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 Use Widgets In WordPressIn 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 section you are going to learn how to configure other commonly-used blog widgets.

Add Post Categories To Your Sidebar

Now that you have configure a text widget containing a contact button, let’s configure a widget to display Categories on the sidebar navigation section.

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

Categories Widget

(Post Categories widget)

Practical Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to your sidebar navigation area, you will first need to configure your post categories inside your dashboard …

WordPress Categories

(Categories)

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

Configure your Categories widget settings 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 plan to add many categories (this significantly reduces the length of your widget 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 navigation area. (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 finished …

WordPress Categories Widget settings

(Configuring a WordPress Categories widget)

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

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar navigation section

(WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar navigation area)

Useful 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 option, otherwise leave this section as is.
  • 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 Section

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

Click on its title bar to display the configuration settings …

Recent Posts widget

(Recent Posts WordPress widget)

There is very little to configure. You can add a title if you want, 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 enter the number of posts to show and click Save

Recent Posts WordPress widget settings

(Recent Posts widget settings)

Your most recent posts will be listed on your sidebar area …

Recent Posts widget displayed on sidebar

(Recent Posts WordPress widget added to sidebar)

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

Display Your Site’s Pages

Next, we’ll add a widget to your sidebar that links to the pages you select.

Find a Pages widget in the Available Widgets section …

WordPress Pages Widget

(WordPress Pages Widget)

Drag the Pages widget to your active widget section …

Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar

(Dragging and dropping a Pages widget into your sidebar)

The Pages widget lets you configure the following settings:

  • Title: Add a title to the widget (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 prevent pages from showing on your sidebar (3) …

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

WordPress Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(WordPress Pages Widget settings – exclude pages by ID)

Finding a WordPress post or page ID is covered here: How To Locate Page And Post IDs In Your WordPress Site

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

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

WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(Pages Widget on blog sidebar)

Useful Tip

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

Display Links On The WordPress Sidebar Navigation Menu

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

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

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links screen)

Note: Configuring Links will be covered in other tutorials.

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

Links Widget

(Links Widget)

Drag the widget to your sidebar …

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 the sidebar …

Links Widget Settings

(WordPress Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to your 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 The 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

(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

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

When you have finished configuring your Links Widget, click the Save button …

Links added to sidebar section

(Links added to sidebar navigation 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 link lists to the WordPress sidebar.

Using WordPress Widgets

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This is the end of part three of this tutorial series.

To view Part 4, click this link:

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"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)

***

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. 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.