WordPress Widgets – A Practical Guide For Non-Techies

Widgets are one of the main basic buiding blocks of WordPress and one of its most powerful and versatile features …

WordPress Widgets – A Practical Guide For Non-Techies

WordPress Widgets - A Practical Guide For Non-Techies

Widgets are one of the main basic buiding blocks of WordPress and one of its most powerful and versatile features.

This section provides detailed step-by-step tutorials for non-techies that explain what widgets are and provide practical examples of using widgets to enhance your website, display different types of content, add new functionality to your header and footer sections, sidebar menus, and much more!

Click on one of the tutorials below to get started:

WordPress

WordPress Widgets Explained

This tutorial explains what WordPress widgets are, how widgets work, and how widgets can help you customize and extend the functionality of your website or blog ...
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How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets

Learn how to use and configure WordPress widgets on your sidebar. This tutorial explains the basic concepts of using Widgets to extend the functionality of your website and provides an overview of the Widgets area ...
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How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 2

Learn how to add, configure, and use text widgets on your WordPress sidebar ...
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{{How To Use|Using} {Widgets|WordPress Widgets|Widgets In WordPress}|How To {Add Widgets To|Add And Configure Widgets In} {{Your|The} {WordPress|WordPress Blog} {Sidebar|Sidebar {Menu|Area|Section}}|WordPress}|How To {Add WordPress Widgets To|Add And Configure WordPress Widgets In} {Your|The} {Sidebar|{Sidebar|Sidebar Navigation} {Menu|Area|Section}|Website|Blog|Site}|{{Adding WordPress Widgets To|Adding And Configuring WordPress Widgets In} {Your|The} {Sidebar|{Sidebar|Sidebar Navigation} {Menu|Area|Section}|Website|Blog|Site}}|{{Adding Widgets To|Configuring Widgets On|Adding And Configuring Widgets On} {Your|Your WordPress|The|The WordPress}|{{Adding|How To Add} {Widgets|WordPress Widgets} To|{Configuring|How To Configure} {Widgets|WordPress Widgets} On|{Adding And Configuring|How To Add And Configure} {Widgets|WordPress Widgets} On} {Your|Your Blog|The|The Blog|Your WordPress Blog|The WordPress Blog}} {{Sidebar|Sidebar Navigation} {Menu|Area|Section}|Sidebar}}

How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 3

Learn how to add and configure a number of useful widgets on your WordPress sidebar ...
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{{How To Use|Using} {Widgets|WordPress Widgets|Widgets In WordPress}|How To {Add Widgets To|Add And Configure Widgets In} {{Your|The} {WordPress|WordPress Blog} {Sidebar|Sidebar {Menu|Area|Section}}|WordPress}|How To {Add WordPress Widgets To|Add And Configure WordPress Widgets In} {Your|The} {Sidebar|{Sidebar|Sidebar Navigation} {Menu|Area|Section}|Website|Blog|Site}|{{Adding WordPress Widgets To|Adding And Configuring WordPress Widgets In} {Your|The} {Sidebar|{Sidebar|Sidebar Navigation} {Menu|Area|Section}|Website|Blog|Site}}|{{Adding Widgets To|Configuring Widgets On|Adding And Configuring Widgets On} {Your|Your WordPress|The|The WordPress}|{{Adding|How To Add} {Widgets|WordPress Widgets} To|{Configuring|How To Configure} {Widgets|WordPress Widgets} On|{Adding And Configuring|How To Add And Configure} {Widgets|WordPress Widgets} On} {Your|Your Blog|The|The Blog|Your WordPress Blog|The WordPress Blog}} {{Sidebar|Sidebar Navigation} {Menu|Area|Section}|Sidebar}}

How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 4

Learn how to add and configure various useful WordPress widgets on your sidebar and how to create custom sidebar widgets ...
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"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum

How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 4

Learn how to add and configure various useful WordPress widgets on your sidebar and how to create custom sidebar widgets …

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

In Part Three, we began configuring a number of commonly-used widgets in WordPress.

