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 SidebarIn Part One of this step-by-step tutorial, we explained how to use widgets in WordPress and in Part 2, you learned how to configure text widgets.

In this section you will learn how to configure other frequently-used WordPress blog widgets.

Add Post Categories

Now that you know how to set up a text widget containing a clickable help button, let’s configure a widget to display Categories on your sidebar navigation section.

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

Post Categories Widget

(Post Categories widget)

Practical Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to your sidebar, we recommend configuring your categories first …

Categories Panel

(Post Categories Screen)

Note: We plan to provide separate tutorials on how to use WordPress categories.

Configure your Categories widget settings as described below:

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

Categories Widget settings

(Configuring a Categories widget)

Load the site in your browser or refresh your page to see how the Categories widget will display to your blog readers …

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar

(Categories widget added to sidebar)



  • 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 option, otherwise leave this box unchecked.
  • To display the number of posts published in each category on your site, 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 Section To The Blog Sidebar

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

Click on the Recent Posts widget title bar to display the configuration settings …

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts widget)

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

Recent Posts widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

Your most recent posts will be listed on the sidebar …

Recent Posts widget added to sidebar navigation area

(Recent Posts widget displayed on sidebar section)

For a step-by-step tutorial about how to create and edit WordPress Posts, go here: How To Create A Post In WordPress

Add A Pages Widget

Next, let’s add a widget to your sidebar section to display the pages on your site.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

Pages Widget

(WordPress Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your widget area …

Inserting a Pages widget into your sidebar

(Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar navigation area)

The Pages widget allows you to configure the following options:

  • Title: Add a title to display above your links (e.g. “Site Information“) (1)
  • Sort by: Sort how your pages display: by title (i.e. alphabetically), by page order, or by page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Hide pages on your sidebar menu (3) …

WordPress 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 another option, then choose 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 showing on the sidebar, simply enter their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field of the widget …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – excluding pages by ID)

How to find a page ID in WordPress is covered here: How To Find Page And Post IDs In A WP Site

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

Links to the blog’s main pages will now show in your sidebar …

Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(Pages Widget on sidebar)


Tip: You can add multiple Pages widgets to your sidebar navigation section. This is helpful if you would like to display separate page groups on the sidebar (e.g. “Products”, “Legal Pages” etc.)

Add Links To The WordPress Sidebar Navigation Menu

Now, we’ll add a Links widget to your sidebar area.

Before adding a Links widget to the sidebar, you will first need to configure the Links feature inside your dashboard …

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links section)

Note: We plan to create a tutorial that shows you how to configure Links.

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

WordPress Links Widget

(WordPress Links Widget)

Drag it to your sidebar area …

Make Links Widget active

(Making Links Widget active)

The Links 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 your sidebar …

Links Widget Settings

(Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to your 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 WordPress Links Widgets To Your Sidebar

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To Your Sidebar Navigation Area)

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

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

(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 …

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

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

When you have finished configuring your Links Widget, click the Save button. Your widget will display immediately on the sidebar section …

Links added to WordPress sidebar

(Links added to 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 link lists to the WordPress sidebar.

How To Add WordPress Widgets To Your Website


This is the end of part 3 of this tutorial about using WordPress widgets.

Click here to continue:


"Learning WordPress has been a huge stumbling block for me. I've been looking for something that covers absolutely everything but doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Thank you so much ... you have just provided me with what I have been looking for! Truly appreciated!" - Tanya