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 Your SiteIn 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 section you will configure other WordPress widgets.

Add Post Categories

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

The Categories widget already displays on the 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 in your sidebar area …

Post Categories Widget

(WordPress Categories widget)

Practical Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to your sidebar area, we recommend setting up the Post Categoriessection inside your dashboard …

Categories Screen

(Categories)

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

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

  • In Title: type something that visitors will understand, for example, “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • If you plan to use several categories, check Display as dropdown (this significantly reduces the size of your widget content by displaying all categories inside a drop-down menu). Leave the box unticked 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 …

Configuring a WordPress Categories Widget

(Configuring a Categories widget)

Click Visit Site or refresh the page to see how your Categories widget will display to visitors …

Categories widget added to sidebar

(WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar)

Useful 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 box unticked.
  • To display the number of posts published in each category on your site, 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 The Sidebar

The Recent Posts widget displays in your sidebar section by default. All you need to do is configure the widget.

Click on your Recent Posts title bar to display the configuration settings …

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There is really not much to configure. You can add a widget title, select the number of posts to display and display post dates. If you’re happy 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

Recent Posts WordPress widget settings

(Recent Posts widget settings)

The most recent number of posts you’ve specified will now display to visitors on the sidebar navigation menu …

Recent Posts widget added to sidebar

(Recent Posts WordPress widget added to sidebar)

For a step-by-step tutorial about how to create and edit a WordPress Post, go here: How To Create A New WordPress Post

Add Links To Your Site’s Main Pages In Your WordPress Blog Sidebar

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

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

Pages Widget

(WordPress Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your sidebar widget area …

Inserting a Pages widget into the sidebar

(Adding a Pages widget to your sidebar section)

The Pages widget allows you to 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 by page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Hide selected pages on the 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 one of the other options, then select 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 showing to your visitors, just type the Page Ids for the pages you want excluded separated by commas into the Exclude field …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – exclude pages by ID)

We provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to find a page ID in WordPress here: Finding The WP Page Or Post ID

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

Links to the site’s main pages will now display on the sidebar section …

WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Tip

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

Add A Links Widget To Your Sidebar

Next, let’s add a widget that will display external links on the WordPress sidebar.

Before adding a Links widget to your sidebar section, we first recommend configuring your Links feature inside your WP dashboard …

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links section)

Note: We plan to create step-by-step tutorials on how to set up the WordPress Links feature.

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

Links Widget

(Links Widget)

Drag it to your sidebar …

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 the sidebar navigation section …

WordPress Links Widget Settings

(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 Area

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To The Sidebar Navigation Menu)

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

(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 the Links Widget, click the Save button …

Links added to WordPress sidebar

(External links added to sidebar area)

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 your WordPress sidebar.

How To Add Widgets To WordPress

***

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

To keep reading, click this link:

***

"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 owner of WPCompendium.org and the author of The WordPress User Manual. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

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