In this section you will configure various widgets in WordPress.
In a default WordPress installation, your site comes with a number of preinstalled widgets that can be used out of the box with minimal to no configuration required, such as widgets that let you display links to your pages, recent posts, text or HTML banners, adding a search box, etc.
(In a default WordPress installation, your site comes with a number of pre-installed widgets)
Adding Sidebar Widgets In WordPress: Step-By-Step Tutorial
In this step-by-step tutorial series, you will learn how to add, configure and reorder various widgets, including:
- Adding a Help graphic linking visitors to your contact page.
- Adding a Categories section with a drop down menu.
- Adding a Recent Posts section to display your latest posts.
- Adding a list of your site’s Pages.
- Display a list of useful Links on the sidebar area.
- Displaying newsfeeds with an RSS Feed section.
- Adding tag links using a Tag Cloud.
- Add and configure an Archives section to your sidebar.
To use widgets, access the Widgets area located inside your admin by going to Appearance > Widgets …
This loads the Widgets section in your browser …
Let’s get started …
Text widgets are versatile …
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 can be used to add quotes, ads, forms 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!)
Example: Add A Contact Button To The Sidebar Navigation Menu Using A Text Widget
For this example, we’ll set up a clickable help button on the sidebar menu that takes 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, you will need to create or source a “help button” graphic image that your visitors can click on …
We’ll set up the clickable Help button to display at the top of the sidebar like in the example shown below …
Step 1 – Upload your image.
To display the image on your site, the image must be uploaded to your server. Upload your button image to the images folder in your server and note the address of your image location.
You will need this information in Step 3.
For someone to go to your contact page when the graphic button is clicked, you will need to 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 – Create a contact page.
Create a contact page on your site and note its URL …
Step 3 – Create the HTML code for your text widget.
Don’t worry … this sounds a lot more technical than it is. In simple terms, you just need to create the instructions for your clickable image.
Your code can be typed in a plain text editor and should look something like this …
- 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 above with the URL of your image location.
The image below shows the sections of the above sample code that you need to replace with the actual contact details …
Replace the above URLs and then copy the above code to your clipboard when finished.
If you need help with basic HTML code, refer to this tutorial:
Go back into your Widgets panel …
Step 4 – Add a Text widget.
Add a Text widget to your sidebar where you want your support button to display.
In the Available Widgets area, find a Text widget …
(WordPress text widget)
Drag your Text widget to the Active Widgets section and release it at the 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 links to your contact page and graphic button into the text widget content area and click the save button …
Add a title section to the widget if you want (e.g. “Need Help?”, “Get Support”, etc.) and paste the code with the correct URLs into the large text box, then click the save button …
Note: Make sure to check all URLs before pasting scripts into the Text Widget, or your button won’t work.
*** If using WordPress version pre-4.8 ***
If adding text without formatting tags, 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 type in formatted content like we’re doing in this tutorial).
Here is some text added to a Text widget with Automatically add paragraphs option not selected …
(Automatically add paragraphs option not checked)
Here is some text added to a Text widget with Automatically add paragraphs box selected …
(Automatically add paragraphs box selected)
Step 6 – Refresh your web browser.
Once you have added the text widget and code, go to 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 the button added to a brand new WordPress site.
Step 7 – Test your button.
The final step is to make sure that the destination link works. Test this by clicking the button. If you are taken directly to the contact page, then everything has been set up correctly …
(Test the clickable button)
Text Widgets – Useful Tips:
If you would like the contact page to open inside a new window when visitors click on the help (so they don’t leave the page they’re on), then change the button code from this:
To this (i.e. insert the section that says: target=”_blank” in your code):
When choosing images to add to your sidebar navigation area, make sure that the width of the image doesn’t exceed the width of the sidebar column, especially if you are using a non-responsive WordPress theme. As mentioned earlier, some themes may display different column widths depending on their templates and layout. Some sidebars are wide and some are narrow. If the sidebar of your theme is narrower than the width of your graphic images, then you may have to either adjust the graphic size, or the width of your sidebar column to make the images display correctly on your sidebar area.
(Adjust column width or reduce image size)
- If you don’t want to center the image inside your sidebar, delete the <center> and </center> tags from the beginning and end of the HTML code. The image will then be aligned to its default settings (normally left-aligned).
- You can link your help button to any URL you like (e.g. to an external link, contact form, forum, etc.) and change this anytime by editing the content inside the text widget.
This is the end of part two of this tutorial series on how to use Widgets.
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