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 And Configure Widgets In The WordPress Blog SidebarIn Part One of this tutorial, we explained how to use WordPress widgets and in Part Two, you learned how to configure a text widget.

In this tutorial you will configure other default blog widgets.

How To Add A Categories Widget To Your Sidebar Navigation Menu

Now that you know how to configure a text widget containing a contact button, let’s configure a widget for your Categories.

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

WordPress Categories Widget

(Categories widget)


Before adding a Categories widget to the sidebar navigation section, you should first configure your categories inside your WP dashboard …

Categories Screen

(WordPress Categories Panel)

Note: We plan to provide tutorials about how to set up categories.

Let’s configure your Categories widget settings as described 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). If you plan to publish posts under a few categories only, then leave the Display as dropdown box unticked. (2)
  • You can leave the default settings for the remaining options, or see the additional notes on configuring this widget below.
  • Click Save to update your settings …

Configuring a WordPress Categories Widget

(Configuring a Categories widget)

Load the site in your browser or reload the page to see how the sidebar categories will display to visitors …

Categories widget added to sidebar section

(Categories widget added to sidebar)

Useful 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 option as is.
  • 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 Sidebar

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

Click on the widget title bar to configure its settings …

Recent Posts widget

(Recent Posts WordPress widget)

There is really not much to set up here. You can add a title, 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

Recent Posts WordPress widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

Your most recent posts will display on the sidebar …

Recent Posts WordPress widget added to sidebar section

(Recent Posts widget added to sidebar)

Creating and editing a WordPress Post is covered in this tutorial: How To Create A Post In WordPress

Adding A Pages Widget

Next, we’ll add a widget to your sidebar navigation area for listing pages.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

Pages Widget

(WordPress Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your sidebar widget section …

Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar

(Adding a Pages widget to your sidebar navigation section)

The Pages widget lets you configure the following options:

  • Title: Add a title to the widget (e.g. “Site Information“) (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 area (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

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – sort options)

To exclude pages from displaying 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 – exclude pages by ID)

To learn how to find a WordPress post or page ID, see this step-by-step tutorial: How To Locate Page And Post IDs In WordPress

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

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

Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on sidebar)


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

Add A Links Widget To The Blog Sidebar

Now, let’s add a widget to the WordPress sidebar to display external links (e.g. to useful resources, affiliate links, etc).

Before adding a Links widget to your sidebar, we recommend configuring your Links section first …

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links section)

Note: We are currently putting together tutorials on using WordPress Links.

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

WordPress Links Widget

(Links Widget)

Drag it 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 navigation menu …

WordPress Links Widget Settings

(Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to the sidebar area 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 Links Widgets To The Sidebar Section)

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

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

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

Links added to sidebar

(External links added to 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 link lists to your WordPress sidebar.

How To Add WordPress Widgets To Your Blog


This is the end of section three of this tutorial series about how to use WordPress widgets.

To keep reading, click this link: How To Add Widgets To Your WordPress Blog Sidebar – Part Four


"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of and has authored hundreds of FREE WordPress tutorials for beginners. provides detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress with no coding skills required and grow your business online at minimal cost!

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