How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 2

Learn how to add, configure, and use text widgets on your WordPress sidebar …

How To Add Widgets To WordPressIn Part 1 of this tutorial series, we explained the basics of how to use WordPress widgets.

In this section we are going to show you how to configure various WordPress sidebar widgets.

How To Configure Widgets

By default, your site comes with a number of built-in widgets, such as widgets that let you display external links, filter posts by categories, text or HTML banners, filter content by publish dates, etc.

In a default WordPress installation, your site comes with several pre-installed widgets

(By default, your site comes with a number of preinstalled widgets)

Setting Up Frequently-Used WordPress Widgets On Your Sidebar Navigation Area: Step-By-Step Tutorial

In this step-by-step tutorial series, you are going to learn how to add, configure and reorder various commonly-used widgets, including:

  • Add a clickable Help image linking visitors to your contact page.
  • Add a Categories section.
  • Adding a Recent Posts section.
  • Adding a list of your site’s Pages.
  • Display important Links on the sidebar.
  • Add an RSS Feed section.
  • Adding a Tag Cloud section.
  • Adding and configuring an Archives section to the sidebar.

The Widgets panel is located inside the dashboard area by going to Appearance > Widgets

Understanding WordPress For Newbies: About WordPress Widgets

(Widgets Menu)

This loads the Widgets panel in your web browser …

Widgets Area

(Widgets Area)

Let’s get started …

Add A Text Widget

Text widgets are versatile …

WordPress Text widget

(Text widget)


Rich Text Widget

From version 4.8 onward, WordPress has added native rich-text editing capabilities to text widgets …

Rich Text Widget

(Rich Text Widget)

This lets you quickly and easily format text, create lists, add emphasis, and insert links into your sidebar text …

(Format text easily with the new text widget)

Text widgets can be used to add comments, image links, scripts and more to your site … simply type in text or insert HTML into the widget content area. You can also add an optional title in the Title field. Remember to save your settings when done …

Text widgets are very useful

(A text widget is really useful!)

Example: Use A Text Widget To Add A Contact Button To The Sidebar Navigation Section

For this example, we’ll set up a contact button on the sidebar that takes your visitors to a page on your site (or an external site, e.g. a helpdesk) where they can contact you for help and support.

First, you will need to create or source a “help button” graphic image that you can use on your own site …

Add A Clickable Help Button To Your Sidebar Navigation Menu Using A Text Widget

We’ll set up the clickable button to display at the top of the sidebar like in the example shown below …

Add A Support Button To The Sidebar Menu Using A Text Widget

Step 1 – Upload your image.

Upload the image to your server’s images folder and note the URL pointing to your server’s image location.

E.g. …

You will need this information in Step 3.

For visitors to go to your contact page when the help button gets clicked, you will need to either create a contact page, or have an existing destination page already set up (e.g. a helpdesk). We will link your button graphic to this URL in Step 3

Step 2 – Add a destination page.

Create a contact page and note its URL …

Add A Clickable Support Button To The Sidebar Menu Using A Text Widget

Step 3 – Compose your text widget code.

Don’t worry … this sounds a lot more technical than it is. Basically, we just need to create the instructions for your clickable button.

Your code can be typed into a plain text editor and will look something like this …

Add A Clickable Help Button To The Sidebar Navigation Area Using A Text Widget

  • Replace “” in the code with the URL of your contact page location.
  • Replace “” in the code above with the URL of your image location.

The image below shows the sections of the above sample code that you need to replace with your actual contact page and image URLs …

Using A Text Widget To Add A Clickable Help Button To Your Sidebar Navigation Area

Replace the above URLs and then copy all of the above code to your clipboard when finished.

If you need help understanding basic HTML code, see this tutorial:

Now, go back to your Widgets area …

Activate or deactivate widgets using drag-and-drop

(Widgets Panel)

Step 4 – Add a Text widget.

Add a Text widget to your sidebar in the location where your button should display.

In the Available Widgets area, find a Text widget …

Text widget

(Text widget)

Drag the Text widget to your Active Widgets section and release the widget at the top of the Widget Area

Drag and drop your WordPress text widget

(Drag-and-drop your WordPress text widget)

Step 5 – Configure your widget settings.

Click on the widget title bar to configure its options. Paste the code with the URLs to your contact page and graphic button into the text widget content area and click the save button …

Text widget

Add a title to the widget if you want (e.g. “Need Help?”, “Support”, etc.) and paste the code with the correct destination links into the text area, then click the save button …

WordPress text widget


Note: Make sure to check all URLs before pasting scripts into your Text Widget, or your clickable button will not work.

*** If using WordPress version pre-4.8 ***

If adding text without formatting tags like paragraph breaks, you may want to tick the Automatically add paragraphs box to wrap each block of text in an HTML paragraph code (note: not required if you’re typing in formatted HTML code like we’re doing in this tutorial).

Here is some text with Automatically add paragraphs box not checked …

Automatically add paragraphs box unchecked

(Automatically add paragraphs box not ticked)

Here is some text with Automatically add paragraphs box selected …

Automatically add paragraphs box selected

(Automatically add paragraphs box ticked)


Step 6 – Refresh the web browser.

After adding the widget and code, go to your site and refresh the browser. If all links have been entered correctly, then the clickable support button will display at the top of the sidebar menu …

Use A Text Widget To Add A Clickable Help Button To Your Sidebar Navigation Section

(Clickable button widget on blog sidebar)

The above screenshot shows a clickable button added to a brand new WordPress site.

Step 7 – Test the widget.

The last step is to make sure that the destination link works. Test this by clicking on the help button. If you are taken directly to the contact page, then your text widget has been set up correctly …

Test the clickable button

(Test the text widget)

Practical Tip

Text Widgets – Useful Tips:

If you want a new browser window to open up when visitors click on your help button (so they don’t leave the page they’re on), then change the code from this:

Add A Clickable Help Button To The Sidebar Section Using A Text Widget

To this (i.e. include the section that says: target=”_blank” in your html code):

Add A Clickable Contact Button To Your Sidebar Menu Using A Text Widget - open in new window

When adding images to your sidebar navigation section, make sure that the width of the image does not exceed the width of your sidebar column, especially if you are using a non-responsive WordPress theme. Note that some themes may display elements differently depending on their templates and layout. Some sidebars may be wider or narrower. If your theme’s sidebar is narrower than the width of the graphic images, then you may need to either adjust the size of your images, or the column width to make graphics display correctly on your theme.

Adjust column width or reduce image size

(Adjust column width or reduce image size)

Additional Tips:

  • If you don’t want to center the button image inside your sidebar, delete the <center> and </center> tags from the beginning and end of the HTML code. The image will then align to the left.
  • Link your help button to any destination you like (e.g. to an external link, helpdesk, forum, etc.) and change this anytime by replacing the code inside your text widget.

Using WordPress Widgets


This is the end of part 2 of this tutorial series on how to use Widgets.

To view the rest of this tutorial, click here:


"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum