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 Widgets To The WordPress Sidebar Navigation MenuIn Part One of this tutorial series, we explained how to use WordPress widgets and in Part 2, you learned how to configure text widgets.

In this section you are going to configure other default sidebar widgets.

Add A Post Categories Widget

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

By default, the Categories widget already displays on your sidebar navigation section. All you need to do, therefore, is place the widget wherever you want your post categories to display by clicking and dragging it in the sidebar area …

WordPress Categories Widget

(WordPress Categories widget)

Practical Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to the sidebar navigation section, we recommend first setting up your categories inside the dashboard …

WordPress Post Categories

(Categories Screen)

Note: We are currently putting together tutorials on setting up categories in WordPress.

Configure the Categories settings for your widget as described below:

  • In Title: type something that will make sense to visitors, like “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • If you plan to use many categories, check Display as dropdown (this significantly reduces the length of your widget content by displaying all categories inside a drop-down menu). Leave the box unticked if you want a list of all categories to display on the sidebar navigation menu. (2)
  • Leave the other options unticked, or see the additional notes on configuring the Categories widget below.
  • Click Save to update your settings …

Configuring a Categories Widget

(Configuring a WordPress Categories widget)

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

Categories widget added to sidebar section

(Categories widget added to sidebar)

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 option as is.
  • To display the number of posts published in each category, 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

The Recent Posts widget is typically added to the sidebar area by default. All you need to do is configure this widget.

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

Recent Posts widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There’s really not much to set up 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 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 widget settings

(Recent Posts widget settings)

Your most recent posts will now display to visitors on your sidebar navigation menu …

Recent Posts WordPress widget added to sidebar navigation section

(Recent Posts WordPress widget displayed on sidebar)

We provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to create WordPress Posts here: How To Create A Post In WordPress

Adding A Pages Widget

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

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your widget section …

Inserting a Pages widget into the sidebar

(Inserting a Pages widget into your sidebar)

The Pages widget allows you to 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 page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Hide selected pages on the sidebar section (3) …

WordPress Pages Widget settings

(WordPress Pages Widget settings)

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

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(Pages Widget settings – item sorting options)

To exclude pages from showing on the widget, enter their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – excluding pages by ID)

A tutorial is provided on how to find a page ID in WordPress here: How To Find The ID Of Posts And Pages In Your WordPress Website

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

Links to the pages will now show in the sidebar …

WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on sidebar)


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

Add Links To The Sidebar

Next, let’s add a Links widget that will display external links on the sidebar menu.

Before adding the Links widget to the sidebar, we recommend configuring the Links section inside the dashboard …

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links section)

Note: We are currently putting together tutorials on setting up and using the WordPress Links feature.

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

Links Widget

(Links Widget)

Drag the Links 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 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 Links Widgets To Your Sidebar Navigation Menu

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To Your Sidebar 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 …

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

(External 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.

Adding And Configuring WordPress Widgets In Your Blog


This is the end of section 3 of this series of tutorials.

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