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

How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 2

In Part One of this tutorial, we cover the basics of how to use widgets in WordPress.

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

Configuring Frequently-Used WordPress Widgets

In a default WordPress installation, your site comes with a number of built-in active widgets, such as widgets that let you display links to your pages, recent posts, newsfeeds, filter content by tags, etc.

(By default, 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:

The Widgets section can be easily accessed inside the WP administration by going to Appearance > Widgets

(WordPress Widgets Menu)

This brings up the Widgets panel in your web browser …

(Widgets Area)

Let’s get started …

Add A Text Widget

Text widgets are incredibly useful …

(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)

A text widget can be used to add events, maps and directions, scripts and more to your site … just by typing in text or adding HTML into the content area. You can also give the widget a title. Remember to save your settings when done …

(A text widget is really useful!)

Example: Add A Clickable Support Button To Your Sidebar Area Using A Text Widget

For this example, we’ll set up a clickable help button on the 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, you will need to create or source a “help button” graphic image that visitors can click on …

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

Step 1 – Upload your image.

Upload the button image to your server’s images folder and write down the URL pointing to your server’s image location.

For example …

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

You will need this information in Step 3.

For someone to be taken to your contact page when the support button gets 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 link your button graphic to this URL in Step 3

Step 2 – Create the contact page.

Create a contact page on your site and note down its URL …

Step 3 – Create your text widget code.

Don’t worry … this sounds a lot more technical than it is. In simple terms, you just need to create the instructions linking your graphic image to your destination URL.

Your instructions can be typed into a simple text editor and should look something like this …

The screenshot below shows which sections of the above sample code you will 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 with basic HTML code, see this tutorial:

Now, go back to your Widgets area …

(Widgets Screen)

Step 4 – Add a Text widget.

Add a Text widget to your sidebar in the location where the support button should display.

In the Available Widgets area, find a Text widget …

(WordPress text widget)

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

(Dragging and dropping your Text widget)

Step 5 – Configure your widget settings.

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

Note: Remember to check your contact page and button image URLs before pasting scripts into the Text Widget, or the button won’t 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: not required if you paste in HTML content 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 box checked …

(Automatically add paragraphs box selected)

***

Step 6 – Refresh the web browser.

Once you have added your text widget and HTML code, visit the front end of your site and refresh the browser. If you have entered all of the links correctly, then the support button should display in the sidebar menu …

(Clickable support button widget on sidebar)

The screenshot above shows the support contact button in the sidebar menu of a brand new WordPress site.

Step 7 – Test the button.

The last step is to make sure that your destination URL works. Test this by clicking on the button. You should be taken directly to your support page …

(Test the clickable button to ensure it works)

Tips:

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

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

When adding images to your sidebar navigation section, make sure that the width of the image does not exceed the width of your sidebar column, especially if you are using a non-responsive WordPress theme. As we’ve previously mentioned, 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 graphic image, then you may have to either adjust the size of your images, or the width of your sidebar column to make graphics display correctly on your sidebar area.

(Adjust column width or reduce image size)

Extra Tips:

***

This is the end of part two of this tutorial series about how to use Widgets.

To continue, click here:

***

"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now

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