In this final section, you are going to conclude this tutorial by configuring a few more frequently-used WordPress widgets.

Useful Information

In WordPress v. 4.8, WordPress introduced new media widgets covering images, audio, and video, and an updated text widget that supports visual editing

WordPress 4.8 - WordPress Widget Updates

(WordPress 4.8 introduced new widget updates)

These widgets let you add content from your media library and media stored in other servers or storage locations (e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, etc.).

Let’s go through how to configure and use each of these widgets:

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

(Format text easily with the new text widget)

To learn more about using text widgets in WordPress, see the tutorial below:

WordPress Image Widget

The WordPress Image Widget lets you add an image to your sidebar from your Media Library or an external storage location.

To add an image, drag an image widget to your active widgets area …

Image Widget

(Image Widget)

Click on ‘Add Image’ …

Let's add an image!

(Let’s add an image!)

Select an image from the Image Library, check or add image details (e.g. Caption, Alt text, Description, etc.) if desired and click the ‘Add to Widget’ button …

Select an image

(Select an image)

The image will automatically load into the widget area …

Image added to widget

(Image added to widget)

Add a Title to your image if you want, or leave the ‘Title:’ field blank and click ‘Save’ …

Save your image

(Save your image)

Preview your website and you should see the image displayed where you have placed your image widget …

Image added to website using image widget

(Image added to website using WordPress image widget)

If you want to link your image to an URL, go back to your image widget and click on ‘Edit Image’ …

Image Widget - Edit Image

(Image Widget – Edit Image)

Add a URL in the ‘Image Details’ > ‘Display Settings’ > ‘Link To’ screen and click the ‘Update’ button …

Link your image to an URL

(Link your image to an URL)

To add an image stored in an external server or remote location, locate and copy the URL of the image to your clipboard …

Copy image URL to your clipboard

(Copy image URL to your clipboard)

Go back to your image widget and click on ‘Replace Image’ …

Image Widget - Replace image

(Image Widget – Replace image)

The Media Library browser opens. Click on ‘Insert from URL’ and paste in the image URL copied to your clipboard, then click on ‘Add to Widget’  …

Add image URL

(Add image URL)

If you have previously added an image title in your widget, remember to replace it if required, then click ‘Save’ …

Save your new image

(Save your new image)

The new image will now display on your sidebar …

New image added using WordPress image widget

(New image added using WordPress image widget)

To learn more about adding images to WordPress, see this tutorial:

WordPress Video Widget

The WordPress Video Widget lets you add audio files to your sidebar from your Media Library, YouTube, Vimeo, or an external storage location.

To add a video to the sidebar, drag a Video widget to your active widgets area …

Drag a Video widget to your sidebar

(Drag a Video widget to your sidebar)

Click the ‘Add Video’ button …

Video widget - Add Video

(Video widget – Add Video)

Select a video from your media library or add a video URL and click the ‘Add to Widget’ button …

Add a video URL

(Add a video URL)

Add a title to the widget if desired and click ‘Save’ …

WordPress Video Widget - Save Button

(WordPress Video Widget – Save Button)

Your video will display on your site where the video widget has been added …

Video added using WordPress video widget

(Video added using WordPress video widget)

To learn more about adding video to WordPress, see this tutorial:

WordPress Audio Widget

The WordPress Audio Widget lets you add audio files like podcasts, music or a personal greeting to your sidebar from your media library or an external storage location.

To add an audio file to your sidebar, drag an audio widget to your active widgets area …

Add an audio widget to your sidebar

(Add an audio widget to your sidebar)

Click the ‘Add Audio’ button…

WordPress Audio Widget - Add Audio button

(WordPress Audio Widget – Add Audio button)

Select an audio file from your media library or insert the URL of an audio file stored in an external location …

Select your audio file

(Select your audio file)

Add a title to your widget if desired and click the ‘Save’ button …

Save the audio file on your audio widget

(Save the audio file on your audio widget)

Your site will now display an audio file to visitors where you have placed the audio widget …

Audio file added to your site using the WordPress Audio Widget

(Audio file added to your site using the WordPress Audio Widget)

To learn more about adding audios to WordPress, see this tutorial:

Adding An RSS Widget To The Sidebar Area

Let’s add a widget to the sidebar that displays news items from RSS feeds.

