This tutorial features the Feast Plugin, which contains theme enhancements.
The Modern Sidebar replaces the theme's sidebar, making it simpler to customize the sidebar using the block editor, instead of widgets.
- customize the sidebar more easily with the block editor
- improves SEO by linking to 4 trending recipes, and 4 seasonal recipes
- improves SEO by replacing "featured post" widgets
- improves accessibility by replacing "featured post" widgets
- improves user experience with better guidelines for sidebar content
1. Create the Modern Sidebar page
Navigate to the Feast Plugin's Settings page to automatically create the page:
You can also manually create a new page with the "/modern-sidebar" slug by following the video above, set it to "Private" and refresh the page to apply the block editor styling.
The sidebar should contain:
- an author-profile
- an important call-to-action
- trending recipes
- seasonal content
- Possibly: "As seen in"
If you're using the Modern Homepage with a sidebar, you'll want to remove the author profile from the homepage rather than the sidebar. This is because it's important for your posts to have a user-profile in the sidebar to establish E-A-T.
Most commonly, people are using the "Full Width Modern Homepage".
Note that your sidebar is for supporting content and is not designed to contain critical information. The sidebar appears below the content on mobile, which is 80% of pageviews. See the page structure for recipe sites for more details.
3. Add the widget to the Primary Sidebar widget area
Once the sidebar has been created, head over to the widgets are and drag the "Feast Modern Sidebar" widget to the "Primary Sidebar" widget area.
4. Remove other Primary Sidebar widgets
You can check the sidebar on the front-end to ensure the content is loading and looks the way you'd like it to, then simply remove the other widgets from the sidebar.
Use only h3s in the Modern Sidebar.
Just like the footer, the sidebar is distinguished by an h2 on your site. Any headings in the Modern Sidebar need to be an h3.
Using anything lower than an h3 (h4, h5, h6) is completely unnecessary.
This essentially duplicates the "trending recipes" section of the Modern Homepage.
In addition to 4 "trending" recipes, we recommend having 4 "seasonal" recipes for upcoming holidays or events. This needs to be updated regularly, as the seasonal content or holiday changes.
A better option is to use the "Post IDs" section of the FSRI block to select 4 specific posts to display, which doesn't require editing the posts themselves.
Just like the Modern Footer, this page should never be set public.
If you've used the Feast Plugin's settings to create the modern-footer page, this is done for you.
If you've manually created the page, you'll need to manually set the page to "Private".
Don't overstuff the sidebar
The goal of the Modern Sidebar isn't to replicate the homepage. Adding too much to the sidebar will slow pagespeed because of additional DOM nodes and rendering time, and do nothing for SEO.
Keep the sidebar focused on E-A-T, promoting key content, and directing readers to a call-to-action.
Additionally, readers tend to simply ignore signup forms due to banner blindness and the usefulness of these are very low.
The "Subscribe" button will be embedded into the Modern Mobile Menu so that it's always available, when the reader is ready to subscribe. This is not yet released.
Our current recommendation is to simply link to a dedicated /subscribe page that contains the subscription forms. Details for this will be released when it's available.
A search form has traditionally been included in the sidebar, but is no longer necessary because it's embedded into the Modern Mobile Menu.
On mobile, the sidebar appears below the content, which makes it almost totally invisible to 80% of your users.
Users expect to find the search bar in the top right, or top left corner of the website. Not the sidebar.
Categories drop down
We removed support for this years ago but if you're still using the categories drop down, now is the time to dump it.
Don't have the time, or aren't comfortable doing this yourself? Get the Modern Sidebar White Glove service.