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 BlogIn Part 1 of this tutorial, we explained how to use widgets in WordPress and in Part 2, you learned how to configure text widgets.

In this section you are going to configure other frequently-used WordPress sidebar widgets.

How To Add Categories

Now that you have set up a text widget containing a clickable support button, let’s configure a widget to display your Post Categories.

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

Categories Widget

(WordPress Post Categories widget)

Practical Tip

your your WordPress categories …

WordPress Categories Panel


Note: Configuring and using categories in WordPress will be covered in other tutorials.

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

  • In Title: type something that will make sense to your visitors, for example, “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • If you plan to use many categories, check Display as dropdown (this significantly reduces the size 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 unticked. (2)
  • You can leave the remaining options unticked, or see the additional notes on configuring the Categories widget below.
  • Click Save when finished …

Categories Widget settings

(Categories widget settings)

Click Visit Site or reload your page to see how the sidebar categories will look to site visitors …

Categories widget added to sidebar menu

(WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar section)

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 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

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

Click on your Recent Posts widget title bar to configure its settings …

Recent Posts widget

(Recent Posts WordPress widget)

There’s not much to set up here. You can add a title if you want, 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

Recent Posts WordPress widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

The number of posts you have specified will now display to visitors on your sidebar menu …

Recent Posts WordPress widget on sidebar

(Recent Posts widget displayed on blog sidebar)

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

Adding Links To Your Site’s Main Pages

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 section …

Dragging and dropping a Pages widget into the sidebar

(Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar)

The Pages widget allows you to configure the following options:

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

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – sorting options)

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

WordPress Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – excluding pages by ID)

How to find a WordPress post or page ID is covered in this tutorial: How To Find The ID Of WordPress Pages And Posts

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

Links to your main pages will now display on your sidebar …

Pages Widget on sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar)


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

Add Links To The Sidebar

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

Before adding a Links widget to your sidebar navigation menu, we recommend configuring the Links feature inside the WP dashboard …

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links section)

Note: Setting up and using Links will be covered in other tutorials.

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 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

(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 WordPress Links Widgets To The Sidebar Menu

(Add Multiple Links Widgets To The Sidebar Navigation 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

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

When you have finished configuring the Links Widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your widget will become immediately visible on the sidebar navigation menu …

Links added to sidebar navigation area

(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 section.

How To Add And Configure WordPress Widgets In The Sidebar


This is the end of part 3 of this series of tutorials about how to use Widgets.

Click here to keep reading:


"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)