How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 3

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

How To Configure WordPress Widgets On The WordPress Blog SidebarIn Part 1 of this tutorial series, we explained how to use widgets in WordPress and in Part 2, we explained how to configure a text widget.

In this section you will configure other frequently-used WordPress widgets.

Add Post Categories

Now that you know how to configure a text widget containing a help button, let’s configure a widget for displaying Categories on your sidebar.

The Categories widget displays on the sidebar by default. All you have to do, therefore, is place this widget wherever you want your categories to display by clicking and dragging it in the sidebar area …

WordPress Post Categories Widget

(WordPress Post Categories widget)


Before adding a Categories widget to the sidebar, we recommend setting up your Categoriessection inside your dashboard …


(WordPress Post Categories Panel)

Note: We plan to create tutorials about how to set up and use WordPress post categories.

Configure your categories widget settings as shown below:

  • In Title: type something that will make sense to your visitors, like “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • If you have too many categories, check Display as dropdown (this significantly reduces the size of your content by displaying all categories in a drop-down menu). Leave the box unchecked if you want a list of all categories to display on your 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)

Load the site in your browser or reload the page to see how the content will look to blog readers …

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar

(Categories widget added to sidebar)

Practical 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 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 Widget To The Sidebar

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

Click on the title bar to display the configuration settings …

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There is very little to set up. You can add a title, select the number of posts to display and display post dates. If you want to use the default Number of posts to show setting, then just leave the widget as is, otherwise change the number of posts and click Save when done …

Recent Posts WordPress widget settings

(Recent Posts widget settings)

Your most recent posts will appear on the sidebar …

Recent Posts widget displayed on sidebar

(Recent Posts WordPress widget on blog sidebar)

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

Adding Links To Your Site’s Main Pages In Your WordPress Sidebar Navigation Menu

Next, we’ll add a widget to your sidebar navigation area to display page links.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your active widget section …

Dragging and dropping a Pages widget into your sidebar

(Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar)

The Pages widget lets you 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: Prevent pages from appearing on your sidebar menu (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 in the Sort by: drop-down menu …

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – item sorting options)

To exclude certain pages from displaying on your sidebar, type or paste in their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field of the Pages widget …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – excluding pages)

A step-by-step tutorial is provided on finding a WordPress page ID here: How To Locate The Unique ID Of A WordPress Page Or Post

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

Links to your pages will now appear on the sidebar …

WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar)


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

Add Links To The Sidebar Area

Now, let’s add a Links widget for displaying external links on your WordPress sidebar.

Before adding a Links widget to the sidebar navigation area, you will first need to configure your Links section inside the WordPress dashboard …

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links section)

Note: We are currently putting together tutorials on setting up the Links feature in WordPress.

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

Links Widget

(WordPress Links Widget)

Drag it to your sidebar …

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 …

WordPress Links Widget Settings

(WordPress Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to the sidebar navigation area 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 Your Sidebar Menu

(Add Multiple Links Widgets To Your Sidebar)

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

WordPress 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 …

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 links will display immediately on your sidebar area …

Links added to WordPress sidebar

(Links added to WordPress sidebar navigation menu)

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 your WordPress sidebar.

How To Add Widgets To Your WordPress Blog Sidebar


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

To view Part 4, click this link:


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