How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 3

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

Using Widgets In WordPressIn Part 1 of this step-by-step tutorial, we explained how to use widgets in WordPress and in Part Two, we explained how to configure text widgets.

In this section you are going to configure other WordPress blog widgets.

How To Add A Categories Widget To Your Sidebar

Now that you have configure a text widget containing a contact button, let’s configure a widget for displaying Post Categories on the sidebar.

The Categories widget already displays on your sidebar by default. Place this widget wherever you want your post categories to display by clicking and dragging it on the sidebar widget area …

WordPress Post Categories Widget

(Categories widget)


your categories …

Categories Screen

(WordPress Post Categories Panel)

Note: Setting up and using WordPress post categories will be explained in other tutorials.

Configure your categories settings as described below:

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

WordPress Categories Widget settings

(Configuring a Categories widget)

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

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar navigation section

(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 box, 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 To Your Sidebar

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

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

Recent Posts widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There’s very little to set up. 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 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 display on your sidebar …

Recent Posts widget displayed on blog sidebar

(Recent Posts WordPress widget displayed on sidebar)

For a tutorial on how to create and edit WordPress Posts, go here: How To Create A New WordPress Post

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

Next, let’s add a widget to your sidebar navigation area for listing pages.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your widget area …

Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar navigation menu

(Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar navigation area)

The Pages widget lets you configure the following options:

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

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 in the Sort by: drop-down menu …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - sort options

(Pages Widget settings – item sorting options)

To exclude pages from displaying in the widget, type or paste in their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field of the Pages widget …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – excluding pages)

A tutorial is provided on how to find a WordPress post or page ID here: How To Locate WordPress Post And Page IDs

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

Links to your pages will now display on your sidebar navigation menu …

WordPress Pages Widget on sidebar

(Pages Widget on sidebar)

Useful Tip

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

Add Links To The Blog Sidebar

Now, we’ll add a Links widget for displaying external links on your sidebar.

Before adding a Links widget to the sidebar area, we recommend setting up your Links feature inside the WP dashboard …

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: We plan to provide a tutorial that explains how to use WordPress Links.

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

WordPress Links Widget

(Links Widget)

Drag the widget to your active area …

Making Links Widget active

(Making Links Widget active)

The 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 …

WordPress Links Widget Settings

(WordPress Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to your sidebar section 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 Links Widgets To The Sidebar Navigation Section

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To The Sidebar)

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. Your links will display immediately on your site …

Links added to WordPress sidebar

(External links added to WordPress sidebar navigation menu)

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 the sidebar menu.

How To Add And Configure WordPress Widgets In Your Website


This is the end of section 3 of this series of tutorials.

To keep reading, click this link:


"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill,

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