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 And Configure WordPress Widgets In Your WebsiteIn Part One of this tutorial series, we explained how to use WordPress widgets and in Part Two, we explained how to configure a text widget.

In this tutorial you will learn how to configure other frequently-used sidebar widgets.

Adding Categories To The Sidebar

Now that you know how to set up a text widget containing a clickable support button, let’s configure a widget for Post Categories.

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

WordPress Categories Widget

(WordPress Categories widget)

Useful Tip

your categories …

WordPress Post Categories Screen

(Post Categories)

Note: We plan to provide separate step-by-step tutorials about how to configure categories.

Let’s configure your Categories widget settings as shown 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 the 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)
  • You can leave the other options unticked, or see the additional notes on configuring this widget below.
  • Click Save to update your settings …

Configuring a Categories Widget

(Configuring a WordPress Categories widget)

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

Categories widget added to sidebar menu

(Categories widget added to sidebar navigation menu)

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, 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 Section To The Sidebar

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

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

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts WordPress widget)

There’s very little to configure in this widget. You can add a title if you want, select the number of posts to display and opt to display post dates. If you’re happy 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 widget settings)

The number of posts you’ve specified will now display to visitors on the sidebar area …

Recent Posts WordPress widget displayed on sidebar navigation section

(Recent Posts widget on blog sidebar)

How to create a WordPress Post is covered in this step-by-step tutorial: How To Create A WordPress Post

Displaying Your Site’s Main Pages In Your WordPress Sidebar

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

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your widget area …

Inserting a Pages widget into your sidebar navigation area

(Dragging and dropping 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 by page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Hide selected pages on your sidebar (3) …

Pages Widget settings

(Pages Widget settings)

By default, pages will be listed by title in alphabetical order. If you want to display pages using another option, then choose a different method in the Sort by: drop-down menu …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – item sorting options)

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

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – excluding pages)

How to find a post or page ID in WordPress is covered in this step-by-step tutorial: How To Locate The Unique ID Of A Page Or Post In WordPress

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

Links to the blog’s pages will now show on the sidebar …

Pages Widget on sidebar

(Pages Widget on blog sidebar)


Tip: You can add multiple Pages widgets to your sidebar. This is handy if you would like to display separate groups of pages on your sidebar section (e.g. “Products”, “Legal Pages” etc.)

Add A Links Widget

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

Before adding a Links widget to the sidebar section, you should first configure your Links section inside the dashboard …

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links screen)

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

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

Links Widget

(WordPress Links Widget)

Drag the Links widget to your sidebar area …

Making Links Widget active

(Making Links Widget active)

The Links 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 …

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 WordPress Links Widgets To The Sidebar Navigation Section

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To The Sidebar Menu)

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

( WordPress 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 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 lists of links to the sidebar.

Adding WordPress Widgets To The Sidebar Navigation Area


This is the end of section 3 of this tutorial on how to use WordPress widgets.

To keep reading, click here:


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