess around with it this week.

    Brandon Green ´s last blog post..COZY CHIC CONDO IN CELEBRATED CLEVELAND PARK!

  8. Dave-
    Good post. I may have to try this plug-in to manage my sidebar. This got me thinking. I do have categories set up on my sidebar as you mention in the post. I also like to hide certain categories that are not super relevant to a list (seminars, listings) as I have them in another part of the sidebar to be featured.

    My question is: Some plug-ins and sidebar widgets want you to enter the Category ID to explicitly include or exclude the category. Where do you find that Category ID short of opening MySQL and looking in the database (which is not for the average newbie user).

  9. Scott,

    This one is a real softball. You mouse over a category name and the id appears in the lower left hand corner.

    Admin panel. Posts, categories, Then mouse over the names on the list.