Genesis Tutorials

Creating Custom Widgets, Sidebars & Menu’s For Better Conversions

Making a full time living online isn’t easy for most people.

Even if you publish useful content everyday, it may take years before you can afford to give up your day job.

On top of this, increasing traffic to a site with random advertisements doesn’t always increase sales.

Unless of course you advertise the right products, with the right content, to people who need it.

Lets look at 2 very basic examples of:

  • what doesn’t convert very well
  • what converts better and
  • why it converts better.

Doesn’t Convert Very Well

Apparently, the placement of ads after your post titles is one of the highest converting positions on your site. But what if the advert isn’t related to the content of the post?

An example of this would be displaying a hosting banner before a post about custom post type plugins. If you need a plugin which makes it easy to create custom post types, you’re probably not searching for hosting and probably not going to click a hosting banner.

Not only that, you may even alienate some readers who feel you’re only interested in driving traffic to content which contains advertisements.

Another example of this would be creating a beginners guide about how to install, setup and create a website with WordPress. Most beginners wouldn’t be interested in clicking on a banner or link for premium custom post type plugins.

So what’s the solution?

Converts Better

You could try displaying banners or links for products & services which help solve a problem relating to the content on which they’re displayed.

An example of this would be displaying hosting banners or links on the same page of a beginners guide to starting a blog. Can’t start a blog without hosting.

Another example would be adding a link to a review of premium custom post type plugins within the content of a post about how to create a custom post type. Not rocket science, but you’d have to think it will increases affiliate sales from that link don’t you think?

But wait, there’s a problem.

You don’t want to use links and banners within your content area because you believe other locations convert better.

Creating Conditional Widgets Area’s

The Genesis design framework makes it easy to create and display custom menu’s, widgets and sidebars based on any conditions.

An example of this is creating an after post widget which only displays on posts which you assign a specific tag.

Another example is only displaying widgets based on specific conditions.

Creating Conditional Sidebars

The Genesis Simple Sidebars plugin enables you to easily create unlimited custom sidebars. You can populate these sidebars with any links or banners you choose.

You can then select which posts or pages these sidebars display on.

Creating Conditional Menu’s

The Genesis Simple Menu’s plugin enables you to create unlimited custom menu’s. You can then add links to reviews which help pre sell products and services related to the posts you choose to display the menu’s on.

Or you can also use tested code to do the same thing with both your primary and secondary menu.

Banners or Links

Personally, I don’t think banners convert very well but they could convert better using custom sidebars and widgets.

You’d have to think linking to a real product review which includes the pro’s and cons will achieve higher conversions.

Even a list of both premium and free resources or a tutorial about how to use a premium product or service to solve a problem, would generally convert better.


Developing a better experience for your visitors is good karma even from readers who don’t click your banners and links.

Increasing sales on products and services which solve real problems, save time and avoid pain, frustration and loss can be achieved when advertising conditionally, using the right product in the right content, for the people that need it to solve a problem.

The correct use of conditional widgets and sidebars to display banners would have to convert better than random advertisements don’t you think?

11 replies on “Creating Custom Widgets, Sidebars & Menu’s For Better Conversions”

Hey Brad
You and the Genesis devs don’t need this plugin, but most of us do!
I think you’d enjoy playing with it.

Yeah for sure.

I’m already interested.

Have you written a review of it?

Link to it so I can read it please.

Thanks for that Keith.

I’ll read this and may have some questions for you.


Hi Brad
I try and keep my affiliate links relevant to the post.
I use a Genesis box after a post on Genesis related items, theme reviews and the like. and other boxes for other items.
I use conditionals to display different boxes on different posts.

I don’t like the idea of placing an ad after the post title – seems a bit “in your face”.

Yeah I’ve seen that really great looking black box after your posts.

How did you make that Keith?

I just thought an ad with a really good premium product which is totally related to the content in the post would be better than AdSense or a random hosting banner.

Hi Brad
Got the box from a post by Brian Gardner…

I modified the conditionals and tweaked the CSS but essentially it is Brian’s box.

I actually add the code and CSS using the Genesis Extender plugin and I have a similar box for that product… different conditionals.

That’s what I need to start using. The Extender plugin for Genesis.

Not sure everyone likes all this code i’m writing.

Maybe need to do a survey and find out

Most people won’t touch their functions.php file and who can blame them!

Chatting with guys under #genesiswp on twitter gives a false impression – most of them, you included, are happy playing with PHP.

The Extender allows me to add code and if it goes wrong, just delete it.

The extender also allows me to play with CSS whilst I’m on the page – no FTP to my styles.css.

I use it on my sites and client sites to customise the appearance.

Eric Hamm, the developer, is also very helpful and reacts quickly to changes in Genesis.
He recently added a one click activation of HTML5 for genesis 2.0.
I know you only need to add one line of code to activate it, but you can do a lot of damage just adding one line!

Yeah I need to review this plugin.

Just because I love PHP doesn’t mean everyone else does.

And I know how much people love plugins.

But you know, on the SP forums, they love code. As long as it works.

I think i’m missing something with this plugin?

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