To add the widget, find an RSS widget in the Available Widgets section and drag it to your sidebar area …

RSS Widget

(WordPress RSS Widget)

Enter the following information into the widget settings:

  1. RSS feed URL: Enter the RSS feed URL here.
  2. Feed Title: If you would like to add a title to your feed, enter it here.
  3. Items to display: Choose the number of feed items you want to show on the sidebar from the drop-down menu.
  4. Display item content: Tick this box if you would like to display the item content.
  5. Display item author: Check this box if you want to show the feed item item author.
  6. Display item date: Tick this box to display the feed item item date.

WordPress RSS Widget settings

(RSS Widget settings)

Experiment with different settings to find the combination that best works for you.

The example below shows an RSS widget configured using the settings shown above …

RSS Widget on blog sidebar

(WordPress RSS Widget displayed on blog sidebar)

The screenshot below shows a published RSS widget configured with other options selected …

WordPress RSS Widget settings

(WordPress RSS Widget settings)

To learn more about using RSS feeds in WordPress, see this tutorial:

Add A Tag Cloud To Your Sidebar

Now, let’s add a widget to display a list of tags on the sidebar.

Important Info

Tags displayed in the widget are managed in the Tags panel …

Tags area

(WordPress Tags screen)

To insert the widget, select a Tag Cloud widget in the Available Widgets section and drag it to the sidebar area …

Tag Cloud Widget

(Tag Cloud Widget)

There is really very little to set up. You can add a widget title, and choose whether to display items in the tag cloud using Tags or Categories. Click Save when done …

Tag Cloud Widget settings

(Tag Cloud Widget settings)

Your Tag cloud will now display on the sidebar menu …

Tag Cloud widget displaying WordPress tags

(Tag Cloud widget set to display post tags)

The screenshot below shows an Tag Cloud widget configured for showing Categories instead of Tags

Tag Cloud widget displaying post categories

(Tag Cloud widget displaying WordPress categories)

To learn more about using post tags in WordPress, see this tutorial:

How To Configure Your Archives Widget In The Sidebar Area

To complete this tutorial series, we’ll configure the Archives Widget, which is another common WordPress widget.

As you continue adding new content to WordPress, your older posts begin to move further away from public view. Your posts are still there, it’s just not as visible.

The Archives Widget lets readers view previously published WordPress posts …

WordPress Archives Widget

(Archives Widget)

There is very little to configure. You can add a widget title, and choose whether to display items in the Archives widget as a dropdown menu, and show the number of posts . Click Save when finished …

Archives Widget settings

(WordPress Archives Widget settings)

The example below shows the Archives widget set for displaying posts as a dropdown menu with number of posts checkbox enabled …

WordPress Archives widget displayed on sidebar section

(WordPress Archives Widget on sidebar)

Now that you know how to configure a number of widgets in WordPress, let’s explore some other areas of WordPress widgets.

Useful Widget Tips

Here are some useful features of WordPress widgets:

Add ‘Visibility’ Function To Widgets

Installing the Jetpack plugin not only adds many new widgets to your widgets area …

Jetpack Widgets

(Jetpack Widgets)

It also adds a useful ‘Visibility’ function to all WordPress widgets …

Jetpack adds 'Visibility' to all widgets

(Jetpack adds ‘Visibility’ to all widgets)

This function lets you specify whether to display or hide widgets from your sidebar based on conditions you set for a particular category, author, user. role, tag, date, or page …

Set conditions to show or hide widgets

(Set conditions to show or hide widgets)

This is a really useful function to have.

