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

How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 2

In Part 1 of this step-by-step tutorial series, we cover the basics of using WordPress widgets.

In this tutorial you will learn how to configure various commonly-used sidebar widgets in WordPress.

Configuring Sidebar Widgets

In a default WordPress installation, your site comes with several built-in 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, RSS feed content, adding search features, etc.

(By default, your site comes with several pre-installed widgets)

How To Set Up Frequently-Used Widgets On The WordPress Sidebar Navigation Section: Step-By-Step Tutorial

In this step-by-step tutorial series, you are going to learn how to add, configure and reorder various commonly-used widgets, including:

The Widgets section is located inside your WordPress administration area and can easily be accessed from the WP administration menu by clicking on Appearance > Widgets

(WordPress Widgets Menu)

This brings you to the Widgets screen in your browser window …

(Widgets Panel)

Let’s start by configuring WordPress text widgets …

Add A Text Widget

Text widgets are incredibly versatile …

(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 lets you insert just about anything you want into the sidebar or other widget sections, such as quotes, images, messages and more to your site … just by typing in text or pasting HTML into the content area. You can also give the widget a title. Remember to save your settings when done …

(Text widgets are very useful!)

Example: Add A Contact Button To The Sidebar Menu Using A Text Widget

For this example, we’ll set up a support button on your sidebar that takes 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 you will want your your visitors to click on …

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

Step 1 – Upload your image.

To display the clickable image on your site, the button image must be uploaded to your server. Upload your image to the images folder in your server and write down the URL pointing to your image location.

E.g. …

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

This information will be required in Step 3.

For someone to go to your contact page when the support button gets clicked, you must 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 – Add your destination page.

Create a contact page and note the page 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 for your clickable button.

Your code can be composed in a simple text file and should look something like this …

The screenshot below shows the sections of the above code that you need to replace with the 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:

Now, go back into your Widgets panel …

(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, select the Text widget …

(Text widget)

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

(Drag and drop your WordPress text widget)

Step 5 – Configure the text widget settings.

Click on the Text widget title bar to configure its options. 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 links into the Content box, then click the save button …

Note: Remember to test your contact page and image links 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 paragraphs (note: not required if you paste in formatted HTML content like we’re doing in this tutorial).

Here is some text with Automatically add paragraphs option unchecked …

(Automatically add paragraphs option not ticked)

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

(Automatically add paragraphs box checked)

***

Step 6 – Refresh your browser.

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

(Clickable button widget on blog sidebar)

The screenshot above shows the support button added to a brand new WordPress site.

Step 7 – Test your widget.

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

(Test your text widget to make sure you’ve set up everything correctly)

Useful Tips:

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

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

When choosing images to add to your sidebar navigation area, make sure that the width of the image does not exceed the width of the sidebar column, especially if you are using a non-responsive WordPress theme. Note that some themes can display elements differently 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 the 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 sidebar section.

(Adjust column width or reduce image size)

Additional Tips:

***

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

To view the rest of this tutorial, click here:

***

"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum

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