How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 3

Learn how to add and configure a number of useful widgets on your WordPress sidebar …

Configuring Widgets On The WordPress Blog Sidebar MenuIn Part 1 of this tutorial, we explained how to use widgets in WordPress and in Part 2, you learned how to configure a text widget.

In this section you will configure other commonly-used WordPress widgets.

Adding A Categories Widget

Now that you have configure a text widget containing a contact button, let’s configure a widget to display Categories on your sidebar.

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

WordPress Post Categories Widget

(WordPress Post Categories widget)

Useful Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to the sidebar area, we recommend setting up your post categories inside the dashboard …

WordPress Post Categories Panel

(Post Categories)

Note: We plan to provide tutorials on setting up and using WordPress post categories.

Let’s configure your Categories widget settings as shown below:

  • In Title: type something that will make sense to visitors, for example, “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • If you have too 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 unchecked. (2)
  • You can leave the default settings for the remaining options, or see the additional notes on configuring the Categories widget below.
  • Click Save when finished …

Categories Widget settings

(Configuring a Categories widget)

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

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar

(Categories widget added to sidebar)



  • 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 option as is.
  • 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 on your sidebar menu by default. All you need to do is configure this widget.

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

Recent Posts widget

(Recent Posts WordPress widget)

There’s really very little to set up. 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 change the number of posts and click Save

Recent Posts WordPress widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

Your most recent posts will display on the sidebar area …

Recent Posts widget added to blog sidebar

(Recent Posts widget added to blog sidebar)

How to create and edit a post in WordPress is covered in this step-by-step tutorial: How To Create A New Post In WordPress

Add A Pages Widget To Your Blog Sidebar

Next, we’ll add a widget to your sidebar menu to display your pages.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your sidebar widget section …

Dragging and dropping a Pages widget into your sidebar

(Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar navigation area)

The Pages widget allows you to configure the following options:

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

WordPress Pages Widget settings

(Pages Widget settings)

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

WordPress Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – sort options)

To prevent certain pages from displaying to visitors, enter the Page Ids for the pages you want excluded separated by commas into the Exclude field of the widget …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – exclude pages)

To learn how to find a WordPress post or page ID, see this step-by-step tutorial: Finding A WP Page Or Post ID

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

Links to the pages will now display in your sidebar area …

WordPress Pages Widget on sidebar

(Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Useful Tip

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

Display Links On Your WordPress Sidebar

Now, let’s add a Links widget to the sidebar.

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

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links section)

Note: We are currently putting together tutorials on how to configure and use the Links feature in WordPress.

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

Links Widget

(WordPress Links Widget)

Drag it to your sidebar …

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 area …

Links Widget Settings

(WordPress Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to the sidebar area 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 Navigation Menu

(Add Multiple Links Widgets To Your Sidebar)

You can sort links by Link title, Link rating, Link ID, or display links in Random order …

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 sidebar menu

(External 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 the sidebar area.

Adding WordPress Widgets To Your Sidebar Navigation Area


This is the end of section three of this tutorial about how to use WordPress widgets.

Click on this link to continue:


"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