For example, you can:

  • Display a widget only on your home page or only on posts published under certain categories, tags, authors, dates, etc.
  • Configure widgets to display specific or time-sensitive announcements based on a post’s category, date, etc.
  • Configure widgets to display targeted ad banners based on a post’s category or tag.
  • Hide widgets from appearing on certain posts or pages to prevent users from being distracted (e.g. remove widgets with ads from your sales pages).
  • And more!

To learn more about using the Jetpack plugin, go here:

Overriding Default Sidebar Widgets

If you see widgets displaying on your site’s sidebar section that aren’t listed in the active sidebar in your Appearance > Widgets section, it’s because some themes will display their own default set of widgets unless you add widgets to your sidebar.

For example, the site below shows widgets in the blog sidebar …

Overriding Default Widgets

If you look inside the Widgets section, however, you will find that no widgets have been added to any of the available widget areas …

Override Default Sidebar Widgets

The above theme is using default widgets.

As soon as you add one or more widgets to an active widget area, the placeholder widgets will your selected widgets will be used instead.

Note: If you want no widgets to show up in the sidebar navigation area, either use a theme page template without a widgets section or just add a blank Text widget to your sidebar navigation menu.

Add a blank text widget to a widget area …

Overriding Default Sidebar Widgets

And default widgets won’t show in the sidebar/footer section …

How To Override Default Sidebar Widgets

Widget Accessibility Mode

As we have shown you earlier, with WordPress you can easily and quickly rearrange how content is displayed in areas of your website sidebars, footers and navigation menus with only a few clicks of your mouse, using drag-&-drop …

Rearranging sidebar elements using widgets can help improve visitor experience

(Reorganize sidebar layout with widgets to improve visitor experience)

In the above screenshot, for example, you can see that we have easily rearranged the site’s sidebar area by switching the search and testimonial sections. This is easily done by simply dragging and dropping the widget elements into different positions inside the sidebar widget area.

You can rearrange your sidebar layout using widgets to improve visitor experience.

If, for some reason, you find that you cannot move widgets using drag-and-drop (e.g. using a mobile device that doesn’t support dragging-and-dropping), you can still use widgets if you enable Accessibility Mode.

Enabling Accessibility Mode For Widgets

Enabling Accessibility Mode, via your Screen Options, lets you use Add and Edit buttons instead of dragging and dropping.

To enable Accessibility Mode, log into your WordPress admin area and navigate to Appearance > Widgets

WordPress Widgets Menu

(WordPress Widgets Menu)

Click on Screen Options on the top right hand corner of your screen …

WordPress Widgets - Screen Options

(Widgets – Screen Options)

Click link to enable accessibility mode …

Switch On accessibility mode

(Enable accessibility mode)

Once the feature has been enabled, the widgets in the Available Widgets and the Active Widgets sections, widgets will display an Add and Edit link respectively …

How To Enable Accessibility Mode For Widgets

Click on a Widget’s Add link in the Available Widgets section …

Enable Widget Accessibility Mode

A screen will display the selected widget with options for customizing its settings, selecting a location to add the widget, and dropdown menus that let you specify the position of the widget in the widget area (e.g. position “1”, “3”, “4”, etc.) …

How To Enable Widget Accessibility Mode

Click Save Widget to add the widget to your Active Widgets section, or the Cancel button to go back to your previous screen …

Enabling Widget Accessibility Mode

Click on the Edit link of an active widget …

Enabling Widget Accessibility Mode

A screen displays the selected widget with options for editing its settings.

Click Save Widget to update your settings and return to the Active Widgets screen, or click the Delete button to delete the widget from the Active Widgets section …

Enabling Accessibility Mode For WordPress Widgets

Click on Disable accessibility mode in the Screen Options section to restore the drag-and-drop functionality to your Widgets …

Disable accessibility mode

(Disable accessibility mode)

How To Create Your Own Custom Sidebar Widgets – An Easy Cheat

Most widgets will either be installed by default when you create a new WordPress site, or be automatically added to your Available Widgets section when you install a new plugin on your website.

