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

How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 2

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

In this section you will learn how to configure various frequently-used WordPress sidebar widgets.

How To Configure Commonly-Used WordPress Sidebar Widgets

By default, your site comes with a number of preinstalled widgets that can be used out of the box with little to no configuration required, such as widgets that let you display links to your site’s pages, recent posts, newsfeeds, add tag clouds, etc.

(In a default WordPress installation, your site comes with a number of preinstalled widgets)

Adding Sidebar Widgets In WordPress: Tutorial

In this step-by-step tutorial series, we will add, configure and reorder a number of frequently-used widgets, including:

The Widgets section is located inside the dashboard area by going to Appearance > Widgets

(Widgets Menu)

This brings you to the Widgets area in your browser …

(Widgets Panel)

Let’s start by configuring text widgets …

Adding Text Widgets

Text widgets are quite 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)

Text widgets can be used to add lists of favorite items, images, news and updates and more to your site … just type in text or add HTML into the content area. You can also add an optional title in the Title field. Remember to save your settings when done …

(Text widgets are really useful!)

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

For this example, we’ll set up a help button on the sidebar navigation section that will take 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, create or source a “help button” graphic image that you can use on your own site …

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

Step 1 – Upload your image.

To display the clickable image on your site, first you must upload the image to the images folder in your server and note down the URL pointing to your image location.

For example …


This information will be required in Step 3.

In order for visitors to be taken to your contact page when they click on the support button, 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 image to this URL in Step 3

Step 2 – Create the destination page.

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

Step 3 – Create the 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 button.

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

The image below shows the sections of the above code that you will need to replace with your actual contact page and image URLs …

Replace the above URLs and then copy the above code to your clipboard when finished.

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

Now, go back into your Widgets area …

(Widgets Panel)

Step 4 – Add a Text widget.

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

In the Available Widgets area, select the Text widget …

(Text widget)

Drag the 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 the text widget.

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 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 the save button …

Note: Make sure to check all URLs before pasting scripts into the Text Widget, or your clickable button won’t work.

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

If you’re adding text with no 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 code like we’re using in the example for this tutorial).

Here is some text with Automatically add paragraphs box not ticked …

(Automatically add paragraphs box not ticked)

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

(Automatically add paragraphs box checked)


Step 6 – Refresh the web browser.

After adding the widget and HTML code, visit the front-end of your site and refresh the browser. If all links have been entered correctly, then your clickable support button should display at the top of the sidebar menu …

(Clickable support button widget on blog sidebar)

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

Step 7 – Test your widget.

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

(Test your text widget)

Useful Tips:

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

To this (i.e. include the part containing target=”_blank” in your text widget code):

When inserting images into your sidebar menu, make sure that the width of your image doesn’t exceed the width of your sidebar column, especially if you are using a non-responsive WordPress theme. As mentioned earlier, some themes can display different column widths depending on their templates and layout. Some sidebars may be wider or narrower. If your theme’s sidebar width is narrower than the width of your graphic images, then you may have to either adjust the size of your images, or the column width to make images display correctly on your theme.

(Adjust column width or reduce image size)

Additional Tips:


This is the end of part 2 of this tutorial on using Widgets.

To continue, click here:


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