How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 2

Learn how to add, configure, and use text widgets on your WordPress sidebar …

How To Use Widgets In WordPressIn Part 1 of this tutorial, we cover the basics of using WordPress widgets.

In this tutorial you are going to learn how to configure a number of WordPress widgets.

Configuring Frequently-Used WordPress Widgets

In a default WordPress installation, your site comes with a number of preinstalled widgets that can be used out of the box with little to no configuration needed, such as widgets that let you display external links, filter posts by categories, RSS feed content, adding tag clouds, etc.

In a default WordPress installation, your site comes with several preinstalled widgets

(In a default WordPress installation, your site comes with a number of preinstalled widgets)

Configuring Commonly-Used Widgets On Your Blog Sidebar: Tutorial

In this step-by-step tutorial, we will add, configure and reorder various frequently-used WordPress widgets, including:

  • Adding a clickable Help graphic linking visitors to the help page.
  • Adding a Categories section with a drop down menu.
  • Adding a Recent Posts section to display your latest posts.
  • Adding a list of Pages.
  • Display useful Links on your sidebar section.
  • Displaying news items using an RSS Feed section.
  • Add a Tag Cloud section.
  • Adding and configuring an Archives section to your sidebar navigation menu.

The Widgets panel is located in the WordPress dashboard and can easily be accessed from the WP admin menu by going to Appearance > Widgets

Understanding WordPress For Newbies: About WordPress Widgets

(Widgets Menu)

This brings up the Widgets screen in your browser …

Widgets Screen

(Widgets Screen)

Let’s start configuring some sidebar menu widgets …

Adding Text Widgets To Your Blog Sidebar Section

Text widgets are quite useful …

Text widget

(WordPress Text widget)

Important Info

Rich Text Widget

From version 4.8 onward, WordPress has added native rich-text editing capabilities to text widgets …

Rich Text Widget

(Rich Text Widget)

This lets you quickly and easily format text, create lists, add emphasis, and insert links into your sidebar text …

(Format text easily with the new text widget)

A text widget lets you insert just about anything you want into the sidebar or other widget sections, such as instructions, social media buttons, scripts and more to your site … simply by typing in text or adding HTML into the widget content area. You can also give the widget a title. Remember to save your settings when done …

A text widget is versatile

(Text widgets are really useful!)

Example: Use A Text Widget To Add A Clickable Contact Button To The Sidebar Navigation Section

For this example, let’s set up a contact button on your sidebar that will take your visitors to a page on your site (or an external site, e.g. a helpdesk) where they can contact you for help and support.

First, create or source a “help button” graphic image that your visitors can click on …

Add A Support Button To Your Sidebar Navigation Section Using A Text Widget

We’ll set up the clickable button to display at the top of the sidebar menu like in the example shown below …

Use A Text Widget To Add A Support Button To Your Sidebar Navigation Menu

Step 1 – Upload your image.

To display the clickable button image on your site, the button image must be uploaded to your server. Upload the button graphic to the images folder in your server and note the address of your image location.

For example …

http://www.yourdomain.com/images/supportbutton.jpg

You will need this information in Step 3.

In order for visitors to go to the contact page when they click on the support button, you will need to either create a contact page, or have an existing destination page already set up (e.g. a helpdesk). We will link your button graphic to this URL in Step 3

Step 2 – Add the support page.

Create a contact page and note its URL …

Add A Contact Button To The Sidebar Navigation Menu Using A Text Widget

Step 3 – Compose your text widget code.

If you’re not a technical-minded person, don’t worry … this sounds a lot more technical than it is. In simple terms, you just need to create the instructions linking your button image to the contact page.

Your instructions can be composed in a simple text file and should look something like this …

Using A Text Widget To Add A Help Button To The Sidebar Menu

  • Replace “http://www.yourdomain.com/contact-us” in the code with the URL of your contact page location.
  • Replace “http://yourimagelocation.com/img/supportbutton.jpg” in the code with the URL of your image location.

The image below shows the sections of the above code that you need to replace with your actual contact page and image URLs …

Using A Text Widget To Add A Clickable Help Button To Your Sidebar Area

Replace the above URLs and then copy all of the above code to your clipboard when finished.

If you need help figuring out basic HTML code, see this tutorial:

Next, go back to your Widgets area …

Activate or deactivate widgets using drag & drop

(Widgets Panel)

Step 4 – Add a Text widget.

Add a Text widget to your sidebar where you would like the button to display.

In the Available Widgets area, find a Text widget …

WordPress text widget

(WordPress text widget)

Drag the Text widget to your Active Widgets section and release the widget at the top of the Widget Area

Drag-and-drop your WordPress text widget

(Dragging and dropping your Text widget)

Step 5 – Configure the widget settings.

Click on the widget title bar to configure the widget options. Paste the code with the links to your contact page and graphic button into the text widget content area and click save …

Text widget

Add a title to your widget if you want (e.g. “Need Help?”, “Support”, etc.) and paste the code with the correct destination links into the large text box, then click Save when done …

WordPress text widget

Important

Note: Remember to check your contact page and image links before pasting scripts into the Text Widget, or the clickable button will not work.

*** If using WordPress version pre-4.8 ***

If you’re adding text with no formatting tags, you may want to tick the Automatically add paragraphs box to wrap each block of text in an HTML paragraph code (note: this is not necessary if you type in code like we’re using in the example for this tutorial).

Here is some text with Automatically add paragraphs box not selected …

Automatically add paragraphs box not ticked

(Automatically add paragraphs box not checked)

Here is some text added to a Text widget with Automatically add paragraphs option ticked …

Automatically add paragraphs option ticked

(Automatically add paragraphs option checked)

***

Step 6 – Refresh your browser.

After adding your text widget and code content, go to the front-end of your site and refresh the web browser. If all links have been entered correctly, then the clickable support button should display at the top of your site’s sidebar menu …

Using A Text Widget To Add A Help Button To Your Sidebar Navigation Area

(Clickable button widget on blog sidebar)

The above screenshot shows the button in the sidebar of a newly-installed WordPress site.

Step 7 – Test the widget.

The last step is to ensure that your links work. Test the button to make sure that visitors will go to your help page when they click on the graphic image. If you are taken directly to your support page, then your text widget has been set up correctly …

Test your text widget

(Test the text widget)

Useful Tip

Text Widgets – Useful Tips:

If you would like a new window to open up when visitors click on your support button (so they don’t leave the page they’re in), then change the text widget code from this:

Add A Support Button To Your Sidebar Menu Using A Text Widget

To this (i.e. include the part that says: target=”_blank” in the html code):

Using A Text Widget To Add A Clickable Help Button To Your Sidebar Section - open in new window

When inserting images into your sidebar menu, make sure that the width of your image doesn’t exceed the width of your sidebar column, especially if you are using a non-responsive WordPress theme. Note that some themes may display different column widths depending on their templates and layout. Some sidebars may be too wide or too narrow. If your theme’s sidebar is narrower than the width of your graphic images, then you may need to either adjust the image size, or the column width to make images display correctly on your sidebar section.

Make sure that the image width does not exceed the width of the sidebar column

(Make sure the image width does not exceed the sidebar column width)

Extra Tips:

  • If you don’t want the button image to be centered inside your sidebar, delete the <center> and </center> tags from the beginning and end of the line of code. The image will then be left-aligned.
  • Link the contact button to any destination you want (e.g. to an external link, helpdesk, FAQ page, etc.) and change this anytime by replacing the links inside your widget.

How To Add And Configure WordPress Widgets On The Sidebar

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This is the end of part 2 of this tutorial.

To view the rest of this tutorial, click this link:

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"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group