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 Use WidgetsIn Part One of this step-by-step tutorial, we explained how to use widgets in WordPress and in Part 2, you learned how to configure a text widget.

In this tutorial you are going to configure other commonly-used sidebar widgets.

How To Add A Post Categories Section To Your Blog Sidebar

Now that you have set up a text widget containing a clickable support button, let’s configure 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 on your sidebar widget area …

WordPress Post Categories Widget

(Post Categories widget)


your your WordPress post categories …

WordPress Post Categories Screen


Note: How to configure and use post categories in WordPress will be covered in separate tutorials.

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 widget content by displaying all categories in 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 default settings for the remaining options, or see the additional notes on configuring this widget below.
  • Click Save to update your settings …

WordPress Categories Widget settings

(WordPress Categories widget settings)

Load the site in your browser or refresh the page to see how your Categories widget will look to site visitors …

Categories widget added to sidebar menu

(WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar navigation menu)

Practical 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 box unticked.
  • 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 Recent Posts To Your Blog Sidebar

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

Click on the Recent Posts title bar to display the configuration settings …

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There is not much to set up here. You can add a title, select the number of posts to display and display post dates. If you’re happy with the default Number of posts to show setting, 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 widget settings)

The most recent number of posts you have specified will be listed on the sidebar …

Recent Posts widget on sidebar area

(Recent Posts WordPress widget on blog sidebar)

How to create and edit WordPress Posts is explained in this tutorial: How To Create A Post In WordPress

Adding A Pages Widget

Next, we’ll add a widget to your sidebar linking visitors to pages.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(WordPress Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your widget section …

Inserting a Pages widget into your sidebar

(Inserting a Pages widget into your sidebar navigation menu)

The Pages widget lets you 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: Use this setting to prevent pages from showing on the sidebar (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 another option, then choose a different method in the Sort by: drop-down menu …

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(Pages Widget settings – sort options)

To prevent pages from showing in the sidebar, simply paste in their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – exclude pages)

How to find a WordPress page ID is covered in this step-by-step tutorial: How To Find A WordPress Post Or Page ID

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

Links to the site’s main pages will now display on the sidebar navigation section …

Pages Widget on sidebar

(Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Practical Tip

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

Display Links On The Sidebar Area

Next, let’s add a widget to your WordPress sidebar navigation menu for displaying links to external resources.

Before adding the Links widget to the sidebar, we first recommend setting up the Links section inside your dashboard …

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links section)

Note: How to set up and use the WordPress Links feature will be covered in separate tutorials.

To add the widget, find 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 the sidebar navigation area …

WordPress Links Widget Settings

(Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to your sidebar navigation menu 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 The Sidebar Menu)

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

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

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

When you have finished configuring the Links Widget, click the Save button. Your links will become immediately visible on your site …

Links added to sidebar section

(External links added to WordPress sidebar area)

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 the sidebar.

How To Add And Configure Widgets In WordPress


This is the end of section 3 of this tutorial.

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