How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 3

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

Adding And Configuring WordPress Widgets In The BlogIn Part One of this tutorial, we explained how to use WordPress widgets and in Part 2, you learned how to configure a text widget.

In this section you will learn how to configure other frequently-used sidebar widgets.

Adding Post Categories To The Sidebar Menu

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

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

Post Categories Widget

(Categories widget)

Practical Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to the sidebar, you will first need to configure your Categoriessection inside your WP dashboard …

Post Categories

(WordPress Post Categories)

Note: We are currently putting together tutorials on how to use WordPress categories.

Let’s configure the Categories settings for your widget as described below:

  • In Title: type something that blog readers will understand, for example, “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • Check Display as dropdown if you have too many categories (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 remaining options unticked, or see the additional notes on configuring the Categories widget below.
  • Click Save to update your settings …

WordPress Categories Widget settings

(Categories widget settings)

Load the site in your browser or reload the page to see how the content will look to visitors …

Categories widget added to sidebar section

(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 option, otherwise leave this option as is.
  • 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 normally appears in the sidebar by default. All you need to do is configure your widget.

Click on the title bar to configure its settings …

Recent Posts widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There’s really not much 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 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 WordPress widget added to blog sidebar

(Recent Posts WordPress widget added to sidebar area)

To learn how to create and edit a WordPress Post, see this tutorial: How To Create A WP Post

Add Links To Your Site’s Main Pages

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

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your widget section …

Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar navigation section

(Dragging and dropping a Pages widget into the sidebar navigation area)

The Pages widget allows you to configure the following options:

  • Title: Add a title to the widget (e.g. “Useful Information“) (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 area (3) …

WordPress 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 select a different method from the Sort by: drop-down menu …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - sort options

(Pages Widget settings – item sorting options)

To exclude certain pages from showing to your visitors, enter the Page Ids for all the pages you want excluded separated by commas into the Exclude field of the widget …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – excluding pages by ID)

We provide a tutorial about how to find a page ID in WordPress here: Finding 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 site’s main pages will now display on your sidebar …

Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Tip

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

Add Links To Your Sidebar Navigation Area

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

Before adding a Links widget to your sidebar navigation area, we recommend setting up the Links section inside your dashboard first …

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: We are currently putting together tutorials on how to set up Links.

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

WordPress Links Widget

(WordPress 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 the sidebar …

Links Widget Settings

(WordPress Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to the 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 Your Sidebar Area

(Add Multiple Links Widgets To Your Sidebar Area)

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

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

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

Links added to sidebar

(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 link lists to the sidebar navigation area.

How To Add WordPress Widgets To The Sidebar Section

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

Click here to continue reading: How To Add And Configure WordPress Widgets In The Website – Part Four

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"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

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

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