How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 3

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

Using WidgetsIn Part One of this tutorial series, we explained how to use WordPress widgets and in Part 2, you learned how to configure text widgets.

In this tutorial we are going to show you how to configure other commonly-used sidebar widgets.

How To 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 your Categories.

The Categories widget displays on your sidebar area by default. All you need to do, therefore, is place this widget wherever you want your categories to display by clicking and dragging it in the sidebar area …

Categories Widget

(Post Categories widget)

Useful Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to your sidebar menu, we recommend configuring the Post Categoriessection inside the dashboard …

WordPress Post Categories Screen

(WordPress Categories)

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

Configure the 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 add several categories (this significantly reduces the size of the content by displaying all categories in a drop-down menu). If you plan to publish posts under a few categories only, then leave the Display as dropdown box unticked. (2)
  • Leave the remaining options unchecked, or see the additional notes on configuring this widget below.
  • Click Save to update your settings …

Categories Widget settings

(Configuring a WordPress Categories widget)

Click Visit Site or refresh the page to see how the content will look to visitors …

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar navigation menu

(WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar menu)

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 box, otherwise leave this box unchecked.
  • 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 area by default. All you need to do is configure the widget.

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

Recent Posts widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There’s very little to configure in this widget. You can add a widget title, 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 change the number of posts and click Save

Recent Posts WordPress widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

Your most recent posts will be listed on the sidebar section …

Recent Posts WordPress widget on blog sidebar

(Recent Posts widget on blog sidebar)

How to create a post in WordPress is explained here: How To Create A New Post In WordPress

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

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

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your sidebar widget area …

Inserting a Pages widget into your sidebar

(Inserting a Pages widget into the sidebar)

The Pages widget lets you configure the following options:

  • Title: Add a title to display above your links (e.g. “Site Info“) (1)
  • Sort by: Sort how your pages display: by title (i.e. alphabetically), by page order, or by page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Prevent pages from being visible on the sidebar area (3) …

WordPress 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 another option, then choose a different method from the Sort by: drop-down menu …

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – sort options)

To prevent pages from displaying in your sidebar, simply type the Page Ids for all the pages you would like to exclude separated by commas into the Exclude field of the widget …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – excluding pages)

Finding a WordPress page ID is explained in this step-by-step tutorial: Finding WordPress Post And Page IDs

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

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

WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(WordPress Pages Widget on sidebar)

Useful Tip

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

Add A Links Widget

Now, we’ll add a Links widget to the sidebar.

Before adding a Links widget to your sidebar menu, we recommend configuring your Links section first …

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: Configuring and using the WordPress Links feature will be covered in separate tutorials.

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

Links Widget

(WordPress Links Widget)

Drag the widget 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 …

WordPress Links Widget Settings

(WordPress Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to the sidebar menu 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

(Add Multiple WordPress Links Widgets To The 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 …

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 WordPress sidebar section)

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 lists of links to your sidebar navigation menu.

How To Add WordPress Widgets To Your Website

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

Click here to continue: Configuring Widgets On Your Blog Sidebar Area – Part 4

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