WordPress For Non-Techies: Free WordPress Tutorials – WPCompendium.org

How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 2

In Part 1 of this tutorial series, we explained the basics of using widgets in WordPress.

In this section you are going to learn how to begin configuring a number of sidebar widgets in WordPress.

Configuring Frequently-Used WordPress Widgets

By default, your site comes with a number of preinstalled widgets, such as widgets for displaying links to your site’s pages, recent posts, text or HTML banners, add tag clouds, etc.

(In a default WordPress installation, your site comes with a number of pre-installed widgets)

Setting Up Widgets On Your Sidebar Navigation Section: Tutorial

In this step-by-step tutorial series, you will add, configure and reorder various commonly-used widgets, including:

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

(WordPress Widgets Menu)

This loads the Widgets section in your web browser …

(Widgets Screen)

Let’s start configuring your sidebar menu widgets …

Adding Text Widgets

Text widgets are incredibly versatile …

(WordPress Text widget)

Rich Text Widget

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

(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)

Text widgets let you insert just about anything you want into your sidebar or other widget sections, such as policies, maps and directions, special promotions 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 really versatile!)

Example: Add A Help Button To Your Sidebar Navigation Section Using A Text Widget

For this example, let’s set up a help button on your sidebar that will take 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 graphic image that visitors can click on …

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

Step 1 – Upload your image.

To display an image on your site, the image must be uploaded to your server. Upload the button image to a folder on your server and note the address of your image location.

For example …

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

This information will be required in Step 3.

For visitors to be taken to the contact page when the help button is clicked, either create a contact page, or have an existing destination page already set up (e.g. a helpdesk). We will then link the button image to this URL in Step 3

Step 2 – Add your support page.

Create a contact page and note its URL …

Step 3 – Create your text widget code.

Don’t worry … this sounds a lot more technical than it is. Basically, we just need to create the instructions linking the graphic image to the contact page.

Your code can be composed in a plain text editor and will look something like this …

The screenshot below shows which sections of the above code you need to replace with your actual web addresses …

Replace the above URLs and then copy all of your text file content to your clipboard when finished.

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

Go back into your Widgets screen …

(Widgets Screen)

Step 4 – Add a Text widget.

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

In the Available Widgets area, find the Text widget …

(WordPress text widget)

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

(Drag-and-drop your Text widget)

Step 5 – Configure your text widget settings.

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

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

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

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

If you’re adding text without formatting tags like paragraph breaks, you may want to tick the Automatically add paragraphs box to wrap each block of text in paragraphs (note: this is not necessary if you’re pasting in HTML code like we’re using in the example for this tutorial).

Here is some text added to a Text widget with Automatically add paragraphs box not selected …

(Automatically add paragraphs option not selected)

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

(Automatically add paragraphs box ticked)

***

Step 6 – Refresh your browser.

After adding your widget and formatted content, go to the front-end of your site and refresh the web browser. If you have entered all of the links correctly, then your support button should display in the site’s sidebar menu …

(Clickable support button widget on sidebar)

The above screenshot shows a clickable button added to a newly-installed WordPress site.

Step 7 – Test your button.

The last step is to ensure that the destination link works. Test this by clicking on the button. If you are taken to the support page, then your text widget has been set up correctly …

(Test the text widget to ensure you’ve set everything up correctly)

Text Widgets – Useful Tips:

If you want your support page to display inside a new window when visitors click on the help (so they don’t leave the page they’re on), then change the text widget code from this:

To this (i.e. add the section containing target=”_blank” in the code):

When adding images to your sidebar menu, make sure that the width of your image does not exceed the width of your sidebar column, especially if you are using a non-responsive WordPress theme. Note that some themes may display elements differently depending on their templates and their layout. Some sidebars may be too wide or too narrow. If the sidebar of your theme is narrower than the width of the button images, then you may need to either adjust the size of your images, or the width of your sidebar column to make graphics display correctly on your sidebar section.

(Adjust column width or reduce image size)

Additional Tips:

***

This is the end of section 2 of this series of tutorials.

Click on this link to continue:

***

"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill, DailyGreenPost.com

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