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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How To Add Widgets To WordPressIn Part One of this tutorial series, we explained how to use widgets in WordPress and in Part 2, we explained how to configure a text widget.

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

Add Categories To Your Sidebar

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

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

WordPress Post Categories Widget

(WordPress Post Categories widget)

Practical Tip

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

Categories Panel

(Post Categories Screen)

Note: We are currently putting together tutorials on how to configure and use WordPress post categories.

Let’s configure the Categories settings for your widget as shown below:

  • In Title: type something that will make sense to visitors, like “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • If you plan to add many categories, check Display as dropdown (this significantly reduces the size of your 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)
  • You can leave the other options as the default, or see the additional notes on configuring the Categories widget below.
  • Click Save to update your settings …

Configuring a WordPress Categories Widget

(Configuring a Categories widget)

Load the site in your web browser or refresh your page to see how the Categories widget will look to visitors …

WordPress 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 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 To Your Blog Sidebar Menu

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

Click on its widget title bar to configure its settings …

Recent Posts widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There’s very little to set up here. 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 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 widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

Your most recent posts will now display to visitors on the sidebar …

Recent Posts widget displayed on sidebar section

(Recent Posts WordPress widget displayed on blog sidebar)

To learn how to create a WordPress Post, see this step-by-step tutorial: How To Create A Post In WordPress

Add A Pages Widget To Your Sidebar Navigation Menu

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

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your widget section …

Inserting a Pages widget into the sidebar

(Inserting a Pages widget into your sidebar)

The Pages widget allows you to configure the following options:

  • 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 page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Prevent pages from being visible on the sidebar (3) …

Pages Widget settings

(Pages Widget settings)

By default, pages are displayed 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 …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – sorting options)

To exclude pages from showing on the sidebar, enter the Page Ids for the pages you would like excluded separated by commas into the Exclude field of the widget …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – exclude pages)

A tutorial is provided on finding a WordPress page ID here: How To Find A WordPress Page Or Post ID

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

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

Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(Pages Widget on sidebar)

Practical Tip

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

Add A Links Widget To The WordPress Sidebar

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

Before adding a Links widget to the sidebar navigation section, we recommend setting up your Links section first …

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: We plan to provide separate tutorials on how to use WordPress Links.

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

Links Widget

(WordPress 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 …

Links Widget Settings

(Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to the 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 Your Sidebar Navigation Menu

(Add Multiple Links Widgets To Your Sidebar Navigation Section)

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 …

WordPress Links widget: 'Select Link Category' drop-down menu

( Links widget: ‘Select Link Category’ drop-down menu)

When you have finished configuring your Links Widget, click the Save button. Your links will become immediately visible on your WordPress sidebar …

Links added to sidebar menu

(Links added to sidebar menu)

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 the WordPress sidebar menu.

Adding And Configuring WordPress Widgets In The Website


This is the end of section three of this tutorial.

To continue, click this link:


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For a whitelabel version of this tutorial visit
Originally published as How To Use And Configure WordPress Widgets – Part 3.