How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 3

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

Landing Pages for WordPress

How To Configure Widgets On The Sidebar Navigation AreaIn Part One of this tutorial, we explained how to use WordPress widgets and in Part 2, you learned how to configure text widgets.

In this tutorial you will learn how to configure other WordPress widgets.

Add A Categories Widget

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

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

Categories Widget

(Categories widget)


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

Post Categories

(Post Categories Screen)

Note: We plan to provide a tutorial about how to use post categories.

Let’s configure your Categories widget settings as shown below:

  • In Title: type something that blog readers will understand, like “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • Check Display as dropdown if you have too many categories (this significantly reduces the size of the widget content by displaying all categories in a drop-down menu). Leave the box unticked if you want a list of all categories to display on your sidebar. (2)
  • You can 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 the page to see how your sidebar categories will look to your visitors …

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar navigation menu

(Categories widget added to sidebar)



  • 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 unchecked.
  • To display the number of posts published in each category on your site, tick 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 A Recent Posts Widget

The Recent Posts widget typically shows in your sidebar by default. All you need to do is configure your widget.

Click on the widget title bar to display the configuration settings …

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts WordPress widget)

There’s really not much to configure in this widget. You can add a widget title, select the number of posts to display and display post dates. If you want to use the default setting for Number of posts to show, then just leave the widget as is, otherwise enter the number of posts to show and click Save

Recent Posts widget settings

(Recent Posts widget settings)

Your most recent posts will display on the sidebar navigation area …

Recent Posts WordPress widget on sidebar

(Recent Posts widget displayed on blog sidebar)

How to create and edit posts in WordPress is explained here: How To Create A New Post In WordPress

Adding Links To Your Site’s Pages In Your WordPress Sidebar

Next, let’s add a widget to your sidebar to display page links.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your active widget section …

Adding a Pages widget to your sidebar menu

(Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar area)

The Pages widget lets you configure the following settings:

  • Title: Add a title to the widget (e.g. “Useful Sections“) (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 prevent pages from showing on the sidebar (3) …

Pages Widget settings

(Pages Widget settings)

By default, pages will be listed 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 …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – item sorting options)

To prevent certain pages from showing to your visitors, type or paste in their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field of the widget …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – excluding pages by ID)

For a step-by-step tutorial about how to find a WordPress page ID, go here: How To Find A WordPress Post Or Page ID

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

Links to the site’s main pages will now show in your sidebar navigation section …

WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Useful Tip

Tip: You can add multiple Pages widgets to the sidebar. This is helpful if you want to display separate page groups on the sidebar (e.g. “Products”, “Legal Pages” etc.)

Display Links On The Sidebar Navigation Section

Now, we’ll add a widget to your WordPress sidebar menu to display links to external resources.

Before adding the Links widget to the sidebar, you should first configure your Links section inside the dashboard …

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: We plan to provide separate tutorials about configuring and using the WordPress Links feature.

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

WordPress Links Widget

(Links Widget)

Drag the widget to your sidebar …

Making 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 your sidebar …

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 Section

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To Your Sidebar Navigation Section)

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

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

(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 …

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

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

When you have finished configuring your Links Widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your links will become immediately visible on your site …

Links added to sidebar navigation area

(Links added to WordPress sidebar)

As the above example shows, you can display specific 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 navigation section.

How To Add Widgets To Your WordPress Sidebar Section


This is the end of part three of this tutorial series.

To keep reading, click here: Adding Widgets To Your Sidebar – Part 4


"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)

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