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 WordPress Widgets To Your WebsiteIn Part 1 of this step-by-step tutorial series, we explained how to use widgets in WordPress and in Part 2, we explained how to configure a text widget.

In this tutorial you are going to configure other WordPress widgets.

How To Add A Categories Widget To The Blog Sidebar

Now that you know how to configure a text widget containing a clickable help button, let’s configure Post Categories.

By default, the Categories widget displays on your sidebar. 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 …

WordPress Categories Widget

(Categories widget)

Practical Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to the sidebar, we recommend setting up your categories inside your WP dashboard …

Post Categories Panel

(Categories)

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

Configure the Categories settings for this widget as shown below:

  • In Title: type something that your visitors will understand, for example, “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • If you have too many categories, check Display as dropdown (this significantly reduces the length of your 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 the sidebar. (2)
  • Leave the default settings for the remaining options, or see the additional notes on configuring the Categories widget below.
  • Click Save when finished …

Configuring a WordPress Categories Widget

(Configuring a Categories widget)

Click Visit Site or refresh your page to see how your sidebar categories will look to site visitors …

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar

(Categories widget added to sidebar)

Tip

Tips:

  • 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 box, otherwise leave this box unchecked.
  • To display the number of posts published in each category, 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 Recent Posts To Your Blog Sidebar

The Recent Posts widget is typically added to the sidebar navigation menu by default. All you need to do is configure this widget.

Click on the Recent Posts title bar to configure its settings …

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts WordPress widget)

There’s not much to configure. You can add a widget title, select the number of posts to display and opt to 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)

Your most recent posts will appear on the sidebar navigation section …

Recent Posts WordPress widget on sidebar

(Recent Posts WordPress widget added to sidebar)

A step-by-step tutorial is provided on how to create posts in WordPress here: How To Create A New WordPress Post

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

Next, we’ll add a widget to your sidebar navigation menu to display page links.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(WordPress Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your widget section …

Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar area

(Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar)

The Pages widget lets you 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: Prevent pages from appearing on the sidebar (3) …

WordPress Pages Widget settings

(WordPress Pages Widget settings)

By default, pages will be listed by title in alphabetical order. If you want to display pages using another option, then choose a different method from the Sort by: drop-down menu …

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – sort options)

To prevent certain pages from displaying on your sidebar, enter the Page Ids for all the pages you want to exclude separated by commas into the Exclude field of the Pages widget …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – excluding pages)

For a tutorial on how to find a WordPress post or page ID, go here: How To Locate WordPress Post And Page IDs

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

Links to your pages will now appear on the sidebar …

Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Tip

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

Add Links To Your WordPress Blog Sidebar

Now, let’s add a Links widget to your sidebar.

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

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: We plan to provide tutorials on how to use the WordPress Links feature.

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

Links Widget

(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 your sidebar navigation area …

WordPress Links Widget Settings

(WordPress Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to the 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 The Sidebar Menu

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To The Sidebar Area)

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 …

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

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

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

Links added to WordPress sidebar

(External links added to sidebar navigation area)

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 area.

Adding WordPress Widgets To The Sidebar Menu

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This is the end of part three of this tutorial.

Click here to continue reading:

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress to grow your business online at minimal cost with no coding skills required!

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