How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 3

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

Using WidgetsIn Part 1 of this tutorial, we explained how to use widgets in WordPress and in Part Two, we explained how to configure text widgets.

In this tutorial we will continue configuring other commonly-used WordPress widgets.

How To Add Post Categories To Your Blog Sidebar

Now that you have set up a text widget containing a support button, let’s configure a widget to display your Categories.

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

Post Categories Widget

(Post Categories widget)


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

WordPress Post Categories Screen

(Categories Screen)

Note: We are currently putting together tutorials on how to configure and use WordPress post categories.

Let’s configure the Categories widget settings as described below:

  • In Title: type something that will make sense to your visitors, for example, “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • Check Display as dropdown if you have too many categories (this significantly reduces the size 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 unticked. (2)
  • Leave the default settings for the remaining options, or see the additional notes on configuring the Categories widget below.
  • Click Save when done …

Configuring a Categories Widget

(Configuring a Categories widget)

Click Visit Site or reload your page to see how the content will display to blog readers …

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar

(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 box, otherwise leave this section 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 Blog Sidebar

The Recent Posts widget normally appears on the sidebar navigation menu by default. All you need to do is configure this widget.

Click on its 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 want to use the default setting for Number of posts to show, then just leave the widget as is, otherwise enter a number of posts to show and click Save

Recent Posts widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

Your most recent posts will be listed on your sidebar navigation section …

Recent Posts WordPress widget added to blog sidebar

(Recent Posts WordPress widget added to blog sidebar)

To learn how to create and edit WordPress Posts, see this tutorial: How To Create A WordPress Post

Add A Pages Widget

Next, we’ll add a widget to your sidebar navigation section to display page links.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your active widget section …

Inserting a Pages widget into the sidebar

(Dragging and dropping a Pages widget into the sidebar section)

The Pages widget lets you configure the following settings:

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

WordPress Pages Widget settings

(WordPress Pages Widget settings)

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

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – sort options)

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

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – exclude pages by ID)

We provide a tutorial on how to find a page ID in WordPress here: How To Find The Post Or Page ID 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 your main pages will now show on the sidebar …

WordPress Pages Widget on sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Useful Tip

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

Add A Links Widget To The Sidebar

Next, let’s add a widget to display external links on the sidebar.

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

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: How to configure and use WordPress Links will be explained in other tutorials.

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

Links Widget

(WordPress Links Widget)

Drag the widget to your sidebar …

Making 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 …

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 Menu

(Add Multiple Links Widgets To The 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

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

When you have finished configuring the Links Widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your links will become immediately visible on your WordPress sidebar navigation area …

Links added to sidebar

(External links added to sidebar section)

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 WordPress sidebar.

Adding Widgets To The Sidebar Navigation Menu


This is the end of part 3 of this tutorial on using WordPress widgets.

To continue, click here:


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