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 The Sidebar Navigation AreaIn Part 1 of this tutorial series, we explained how to use widgets in WordPress and in Part Two, we explained how to configure text widgets.

In this section we will continue configuring other default widgets.

Add A Categories Section

Now that you have set up a text widget containing a contact button, let’s configure a widget for your Categories.

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

Categories Widget

(WordPress Categories widget)

Practical Tip

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

WordPress Post Categories

(Post Categories Panel)

Note: We plan to provide tutorials that explain how to use post categories in WordPress.

Let’s configure your categories settings as shown below:

  • In Title: type something that visitors will understand, for example, “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • Check Display as dropdown if you have too many categories (this significantly reduces the size of your content by displaying all categories inside a drop-down menu). Leave the box unchecked if you want a list of all categories to display on your sidebar navigation section. (2)
  • Leave the other options unticked, or see the additional notes on configuring this widget below.
  • Click Save when finished …

WordPress Categories Widget settings

(WordPress Categories widget settings)

Click Visit Site or refresh your page to see how the content will look to your site visitors …

Categories widget added to sidebar navigation menu

(WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar navigation area)

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 option as is.
  • 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 The Sidebar

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

Click on the title bar to configure its settings …

Recent Posts widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There’s not much to set up. You can add a widget title, select the number of posts to display and opt to display post dates. If you’re happy to use the default setting for Number of posts to show, then just leave the widget as is, otherwise enter the number of posts to show and click Save

Recent Posts WordPress widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

The most recent number of posts you’ve specified will now display to visitors on your sidebar navigation section …

Recent Posts WordPress widget displayed on sidebar

(Recent Posts WordPress widget added to blog sidebar)

To learn how to create a WordPress Post, see this step-by-step tutorial: How To Create A New Post In WordPress

Add A Pages Widget

Next, we’ll add a widget to your sidebar for listing pages.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

Pages Widget

(WordPress Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your widget area …

Inserting a Pages widget into your sidebar menu

(Adding a Pages widget to your sidebar menu)

The Pages widget lets you configure the following settings:

  • Title: Add a title to the widget (e.g. “Site Information“) (1)
  • Sort by: Sort how your pages display: by title (i.e. alphabetically), by page order, or page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Hide selected pages on the sidebar (3) …

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 select a different method in the Sort by: drop-down menu …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – item sorting options)

To exclude certain pages from showing on your widget, type or paste in their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field of the Pages widget …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – exclude pages by ID)

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

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

Links to the site’s pages will now show on your sidebar menu …

WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Useful Tip

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

Add A Links Widget

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

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

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links section)

Note: We plan to create tutorials about using the Links feature.

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

WordPress Links Widget

(Links Widget)

Drag the widget to your active 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 your sidebar …

WordPress Links Widget Settings

(Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to your sidebar section 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 Your Sidebar Menu

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To Your Sidebar)

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

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

When you have finished configuring the Links Widget, click the Save button …

Links added to sidebar menu

(Links added to WordPress sidebar navigation section)

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 WordPress sidebar.

How To Add Widgets To WordPress


This is the end of section 3 of this tutorial.

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