Custom Widget Areas
Widgets, Widgets and More Widgets!
The Custom Widget Areas option makes it not only super easy to create an unlimited number of Custom Widget Areas, but then dictate their placement on your site using various Custom Conditionals (or if you don't want to restrict their placement just leave your Conditionals un-selected).
How To Use...
Give your Custom Widget Area a Name, Description (not required, but may be useful), select a Hook Location from the drop-down menu provided and then, if you would like to restrict the types of pages/posts your Custom Widget Area displays on, you can select various Conditionals you've created by checking the boxes in the Conditionals drop-down menu. Those few steps are all you need to take to successfully create a Custom Widget Area.
Once created you can add Widgets to this new Widget Area by going to (Appearance > Widgets) and dragging the Widgets into your Widget Area.
What Happens When You Change The Name of A Custom Widget Area?
The name of a Custom Widget Area acts as it's ID so when you change that name it does not rename the Widget Area, but instead it creates a duplicate Custom Widget Area with the new name.
The Custom Widget Areas option provides a few advanced features that you may find useful at some point. First, you can give these Widget Areas a Custom Class so you can uniquely style it with CSS if you need to. Also, by setting a Priority you can gain even more control over the placement of your Custom Widget Areas.
Sometimes you may add multiple Custom Widget Areas and/or Hook Boxes to the same Hook Location. In these cases the Priority option becomes useful. When adding a Priority you should start with the number 10 as a baseline as this is usually the defualt Priority level in WordPress. You could give one Widget Area or Hook Box a Priority of 10 and another 11 or 9 and these Custom Content areas will display before or after accordingly.
Finally, you'll notice that you can easily turn these Custom Widgets on or off with the "Activate" option. This is useful when you don't want to delete your Custom Widget, but would like to remove it from your site for the time being.
To use a Shortcode to display a Widget Area, use: [your_widget_area_name_here] In other words, just take the Name you gave your Widget Area, change any capital letters to lowercase, change any spaces and/or dashes to underscores, and wrap it in square brackets.
Be sure that each of your Custom Widget Areas has a name given to it. Failure to do this may result in the inability to Save your Custom Option settings.