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 Widgets In WordPressIn Part One of this step-by-step tutorial series, 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 learn how to configure other default WordPress sidebar widgets.

How To Add A Categories Widget To The Blog Sidebar

Now that you know how to set up a text widget containing a help button, let’s configure your Post Categories.

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

Categories Widget

(WordPress Post Categories widget)

Useful Tip

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


(WordPress Post Categories Screen)

Note: We plan to create tutorials about configuring and using categories.

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

  • In Title: type something that will make sense to your visitors, like “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 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)
  • Leave the other options as the default, or see the additional notes on configuring the Categories widget below.
  • Click Save to update your settings …

Categories Widget settings

(Categories widget settings)

Click Visit Site or reload your page to see how your Categories widget will display to visitors …

Categories widget added to sidebar

(WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar navigation area)



  • 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 section 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 displays in your sidebar by default. All you need to do is configure this widget.

Click on the title bar to display the configuration settings …

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There’s really very little to configure. 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 setting for Number of posts to show, 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 be listed on the sidebar menu …

Recent Posts widget displayed on blog sidebar

(Recent Posts widget displayed on blog sidebar)

We provide a tutorial about how to create and edit a WordPress Post here: How To Create A New Post In WordPress

Add A Pages Widget To The Blog Sidebar Menu

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

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

Pages Widget

(WordPress Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your active widget area …

Adding a Pages widget to your sidebar menu

(Inserting a Pages widget into your sidebar section)

The Pages widget allows you to configure the following options:

  • Title: Add a title to the widget (e.g. “Site Info“) (1)
  • Sort by: Sort how your pages display: by title (i.e. alphabetically), by page order, or by page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Use this setting to prevent pages from showing on your 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 one of the other options, then select a different method in the Sort by: drop-down menu …

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – item sorting options)

To exclude certain pages from showing to visitors, enter their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field of the widget …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – exclude pages by ID)

A step-by-step tutorial is provided on finding a page ID in WordPress here: Finding A WP Post Or Page ID

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

Links to your blog’s pages will now appear on your sidebar area …

WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Useful Tip

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

Add A Links Widget

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

Before adding a Links widget to the sidebar navigation menu, we recommend configuring the Links feature inside the dashboard first …

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links section)

Note: How to set up and use Links will be explained in other tutorials.

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

Links Widget

(Links Widget)

Drag the widget to your sidebar 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 the sidebar section …

Links Widget Settings

(WordPress Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to the 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 Links Widgets To Your Sidebar Area

(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 the Links Widget, click the Save button. Your links will display immediately on your sidebar area …

Links added to WordPress sidebar

(External links added to WordPress sidebar navigation 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 link lists to the WordPress sidebar.

How To Add Widgets To WordPress


This is the end of section three of this tutorial series about using Widgets.

Click here to continue:


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