WordPress: Optional Widget Areas

When developing a new WordPress theme, sometimes you might need to create optional widget areas within the template; that is, areas that can include widgets if the user wants, but don’t appear at all if the user has not added any widgets to that particular area.

For instance, some users of your theme might want to include a tag cloud above the footer; or maybe they want to include Google AdSense ads above the content. Other users of your theme might not want anything to appear in those areas, though.

So how do you create an optional widget area in a WordPress theme? The simple answer is, you use the is_active_sidebar() function.