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 WordPressIn Part One 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 we are going to show you how to configure other commonly-used sidebar widgets.

Adding A Categories Section

Now that you know how to configure a text widget containing a help button, let’s configure a widget for displaying Categories on your sidebar.

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

Categories Widget

(Categories widget)

Practical Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to the sidebar section, you will first need to configure your Categoriessection inside your WP dashboard …

WordPress Categories Screen

(WordPress Post Categories Panel)

Note: Using categories in WordPress will be covered in separate tutorials.

Configure your categories widget settings as shown below:

  • In Title: type something that will make sense to visitors, for example, “Choose A Topic…” (1)
  • If you have too many categories, check Display as dropdown (this significantly reduces the length of your content by displaying all categories in a drop-down menu). Leave the box unticked if you want a list of all categories to display on your sidebar. (2)
  • You can leave the default settings for the remaining options, or see the additional notes on configuring the Categories widget below.
  • Click Save when done …

Configuring a WordPress Categories Widget

(WordPress Categories widget settings)

Click Visit Site or reload the page to see how your sidebar categories will display to visitors …

Categories widget added to sidebar navigation area

(Categories widget added to sidebar menu)

Practical 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 option 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 Recent Posts To The Blog Sidebar

The Recent Posts widget normally shows on the sidebar section by default. All you need to do is configure this widget.

Click on the widget title bar to configure its settings …

Recent Posts widget

(Recent Posts WordPress widget)

There is really not much to set up here. 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 widget settings

(Recent Posts WordPress widget settings)

The most recent number of posts you’ve specified will appear on your sidebar menu …

Recent Posts WordPress widget on sidebar

(Recent Posts WordPress widget on sidebar navigation area)

A step-by-step tutorial is provided on creating and editing WordPress Posts here: How To Create A WordPress Post

Adding A Pages Widget To Your Sidebar

Next, let’s add a widget to your sidebar menu 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 section …

Inserting a Pages widget into the sidebar navigation menu

(Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar navigation section)

The Pages widget lets you configure the following options:

  • Title: Add a title to display above your links (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: Prevent pages from showing on your sidebar area (3) …

WordPress Pages Widget settings

(Pages Widget settings)

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

WordPress Pages Widget settings - sort options

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – sorting options)

To exclude pages from displaying on the widget, type in their Page Ids separated by commas into the Exclude field of the widget …

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – excluding pages by ID)

We provide a tutorial about how to find a WordPress page ID here: How To Locate Page And Post IDs In WordPress

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

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

Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Useful Tip

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

Add A Links Widget To The Blog Sidebar

Next, we’ll add a Links widget to the sidebar navigation menu.

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

WordPress Links screen

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: We plan to create a step-by-step tutorial that explains how to set up and use WordPress Links.

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

WordPress Links Widget

(WordPress Links Widget)

Drag the 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 area …

Links Widget Settings

(WordPress Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to your sidebar 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 Your Sidebar

(Add Multiple Links Widgets To Your 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

(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 your Links Widget, click the Save button. Your links will display immediately on your sidebar navigation section …

Links added to WordPress sidebar area

(Links added to 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 lists of links to the sidebar section.

Adding WordPress Widgets To The WordPress Blog Sidebar Navigation Section

***

This is the end of part 3 of this tutorial on how to use Widgets.

Click here to keep reading:

***

"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 WPCompendium.org and the author of The WordPress User Manual. WPCompendium.org 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.