How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 3

Learn how to add and configure a number of useful widgets on your WordPress sidebar …

How To Add Widgets To WordPressIn Part 1 of this step-by-step tutorial series, we explained how to use WordPress widgets and in Part Two, you learned how to configure text widgets.

In this tutorial you are going to configure other commonly-used sidebar widgets.

Add A Post Categories Section

Now that you have configure a text widget containing a clickable support button, let’s configure a widget to display your Post Categories.

The Categories widget already displays on the sidebar menu by default. All you have to do, therefore, is place this widget wherever you want your post categories to display by clicking and dragging it on the sidebar widget area …

WordPress Categories Widget

(Post Categories widget)

Useful Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to your sidebar, we recommend setting up your categories first …


(WordPress Post Categories)

Note: We are currently putting together tutorials on setting up and using WordPress categories.

Let’s configure the Categories settings for this widget as shown below:

  • In Title: type something that will make sense to your visitors, for example, “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • If you have too many categories, check Display as dropdown (this significantly reduces the size of your widget content by displaying all categories inside a drop-down menu). Leave the box unticked if you want a list of all categories to display on your sidebar navigation area. (2)
  • Leave the default settings for the remaining options, or see the additional notes on configuring the Categories widget below.
  • Click Save to update your settings …

Configuring a WordPress Categories Widget

(Categories widget settings)

Click Visit Site or reload your page to see how the Categories widget will display to visitors …

Categories widget added to sidebar

(Categories widget added to sidebar menu)

Practical Tip


  • Change the default Uncategorized post category to something more meaningful.
  • If you use nested categories on your site, you may want to check the Show hierarchy option, otherwise leave this box unticked.
  • To display the number of posts published in each category, enable the Show post counts check box …

Category widget options - Post Count Enabled vs Post Count Disabled

(Category widget options – Post Count Enabled vs Post Count Disabled)

Add Recent Posts

The Recent Posts widget displays in your sidebar navigation section by default. All you need to do is configure this widget.

Click on the title bar to configure its settings …

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There is really very little to set up in this widget. You can add a title if you want, select the number of posts to display and display post dates. If you want to use the default Number of posts to show setting, then just leave the widget as is, otherwise change the number of posts and click Save when done …

Recent Posts WordPress widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

The most recent number of posts you have specified will be listed on the sidebar …

Recent Posts widget added to blog sidebar

(Recent Posts widget added to blog sidebar)

For a step-by-step tutorial about how to create and edit a WordPress Post, go here: How To Create A New WordPress Post

Add A Pages Widget To The Sidebar

Next, we’ll add a widget to your sidebar showing links to pages.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your widget area …

Dragging and dropping a Pages widget into the sidebar menu

(Inserting a Pages widget into the sidebar)

The Pages widget allows you to configure the following settings:

  • Title: Add a title to display above your links (e.g. “Pages“) (1)
  • Sort by: Sort how your pages display: by title (i.e. alphabetically), by page order, or by page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Use this setting to hide pages on your sidebar (3) …

Pages Widget settings

(Pages Widget settings)

By default, pages are displayed by title in alphabetical order. If you want to display pages using one of the other options, then choose a different method from the Sort by: drop-down menu …

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(Pages Widget settings – sorting options)

To prevent pages from displaying on the widget, enter the Page Ids for all the pages you want excluded separated by commas into the Exclude field …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – exclude pages)

For a tutorial about how to find a WordPress post or page ID, go here: How To Locate The Unique ID Of A Post Or Page In A WP Website

Click the Save button when done and click Close at the bottom of the widget box to minimize your widget.

Links to your pages will now display on the sidebar …

WordPress Pages Widget on sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Useful Tip

Tip: You can add multiple Pages widgets to the sidebar section. This is useful if you need to display different page groups on your sidebar (e.g. “Products”, “Legal Pages” etc.)

Add A Links Widget

Now, let’s add a Links widget to the sidebar navigation section.

Before adding the Links widget to the sidebar, we recommend first configuring your Links section inside your dashboard …

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: We are currently putting together tutorials on configuring and using the WordPress Links feature.

To add the widget, select a Links widget in the Available Widgets section …

Links Widget

(WordPress Links Widget)

Drag it to your active area …

Make Links Widget active

(Making Links Widget active)

The Links widget offers a number of configurable options, including the ability to specify what information to show about your links and how many links you want to display on the sidebar …

WordPress Links Widget Settings

(WordPress Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to your sidebar as you want. As you will see in a moment, this lets you create and display specific lists of links on your site …

Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To Your Sidebar Navigation Menu

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To Your Sidebar Menu)

You can sort links by Link title, Link rating, Link ID, or display links in Random order …

WordPress Links widget: 'Sort by:' drop-down menu

(WordPress Links widget: ‘Sort by:’ drop-down menu)

You can also create and display a list of items for a specific category, by selecting a link category from the ‘Select Link Category’ drop-down menu …

Links widget: 'Select Link Category' drop-down menu

( Links widget: ‘Select Link Category’ drop-down menu)

When you have finished configuring the Links Widget, click the Save button …

Links added to sidebar section

(External links added to WordPress sidebar)

As the above example shows, you can display specific external links to your site visitors (e.g. a list for a specific link category only), and add multiple lists of links to your WordPress sidebar area.

How To Add And Configure WordPress Widgets In Your Website


This is the end of part three of this tutorial.

To continue, click here:


"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)

Originally published as How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 3.