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 WordPress Widgets To The SiteIn Part One 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 tutorial we will continue configuring other WordPress widgets.

Adding Post Categories

Now that you have configure a text widget containing a support button, let’s configure a widget for displaying Post Categories on the sidebar.

By default, the Categories widget already displays on your sidebar. 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 Categories Widget

(Post Categories widget)

Practical Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to your sidebar section, we recommend setting up the Post Categoriessection first …

WordPress Post Categories Screen

(WordPress Categories Screen)

Note: We plan to create separate tutorials on how to configure and use post categories.

Let’s configure the Categories widget settings as described below:

  • In Title: type something that blog readers will understand, like “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • If you have too many categories, check Display as dropdown (this significantly reduces the length of your content by displaying all categories inside a drop-down menu). If you plan to publish posts under a few categories only, then leave the Display as dropdown box unchecked. (2)
  • Leave the default settings for the remaining options, or see the additional notes on configuring this widget below.
  • Click Save when done …

Configuring a WordPress Categories Widget

(WordPress Categories widget settings)

Load the site in your browser or reload your page to see how your sidebar categories will display to your site visitors …

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar

(Categories widget added to sidebar area)

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 option, otherwise leave this section as is.
  • To display the number of posts published in each category on your site, enable 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 Your Sidebar Section

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

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

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts WordPress widget)

There’s not much to configure. You can add a title, select the number of posts to display and opt to display post dates. If you’re happy with the default Number of posts to show setting, then just leave the widget as is, otherwise enter a 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 WordPress widget displayed on sidebar section

(Recent Posts WordPress widget displayed on blog sidebar)

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

Add Links To Your Site’s Main Pages In Your Sidebar

Next, let’s add a widget to your sidebar menu for listing pages.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

Pages Widget

(WordPress Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your sidebar widget section …

Inserting a Pages widget into the sidebar

(Inserting a Pages widget into the sidebar)

The Pages widget lets you configure the following settings:

  • Title: Add a title to display above your links (e.g. “Pages“) (1)
  • Sort by: Sort how your pages display: by title (i.e. alphabetically), by page order, or page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Hide pages on the sidebar navigation 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 another option, then select a different method from the Sort by: drop-down menu …

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(Pages Widget settings – sorting options)

To prevent pages from showing to your visitors, enter the Page Ids for all the pages you would like to exclude separated by commas into the Exclude field …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – exclude pages)

To learn how to find a WordPress post or page ID, see this tutorial: How To Find The Unique ID Of Posts And Pages In Your WP Blog

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

Links to your pages will now appear on your sidebar navigation menu …

Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Practical Tip

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

Add A Links Widget To Your Sidebar

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

Before adding a Links widget to your sidebar navigation area, we recommend configuring the Links feature first …

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: We plan to create a separate step-by-step tutorial on how to set up the WordPress Links feature.

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

WordPress Links Widget

(Links Widget)

Drag it to your sidebar …

Making 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 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

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To The 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 …

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 …

Links added to WordPress sidebar

(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 your WordPress sidebar.

Using Widgets In WordPress


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

To keep reading, click here:


"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)