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 Add WordPress Widgets To Your WebsiteIn Part One of this step-by-step tutorial, we explained how to use WordPress widgets and in Part 2, we explained how to configure a text widget.

In this tutorial we will continue configuring other frequently-used sidebar widgets.

Adding Post Categories To Your Sidebar

Now that you know how to configure a text widget containing a support button, let’s configure a widget to display your Post Categories.

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

WordPress Categories Widget

(WordPress Post Categories widget)

Useful Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to your sidebar, you will first need to configure your Categoriesfeature inside your dashboard …

WordPress Post Categories

(WordPress Post Categories)

Note: We plan to provide tutorials about how to configure categories.

Configure the Categories settings for your widget as described below:

  • In Title: type something that will make sense to visitors, like “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • If you have too many categories, check Display as dropdown (this significantly reduces the length of the widget 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. (2)
  • Leave the default settings for the remaining options, or see the additional notes on configuring this widget below.
  • Click Save when finished …

Configuring a Categories Widget

(Categories widget settings)

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

Categories widget added to sidebar section

(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 unchecked.
  • 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 Blog Sidebar

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

Click on the title bar to display the configuration settings …

Recent Posts widget

(Recent Posts WordPress widget)

There’s not much to configure in this widget. 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 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 WordPress widget settings)

The most recent number of posts you’ve specified will be listed on the sidebar menu …

Recent Posts widget added to sidebar navigation area

(Recent Posts widget added to sidebar)

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

Adding A Pages Widget To Your Blog Sidebar

Next, let’s add a widget to your sidebar to display page links.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your active widget area …

Inserting a Pages widget into your sidebar navigation area

(Dragging and dropping a Pages widget into your sidebar section)

The Pages widget allows you to configure the following options:

  • Title: Add a title to the widget (e.g. “Pages“) (1)
  • Sort by: Sort how your pages display: by title (i.e. alphabetically), by page order, or page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Prevent pages from showing on the sidebar navigation area (3) …

WordPress Pages Widget settings

(Pages Widget settings)

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

WordPress Pages Widget settings - sort options

(Pages Widget settings – sort options)

To prevent pages from displaying to visitors, type in their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – exclude pages by ID)

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

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 pages will now display in the sidebar …

Pages Widget on sidebar

(Pages Widget on sidebar)


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

Add A Links Widget To Your WordPress Blog Sidebar

Next, we’ll add a widget to the WordPress sidebar for displaying links to external resources.

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

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links section)

Note: Configuring the Links feature will be explained in other tutorials.

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

Links Widget

(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 your sidebar …

WordPress Links Widget Settings

(Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to your sidebar navigation menu 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 The Sidebar

(Add Multiple Links Widgets To The Sidebar Area)

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

(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 …

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 to update your settings. Your links will become immediately visible on your sidebar …

Links added to sidebar area

(External links added to sidebar menu)

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

How To Add And Configure Widgets In Your WordPress Sidebar Area


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

To view the rest of this tutorial series, click this link:


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