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The Simple Section Navigation plugin for WordPress adds a widget to your sidebar for section based navigation. What good does that do? Let me show you. Below is a screenshot of a widget output on an example “Open Source” page under a parent page “My Portfolio.”

The title of the widget is the top level page within the current section (but you can change that in the widget’s settings) . It will show all page siblings (except on the top level page), all parents and grandparents (and higher), the siblings of all parents and grandparents (up to top level page), and any immediate children of the current page. If you’re a programmer, you can also use it inside template files using a function.

If you’re just using WordPress for simple blogging, then you might not need this plugin. But, if you develop sites for clients who sometimes have complicated page structures or hundreds of pages with groups of pages, then this is definitely something you can use.

Last year, I designed a site for a tutoring franchise in Canada. They wanted each of their franchises to have several pages dedicated to their location and for one of those pages to be that location’s blog…but to only display those three pages in the sidebar navigation when a visitor was look at that location. Makes sense. Someone looking at Location A doesn’t need to be distracted by all of the pages for Location B, right? So here’s how using the Simple Section Navigation looks on that site:

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To install Simple Section Navigation on your site, navigate to the Plugins tab on your dashboard, click Add New, and search for “Simple Section Navigation.” Install it, then remember to activate it, too. Once you’ve done that, go to Appearance>Widgets, and you’ll see a new widget called “Simple Section Navigation.” Drag it over to the sidebar where you’d like it to display.

There are a few settings you can play with once the widget is in place. For example, you can change the title of the widget. If you don’t, it will simple display the top level page’s name (for the Scholars example above, that would have “Our Centres.” You can choose how to sort the pages, to exclude particular pages from that section, whether to show the widget on the home page, whether to make the title of the widget a link to the top level page (in our example above, “Our Centres” could either be a link to the “Our Centres” page, or just be the text “Our Centres,” to show all the pages in a section, to show the widget even if there are no pages in that section to show, and to not show the navigation on pages that are excluded.