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 WordPress Widgets In Your WebsiteIn Part One of this tutorial, we explained how to use widgets in WordPress and in Part 2, we explained how to configure a text widget.

In this section you are going to learn how to configure other commonly-used WordPress widgets.

Adding Post Categories

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

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

Categories Widget

(Categories widget)

Useful Tip

your categories …

WordPress Categories

(WordPress Post Categories Panel)

Note: We plan to create separate tutorials about how to use categories.

Configure the Categories settings for this widget as shown below:

  • In Title: type something that will make sense to visitors, like “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). If you plan to publish posts under a few categories only, then leave the Display as dropdown box unchecked. (2)
  • Leave the default settings for the remaining options, or see the additional notes on configuring the Categories widget below.
  • Click Save to update your settings …

Categories Widget settings

(Categories widget settings)

Load the site in your browser or refresh the page to see how the content will display to your visitors …

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar

(Categories widget added to sidebar navigation area)

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 box, 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 Section To The Blog Sidebar

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

Click on its title bar to display the configuration settings …

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There’s really not much to configure in this widget. You can add a widget title, select the number of posts to display and display post dates. If you’re happy with the default setting for Number of posts to show, then just leave the widget as is, otherwise enter a number of posts to show and click Save when done …

Recent Posts widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

The number of posts you have specified will now display to visitors on your sidebar navigation area …

Recent Posts widget added to sidebar navigation area

(Recent Posts WordPress widget added to blog sidebar)

How to create WordPress Posts is explained in this step-by-step tutorial: How To Create A New Post In WordPress

Add A Pages Widget

Next, let’s 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 section …

Dragging and dropping a Pages widget into your sidebar area

(Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar area)

The Pages widget lets you configure the following options:

  • Title: Add a title to the widget (e.g. “Pages“) (1)
  • Sort by: Sort how your pages display: by title (i.e. alphabetically), by page order, or page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Hide selected pages on the 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 choose a different method in the Sort by: drop-down menu …

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – item sorting options)

To exclude certain pages from showing to your visitors, enter their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – exclude pages)

For a tutorial about how to find a WordPress post or page ID, go here: Finding WordPress Page And Post IDs

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

Links to your blog’s pages will now appear on the sidebar menu …

Pages Widget on sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Practical Tip

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

Display Links On Your Blog Sidebar

Next, let’s add a Links widget to display external links on your sidebar.

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

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: How to use the Links feature will be explained in separate tutorials.

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

WordPress Links Widget

(WordPress Links Widget)

Drag it to your sidebar …

Making 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 section …

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 Links Widgets To The Sidebar Navigation Menu

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To Your Sidebar)

You can sort links by Link title, Link rating, Link ID, or display links in Random order …

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 your Links Widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your widget will display immediately on the WordPress sidebar navigation menu …

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 the WordPress sidebar.

Adding WordPress Widgets To Your Blog


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

Click here to continue reading: How To Use Widgets In WordPress – Part 4


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