In this section you are going to configure a number of commonly-used WordPress widgets.
Sidebar Widget Configuration
By default, your site comes with a number of pre-installed widgets, such as widgets that let you display links to your pages, recent posts, RSS feed content, add tag clouds, etc.
(By default, your site comes with a number of preinstalled widgets)
Configuring Frequently-Used Widgets On Your Sidebar Menu: Step-By-Step Tutorial
In this step-by-step tutorial, we will add, configure and reorder various commonly-used widgets, including:
- Adding a clickable Support button linking visitors to the help page.
- Add a Categories section.
- Add a Recent Posts section to display your latest posts.
- Add a list of Pages.
- Display Links on your sidebar area.
- Display news items using an RSS Feed section.
- Add a Tag Cloud section.
- Adding and configuring an Archives section to your sidebar section.
The Widgets section is located in your WordPress dashboard and can be accessed by going to Appearance > Widgets …
This brings up the Widgets panel in your browser window …
Let’s get started …
Add A Text Widget To The Blog Sidebar Area
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 lets you insert just about anything you want into your sidebar or other widget sections, such as policies, social media buttons, tips and more to your site … just by typing in text or inserting HTML into the content area. You can also give the widget a title. Remember to save your settings …
(A text widget is versatile!)
Example: Using A Text Widget To Add A Clickable Help Button To The Sidebar Menu
For this example, we’ll set up a support button on the sidebar menu 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, you will need to create or source a “help button” graphic image that visitors can click on …
We’ll set up a 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 clickable image on your site, first you must upload the button image to your server’s images folder and note down the URL pointing to your image location.
For example …
You will use this information in Step 3.
In order for someone to go to your contact page when they click on the help button, you must either create a contact page, or have an existing destination page already set up (e.g. a helpdesk). We will then link your button image to this URL in Step 3 …
Step 2 – Add the destination page.
Create a contact page on your site and note the page URL …
Step 3 – Compose the HTML code for your text widget.
If you’re not a technical-minded person, don’t worry … this sounds a lot more technical than it is. Basically, you just need to create the instructions for your clickable button.
Your code can be typed into a simple text file and should look something like this …
- Replace “http://www.yourdomain.com/contact-us” in the code above with the URL of your contact page location.
- Replace “http://yourimagelocation.com/img/supportbutton.jpg” in the code with the URL of your image location.
The image below shows which sections of the above code you need to replace with the actual contact page and image URLs …
Replace the above URLs and then copy all of the above code to your clipboard when finished.
If you need help figuring out basic HTML code, refer to this tutorial:
Now, go back to your Widgets area …
Step 4 – Add a Text widget.
Add a Text widget to your sidebar where you would like the clickable button to display.
In the Available Widgets area, select the Text widget …
(WordPress text widget)
Drag the Text widget to your 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 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 your text widget content area and click save …
Add a title section to the widget if you want (e.g. “Need Help?”, “Support”, etc.) and paste the code with the correct URLs into the Content box, then click the save button …
Note: Remember to check all 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 without formatting tags like paragraph breaks, 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’re typing in code like we’re doing in this tutorial).
Here is some text added to a Text widget with Automatically add paragraphs box not selected …
(Automatically add paragraphs option not ticked)
Here is some text with Automatically add paragraphs option checked …
(Automatically add paragraphs option checked)
Step 6 – Refresh the browser.
After adding the widget and HTML content, visit the front end of your site and refresh your web browser. If all links have been entered correctly, then the support button will display at the top of your site’s sidebar menu …
(Clickable support button widget on sidebar)
The above screenshot shows the contact button added to a newly-installed WordPress site.
Step 7 – Test the widget.
The final step is to ensure that your destination link works. Test this by clicking the button. You should be taken directly to the contact page …
(Test the text widget)
If you want the contact page to open in 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 part that says: target=”_blank” in the text widget code):
When adding images to your sidebar navigation section, 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 layout. Some sidebars are wide and some are narrow. If your theme’s sidebar width is narrower than the width of the button images, then you may have to either adjust the size of your images, or the column width to make elements display correctly on your sidebar.
(Make sure that the image width does not exceed the width of the sidebar column)
- If you don’t want your button image to be centered inside the sidebar, delete the <center> and </center> tags from the beginning and end of the HTML code. The image will then align to the left.
- You can link your contact button to any URL you like (e.g. to an external site, helpdesk, forum, etc.) and change this anytime by editing the links inside the text widget.
This is the end of part two of this tutorial.
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