How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 3

Learn how to add and configure a number of useful widgets on your WordPress sidebar …

Adding And Configuring WordPress Widgets In Your WebsiteIn Part 1 of this tutorial series, we explained how to use WordPress widgets and in Part 2, you learned how to configure a text widget.

In this section we will continue configuring other default WordPress widgets.

Add Categories To Your Blog Sidebar

Now that you know how to set up a text widget containing a clickable help button, let’s configure a widget for Post Categories.

By default, the Categories widget already displays on the sidebar navigation menu. Place the widget wherever you want your post categories to display by clicking and dragging it on your sidebar widget area …

Post Categories Widget

(WordPress Post Categories widget)


Before adding a Categories widget to the sidebar, we recommend configuring your categories inside the dashboard …

Categories Screen

(WordPress Post Categories)

Note: We are currently putting together tutorials on setting up and using WordPress post categories.

Configure the Categories widget settings as shown below:

  • In Title: type something that visitors will understand, like “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • Check Display as dropdown if you plan to add many categories (this significantly reduces the size of your widget content by displaying all categories inside a drop-down menu). Leave the box unchecked if you want a list of all categories to display on the sidebar navigation area. (2)
  • Leave the default settings for the remaining options, or see the additional notes on configuring the Categories widget below.
  • Click Save to update your settings …

Configuring a WordPress Categories Widget

(WordPress Categories widget settings)

Click Visit Site or refresh the page to see how the Categories widget will look to your visitors …

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar navigation area

(WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar)

Useful Tip


  • Change the default Uncategorized post category to something more meaningful.
  • If you use nested categories on your site, you may want to check the Show hierarchy box, otherwise leave this box unticked.
  • To display the number of posts published in each category, tick the Show post counts check box …

Category widget options - Post Count Enabled vs Post Count Disabled

(Category widget options – Post Count Enabled vs Post Count Disabled)

Add A Recent Posts Widget To The Sidebar

The Recent Posts widget normally shows in your sidebar by default. All you need to do is configure your widget.

Click on your Recent Posts title bar to configure its settings …

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts WordPress widget)

There is really not much to set up here. You can add a title if you want, select the number of posts to display and display post dates. If you’re happy with the default setting for Number of posts to show, then just leave the widget as is, otherwise enter a number of posts to show and click Save when done …

Recent Posts widget settings

(Recent Posts widget settings)

The most recent number of posts you have specified will now display to visitors on your sidebar navigation menu …

Recent Posts widget on blog sidebar

(Recent Posts WordPress widget on blog sidebar)

To learn how to create and edit a WordPress Post, see this step-by-step tutorial: How To Create A New Post In WordPress

Adding A Pages Widget

Next, we’ll add a widget to your sidebar navigation section for listing pages.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your sidebar widget section …

Adding a Pages widget to your sidebar

(Inserting a Pages widget into the sidebar navigation section)

The Pages widget allows you to configure the following options:

  • Title: Add a title to the widget (e.g. “Site Information“) (1)
  • Sort by: Sort how your pages display: by title (i.e. alphabetically), by page order, or page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Use this setting to prevent pages from showing on your sidebar (3) …

Pages Widget settings

(WordPress Pages Widget settings)

By default, pages will be listed by title in alphabetical order. If you want to display pages using one of the other options, then select a different method from the Sort by: drop-down menu …

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(Pages Widget settings – sort options)

To prevent certain pages from displaying on the widget, enter their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field of the widget …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – excluding pages by ID)

For a step-by-step tutorial on how to find a WordPress post or page ID, go here: How To Locate The ID Of Any WordPress Post Or Page

Click the Save button when done and click Close at the bottom of the widget box to minimize your widget.

Links to the main pages will now display on the sidebar …

WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on sidebar)

Practical Tip

Tip: You can add multiple Pages widgets to your sidebar area. This is handy if you want to display different groups of pages on the sidebar (e.g. “Products”, “Legal Pages” etc.)

Add A Links Widget To Your Sidebar

Next, let’s add a Links widget to your sidebar navigation menu.

Before adding a Links widget to your sidebar navigation section, we recommend setting up the Links feature inside the WP dashboard …

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: How to configure and use WordPress Links will be covered in other tutorials.

To add the widget, find a Links widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Links Widget

(Links Widget)

Drag the Links widget to your sidebar area …

Make Links Widget active

(Making Links Widget active)

The widget offers a number of configurable options, including the ability to specify what information to show about your links and how many links you want to display on the sidebar …

Links Widget Settings

(WordPress Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to the sidebar navigation section as you want. As you will see in a moment, this lets you create and display specific lists of links on your site …

Add Multiple Links Widgets To The Sidebar Section

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To Your Sidebar Menu)

You can sort links by Link title, Link rating, Link ID, or display links in Random order …

Links widget: 'Sort by:' drop-down menu

(WordPress Links widget: ‘Sort by:’ drop-down menu)

You can also create and display a list of items for a specific category, by selecting a link category from the ‘Select Link Category’ drop-down menu …

Links widget: 'Select Link Category' drop-down menu

( WordPress Links widget: ‘Select Link Category’ drop-down menu)

When you have finished configuring the Links Widget, click the Save button …

Links added to WordPress sidebar area

(External links added to WordPress sidebar)

As the above example shows, you can display specific links to your site visitors (e.g. a list for a specific link category only), and add multiple lists of links to the WordPress sidebar navigation menu.

Using Widgets


This is the end of section 3 of this series of tutorials.

To keep reading, click here:


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