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 Use WidgetsIn Part One of this tutorial series, we explained how to use WordPress widgets and in Part Two, you learned how to configure a text widget.

In this tutorial you will learn how to configure other frequently-used widgets.

How To Add A Categories Widget

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

By default, the Categories widget displays on the sidebar navigation section. All you have to do, therefore, is place the widget wherever you want your post categories to display by clicking and dragging it in your sidebar area …

WordPress Categories Widget

(Post Categories widget)


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

Post Categories Screen

(WordPress Post Categories Panel)

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

Configure the Categories settings for this widget as described below:

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

Configuring a Categories Widget

(Categories widget settings)

Load the site in your browser or refresh your page to see how the sidebar categories will look to site visitors …

Categories widget added to sidebar

(Categories widget added to sidebar menu)



  • 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, 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 The Sidebar

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

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

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts WordPress widget)

There is really very little to configure. You can add a title if you want, select the number of posts to display and 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 change the number of posts and click Save

Recent Posts WordPress widget settings

(Recent Posts widget settings)

The number of posts you have specified will appear on the sidebar area …

Recent Posts WordPress widget added to blog sidebar

(Recent Posts WordPress widget on sidebar)

A step-by-step tutorial is provided on how to create and edit a post in WordPress here: How To Create A WP Post

Adding A Pages Widget

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

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

Pages Widget

(Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your sidebar widget area …

Adding a Pages widget to your sidebar navigation area

(Dragging and dropping a Pages widget into your sidebar)

The Pages widget lets you 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 by page ID. (2)
  • Exclude: Hide selected 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 one of the other options, then select a different method from the Sort by: drop-down menu …

Pages Widget settings - sort options

(Pages Widget settings – sorting options)

To prevent pages from displaying in your sidebar, type in their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field of the Pages widget …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – exclude pages)

A step-by-step tutorial is provided on how to find a page ID in WordPress here: How To Locate The Unique ID Of WordPress Posts And Pages

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

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

Pages Widget on sidebar

(Pages Widget on sidebar)

Practical Tip

Tip: You can add multiple Pages widgets to your sidebar. This is handy if you would like to display different page groups on your sidebar navigation section (e.g. “Products”, “Legal Pages” etc.)

Display Links On The Sidebar

Now, let’s add a widget to your sidebar navigation menu for displaying external links (e.g. to useful resources, affiliate links, etc).

Before adding a Links widget to your sidebar menu, we first recommend setting up your Links section inside your WordPress dashboard …

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links section)

Note: How to use Links will be covered in other tutorials.

To add the widget, find 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 the sidebar …

Links Widget Settings

(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 The Sidebar

(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 …

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. Your links will become immediately visible on your WordPress sidebar …

Links added to sidebar

(Links added to WordPress sidebar area)

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 section.

How To Add And Configure Widgets On Your Sidebar Area


This is the end of part three of this tutorial series on using WordPress widgets.

To view Part 4, click this link:

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"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group

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