Add Sidebar’s to the Twenty Eleven Theme Without a Plugin or Child Theme

I’ve read a ton of opinions and views about the quality and purpose of the standard Twenty Eleven theme, some good, some bad.  Some say the theme is completely unfinished and that it makes no sense why they wouldn’t even have sidebar’s already added to the post and pages.  Some love the theme and say that those who hate it need to lighten up, because it’s just meant as a starting point for a WordPress website and functions. 

Personally, I love the Twenty Eleven theme because it includes a great base to start a WordPress site with.  The only BIG downside, as I mentioned before, is the fact that it doesn’t show sidebars on posts (any blog post) or pages (any page that is not a post, like about us).  To me this is a huge flaw in the theme.  It’s such a simple thing to add, so I’m not sure why it was left out or there wasn’t an update to add it!

There are a few ways to add a sidebar to the Twenty Eleven Theme

  1. Use a plugin – Twenty Eleven Theme Extensions
    Easy to use customizations for the default theme Twenty Eleven–add sidebars back into your blog pages, and quickly change individual color settings.

    The Downside:  Some of us have a million plugins and wish to add a sidebar without all of that extra code that may come along with it.

  2. Add manually using a child theme 
    Using WordPress Child Theme functionality, you can update your Twenty Eleven Theme without actually modifying the original theme.  This way if there are updates to the theme, you can update without losing the changes you made to your child theme. 

    The Downside:  It takes a little more time to organize child themes depending on how you plan on modifying your theme.  It may be tougher for beginners to handle child themes as well.

  3. Add manually directly to your theme
    This one’s simple.  I prefer this one to the two above ones since it’s light and I don’t need to deal with a child theme.  You can follow the instructions below to implement this in about 60 seconds!

    The Downside:  As mentioned, you are not using a child theme with this method, so if you are really concerned about your themes updates, like security and features, then you may want to consider using a child theme.  I will explain how to do this in another post.  See below for implementation instructions.

twenty eleven sidebar no plugin

In the Theme Editor (or your FTP program), go to single.php and add the following:

<?php get_sidebar(); ?>

In a new line just above the footer code at the bottom of the file:

<?php get_footer(); ?>

Do the same for page.php if you would like to add it to your pages in addition to your single post pages

Next, go to functions.php (Theme Functions) and find the following at the bottom of the file:

add_filter( ‘body_class’, ‘twentyeleven_body_classes’ );

Comment it out with two forward slashes in front of “add_filter” and it will force WordPress to stop differentiating between normal and single post pages.

4 Responses to “Add Sidebar’s to the Twenty Eleven Theme Without a Plugin or Child Theme”

  1. Simon

    I think the WordPress Custom Sidebar plugin http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-custom-sidebar/ is the best option. You can have a mixture or full width pages and pages with sidebars + if you set up multiple sidebars every one can be unique. It also uses the normal page / post editor which makes it a lot easier for clients to modify their own content.

    Reply
  2. Dan

    It’s bad practice to do so, and it’s even worse to advocate this.

    Reply

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