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 Widgets To The WordPress SidebarIn 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 a text widget.

In this section you are going to learn how to configure other sidebar widgets.

Add A Post Categories Widget

Now that you know how to configure a text widget containing a clickable support button, let’s configure a widget to display 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 categories to display by clicking and dragging it on the sidebar widget area …

Post Categories Widget

(Post Categories widget)

Useful Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to your sidebar, we recommend first setting up your Categoriesfeature inside the dashboard …

WordPress Post Categories Panel

(Post Categories)

Note: We are currently putting together tutorials on how to set up post categories in WordPress.

Configure your categories widget settings as shown below:

  • In Title: type something that visitors will understand, like “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • Check Display as dropdown if you plan to have 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 the sidebar navigation area. (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 reload your page to see how the Categories widget will look to visitors …

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar section

(WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar section)

Practical 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 section as is.
  • 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 A Recent Posts Widget To The Sidebar

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

Click on your Recent Posts widget title bar to configure its settings …

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There is really very little to set up in this widget. You can add a title if you want, select the number of posts to display and opt to display post dates. If you want to use the default Number of posts to show setting, then just leave the widget as is, otherwise enter the number of posts to show and click Save when done …

Recent Posts widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

Your most recent posts will be listed on your sidebar …

Recent Posts widget displayed on sidebar

(Recent Posts widget added to blog sidebar)

To learn how to create and edit WordPress Posts, see this step-by-step tutorial: How To Create A WP Post

Adding Links To Your Site’s Pages

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

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(WordPress 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)

The Pages widget allows you to configure the following settings:

  • 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 menu (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 in the Sort by: drop-down menu …

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(Pages Widget settings – item sorting options)

To prevent certain pages from showing on your sidebar, enter their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – excluding pages)

We provide a tutorial that shows you how to find a post or page ID in WordPress here: How To Find Page And Post IDs In WordPress

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

Links to your pages will now show on your sidebar …

Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Practical Tip

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

Add A Links Widget To The WordPress Sidebar

Next, let’s add a Links widget to your sidebar.

Before adding the Links widget to your sidebar navigation area, you will first need to configure the Links feature inside your WP dashboard …

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links section)

Note: We plan to provide a separate tutorial if you need help on how to configure the WordPress Links feature.

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

WordPress Links Widget

(Links Widget)

Drag the Links widget to your active area …

Make 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 the sidebar navigation 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 WordPress Links Widgets To The Sidebar Menu

(Add Multiple Links Widgets To Your 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

(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

( 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 navigation section

(External links added to WordPress 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 sidebar.

How To Add And Configure WordPress Widgets In Your Sidebar Navigation Section


This is the end of section three of this tutorial series.

Click here to continue:


"I am beyond impressed with what you have put together. I can tell that you put a ton of hard work into building what you have. You have the absolute best content on WordPress I have ever seen!" - Robert T. Jillie

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the owner of and the author of The WordPress User Manual. 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.