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 WordPress WidgetsIn Part 1 of this tutorial series, we explained how to use widgets in WordPress and in Part 2, we explained how to configure text widgets.

In this tutorial we will continue configuring other commonly-used blog widgets.

Add A Categories Widget To The Sidebar Menu

Now that you know how to configure a text widget containing a support button, let’s configure a widget for 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 on your sidebar widget area …

WordPress Categories Widget

(WordPress Categories widget)

Useful Tip

Before adding a Categories widget to the sidebar navigation area, you will first need to configure the Post Categoriessection inside the dashboard …

Categories

(WordPress Categories)

Note: Using WordPress post categories will be explained in separate tutorials.

Configure the Categories widget settings as shown below:

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

Configuring a WordPress Categories Widget

(Configuring a WordPress Categories widget)

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

WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar area

(WordPress Categories widget added to sidebar navigation 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 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 Recent Posts To Your Blog Sidebar Section

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

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

Recent Posts WordPress widget

(Recent Posts widget)

There’s very little to configure. You can add a title, select the number of posts to display and opt to display post dates. If you’re happy to use the default setting for Number of posts to show, then just leave the widget as is, otherwise enter a number of posts to show and click Save when done …

Recent Posts WordPress widget settings

(Recent Posts widget settings)

The most recent number of posts you have specified will display on your sidebar navigation area …

Recent Posts widget added to blog sidebar

(Recent Posts WordPress widget displayed on blog sidebar)

To learn how to create and edit a WordPress Post, see this tutorial: How To Create A WordPress Post

Add A Pages Widget To The Sidebar

Next, let’s add a widget to your sidebar that will link 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 widget area …

Adding a Pages widget to the sidebar

(Dragging and dropping a Pages widget into your sidebar)

The Pages widget allows you to configure the following settings:

  • 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: Hide selected pages on your sidebar (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 in the Sort by: drop-down menu …

WordPress Pages Widget settings - sort options

(Pages Widget settings – sorting options)

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

Pages Widget settings - exclude pages

(Pages Widget settings – exclude pages by ID)

We provide a tutorial on how to find a WordPress page ID here: Finding WordPress Page And Post IDs

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

Links to your main pages will now display on your sidebar …

WordPress Pages Widget on blog sidebar

(Pages Widget on sidebar)

Practical Tip

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

Add Links To Your Blog Sidebar

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

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

WordPress Links section

(WordPress Links section)

Note: We plan to create a separate tutorial that explains how to use the Links feature.

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 …

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 navigation menu …

WordPress Links Widget Settings

(WordPress Links Widget Settings)

You can add as many separate ‘Link Widgets’ to the 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 The Sidebar Area

(Add Multiple WordPress 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

(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

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

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

Links added to WordPress sidebar section

(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 link lists to your WordPress sidebar.

Adding And Configuring Widgets On Your Sidebar

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This is the end of part three of this tutorial.

Click here to continue:

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