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The Case of the Disappearing Sidebars

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for just the right way to organise my sidebars.

Just the right combination of words and images.  Just the right level of detail.  Just the right blend of what falls on the left hand side, and what falls on the right.

Sometimes I feel as though I’ve got it done: just right.  And sit back for a while, task complete.  Satisfied.

Until poof! They’re away again, if not quite disappeared (sorry, it’s another exaggerated headline) then mixed up and muddled and not at all how they used to be, not the right balance, blend and combination at all.

This happened to me the other week.  I’d had to uninstall and reinstall all my plugins (another story, more of which later).  (Non-wordpress folk: please feel free to look away now.)  Once reinstated the site was fine and clean as a whistle, but the sidebars were… different.  Jumbled.  Empty looking.  And most definitely missing something.

Only problem was… I couldn’t remember what.

This post is a bit of a long way round for a short cut.  The simple point is this: it’s hard to remember what’s no longer there.

You might not even notice it for a while, just have the nagging feeling that things aren’t the way they used to be.

And my learning point is: if you’ve got your sidebars the way you like them, take a note, detailed code and all, of which widget goes where.

That way if the plugin faeries sneak in and play with your blog in the middle of the night… order can be restored to your sidebars in the morning.

Do you have a system for organising your sidebars… and remembering what you’ve done if you do? ;-)

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  1. Tweets that mention The Case of the Disappearing Sidebars | Confident Writing -- says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Todd Rutherford, Joanna Paterson. Joanna Paterson said: The Case of the Disappearing Sidebars: I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for just the right w… [...]

  2. Marion says:

    As someone who managed to “break” her wordpress I can fully share the sentiment behind this post. What a great but simple idea - take a note.
    This post has come at a great point for me as I am about to upgrade to wordpress 3.0 . So notes, backup and action.

    Thank you Joanna

  3. Emma Newman
    Twitter: emapocalyptic

    I don’t - but I will set one up now after reading this! Thanks for the good advice.

  4. John Soares says:

    Joanna, thanks for sharing your Twitter tips. I’ve only been active there for a couple of months, so I’m always looking for good advice on how to do it as efficiently and effectively as possible.

  5. Patricia says:

    I am totally dependent on IT Girl to take care of all the technical thingies, she even posts each post and picture for me….Sometimes it just doesn’t look the way I want it to…nor can I read and find my analytic s..
    Dyscalcula has it’s drawbacks. I do not know how many subscriptions I have…
    I do like wandering around in achieves and reading such good past posts as I can find on this blog…amazing stuff Thank you

  6. Lillie Ammann says:

    Losing everything once long ago taught me a lesson. I copy and paste all widgets and the codes into a Word document (because that’s the program that’s most comfortable for me). I have documents for my own blog and all the ones I maintain for clients. If I change a sidebar, I update the file. I’ve actually used those records several times.

  7. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Marion oh dear… hope you managed to fix it again! Fingers crossed your upgrade went okay. Backing up first is always a good idea… just in case.

    Emma well you have lovely sidebars so you don’t want to lose the how! ;-)

    John thanks. Not sure the tips will aid efficiency and effectiveness, but they should help to make it an enjoyable and rewarding experience for you.

    Patricia am glad you are well looked after IT girl - sounds like a perfect arrangement.

    Lillie that makes so much sense - and saves on a lot of wasted effort doesn’t it?