How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 3

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

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Using WidgetsIn Part 1 of this step-by-step tutorial series, we explained how to use WordPress widgets and in Part Two, you learned how to configure a text widget.

In this section you will learn how to configure other default WordPress widgets.

Add Post Categories

Now that you have configure a text widget containing a clickable help button, let’s configure a widget for displaying Post Categories on your sidebar.

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

Categories Widget

(Categories widget)


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

Post Categories Panel

(Post Categories)

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

Configure the Categories settings for your widget as described below:

  • In Title: type something that will make sense to your visitors, for example, “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • Check Display as dropdown if you have too many categories (this significantly reduces the length 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 section. (2)
  • You can leave the remaining options unticked, or see the additional notes on configuring the Categories widget below.
  • Click Save when done …

Categories Widget settings

(Configuring a WordPress Categories widget)

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

Categories widget added to sidebar

(Categories widget added to sidebar)

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 box, otherwise leave this box unticked.
  • 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

The Recent Posts widget typically shows in the sidebar by default. All you need to do is configure this widget.

Click on its title bar to configure its settings …

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts WordPress 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 opt to 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 the number of posts to show and click Save

Recent Posts WordPress widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

The number of posts you’ve specified will display on your sidebar area …

Recent Posts widget added to sidebar area

(Recent Posts widget displayed on sidebar section)

We provide a tutorial about how to create posts in WordPress here: How To Create A WP Post

Adding A Pages Widget To The Sidebar

Next, let’s add a widget to your sidebar navigation area to display page links.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(WordPress Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your sidebar widget area …

Inserting a Pages widget into the sidebar navigation menu

(Adding a Pages widget to your sidebar navigation section)

The Pages widget allows you to configure the following settings:

  • Title: Add a title to display above your links (e.g. “Pages“) (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 the sidebar (3) …

Pages Widget settings

(WordPress Pages Widget settings)

By default, pages are displayed by title in alphabetical order. If you want to display pages using another option, then choose a different method in the Sort by: drop-down menu …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – sort options)

To exclude certain pages from showing to your visitors, type in their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field of the Pages widget …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – excluding pages)

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

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

Links to your site’s main pages will now appear on the sidebar …

Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on sidebar)

Useful Tip

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

Display Links On The WordPress Blog Sidebar

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

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

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: We plan to create separate tutorials that show you how to set up the Links feature.

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

Links Widget

(Links Widget)

Drag the Links widget to your sidebar …

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 section …

WordPress Links Widget Settings

(Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to the sidebar navigation 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 Links Widgets To The Sidebar Navigation Menu

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To The 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 …

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. Your links will display immediately on your site …

Links added to WordPress sidebar

(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 link lists to your sidebar navigation area.

How To Add And Configure Widgets In WordPress


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

Click on this link to view Part 4:


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