Here is a simple way to create your own sidebar widget:

First, create a new Post and enter the content that you would like to display on the sidebar…

Creating Your Own Sidebar Widgets

Ensure that any images you use fit the maximum width of your sidebar navigation area. Also, keep in mind that you don’t have a lot of room to put content on your blog sidebar, so try and keep your information concise.

Also, don’t worry about publishing your Post – all we are really after is the content so we can paste it into your widget.

Once you have created your content in the WordPress editor, click on the Text tab …

How To Create Your Own Custom Sidebar Widgets

Select everything inside the editor window and copy it to your clipboard…

Creating Your Own Custom Sidebar Widgets

Next, go into your Widgets Screen.

Insert a new Text widget into your sidebar, paste the content from your clipboard into the content field and click Save

How To Create Your Own Sidebar Widgets

Your new custom widget is now added to the sidebar…

How To Create Your Own Custom Sidebar Widgets

(Create your own sidebar widgets)

Congratulations! Now you know how to use and configure a number of sidebar widgets.

How To Add Widgets To WordPress

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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 Your Sidebar Navigation MenuIn Part 1 of this step-by-step tutorial, we explained how to use WordPress widgets and in Part Two, we explained how to configure text widgets.

In this section we will continue configuring other WordPress widgets.

How To Add A Post Categories Section

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

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

Categories Widget

(Post Categories widget)

Practical Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to the sidebar, we recommend configuring your categories inside the dashboard …

WordPress Categories

(WordPress Categories)

Note: We plan to provide tutorials on how to set up post categories.

Configure your categories widget settings as described 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). Leave the box unticked if you want a list of all categories to display on your sidebar area. (2)
  • Leave the default settings for the remaining options, or see the additional notes on configuring this widget below.
  • Click Save when finished …

Categories Widget settings

(Categories widget settings)

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

Categories widget added to sidebar

(Categories widget added to sidebar navigation menu)

Tip

Tips:

  • 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 box unchecked.
  • 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 A Recent Posts Section To Your Sidebar

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

Click on the Recent Posts title bar to configure its settings …

Recent Posts widget

(Recent Posts WordPress widget)

There’s not much to set up. You can add a widget title, select the number of posts to display and display post dates. If you’re happy 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 widget settings)

The most recent number of posts you’ve specified will appear on your sidebar …

Recent Posts WordPress widget added to sidebar navigation area

(Recent Posts widget displayed on sidebar)

A step-by-step tutorial is provided on creating and editing a WordPress Post here: How To Create A WordPress Post

Add A Pages Widget To Your Blog Sidebar Section

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

(WordPress Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your widget section …

Dragging and dropping a Pages widget into the sidebar

(Adding a Pages widget to your sidebar section)

The Pages widget lets you configure the following settings:

  • Title: Add a title to display above your links (e.g. “Site Information“) (1)
  • Sort by: Sort how your pages display: by title (i.e. alphabetically), by page order, or by page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Hide pages on the sidebar navigation section (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 select a different method in the Sort by: drop-down menu …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - sort options

(Pages Widget settings – sort options)

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

WordPress Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – excluding pages)

To learn how to find a WordPress post or page ID, see this step-by-step tutorial: How To Locate Page And Post IDs In WordPress

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

Links to the site’s pages will now appear in the sidebar …

Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on sidebar)

Useful Tip

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

Display Links On Your Sidebar

Now, we’ll add a widget to display external links on your sidebar.

Before adding the Links widget to your sidebar, you should first configure the Links feature inside your WordPress dashboard …

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links section)

Note: We plan to provide a separate tutorial if you need help on how to set up and use the WordPress Links feature.

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

Links Widget

(Links Widget)

Drag the widget 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 your sidebar …

WordPress Links Widget Settings

(Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to the sidebar navigation area 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

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To The Sidebar Section)

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 your Links Widget, click the Save button. Your widget will become immediately visible on your site …

Links added to WordPress sidebar

(External links added to WordPress sidebar menu)

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 menu.

Adding WordPress Widgets To The Blog

***

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

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

***

"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