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 WordPress Widgets To The Sidebar MenuIn Part 1 of this tutorial series, we explained how to use widgets in WordPress and in Part 2, you learned how to configure text widgets.

In this tutorial we will continue configuring other sidebar widgets.

Adding Post Categories

Now that you know how to set up a text widget containing a clickable help button, let’s configure a widget for displaying Categories on your sidebar.

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

Categories Widget

(WordPress Post Categories widget)


Before adding a Categories widget to the sidebar, you should first configure your Categoriesfeature inside the dashboard …

WordPress Categories Screen

(WordPress Categories)

Note: We plan to provide a tutorial if you need help on how to set up post categories.

Let’s configure your categories settings as shown below:

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

Configuring a WordPress Categories Widget

(Categories widget settings)

Click Visit Site or reload the page to see how your content will look to visitors …

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar navigation menu

(WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar)



  • 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, 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 To The Sidebar

The Recent Posts widget normally shows in your sidebar navigation area by default. All you need to do is configure the widget.

Click on your Recent Posts widget title bar to configure its settings …

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There’s really very little to configure. You can add a title if you want, select the number of posts to display and display post dates. If you want to use the default Number of posts to show setting, then just leave the widget as is, otherwise change the number of posts and click Save when done …

Recent Posts WordPress widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

The number of posts you’ve specified will be listed on the sidebar navigation menu …

Recent Posts widget on sidebar

(Recent Posts widget added to sidebar)

For a tutorial on how to create and edit a WordPress Post, go here: How To Create A WordPress Post

Add A Pages Widget

Next, we’ll add a widget to your sidebar for listing pages.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your active widget section …

Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar

(Adding a Pages widget to your sidebar menu)

The Pages widget allows you to configure the following options:

  • Title: Add a title to the widget (e.g. “Site 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 appearing on your sidebar (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 one of the other options, then select a different method from the Sort by: drop-down menu …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - sort options

(Pages Widget settings – sorting options)

To exclude certain pages from displaying in your widget, just enter the Page Ids for the pages you want excluded separated by commas into the Exclude field of the widget …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – excluding pages)

We provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to find a page ID in WordPress here: How To Find The ID Of A Page Or Post In A WP Site

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

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

WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(Pages Widget on sidebar)

Useful Tip

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

Add Links To The Blog Sidebar

Next, let’s add a Links widget to your sidebar.

Before adding the Links widget to the sidebar navigation menu, we first recommend setting up the Links feature inside your WordPress dashboard …

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links screen)

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

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

Links Widget

(WordPress Links Widget)

Drag the Links widget to your active area …

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 navigation menu …

Links Widget Settings

(Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to your 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 The Sidebar Navigation 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 …

WordPress 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 …

Links added to WordPress sidebar navigation section

(External links added to sidebar area)

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 lists of links to the sidebar.

How To Add Widgets To Your WordPress Sidebar


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

Click on this link to keep reading:


"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum