In the first blog post on ‘What Is WordPress?’ we mentioned widgets in WordPress. We shall find out more about these now. What is a widget?
A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs some specific functions. You can add these widgets in sidebars, also known as widget-ready areas on your web page or blog.
WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple way to add design and control structure of the WordPress theme to the user. We can easily drag widgets and drop them into a specific widget area, to our wish. We can find the list of available widgets and widget areas by going to the Appearance » Widgets section in your WordPress dashboard.
Features Of Widgets
Widgets allow us to add content and features in the widgetized areas of your theme, mostly the sidebar. But they can also be used the header, footer, sidebar, below content, and basically any other area in your theme. The available widget areas that you have in your theme will vary from theme to theme.
A lot of WordPress themes are widget ready and include multiple widget areas. However, themes are not really required to have widget areas. If no widget areas are seen, then it means that your theme does not support widgets.
Types Of Widgets
There are various types of WordPress widgets. WordPress by default comes with a lot of widgets including categories, tag cloud, navigation menu, calendar, search, recent posts and so on.
WordPress widgets are mostly standalone areas of code that perform a specific function. Plugins usually add their own widgets to provide users with more control over the display of plugin functions. For instance, OIO Publisher allows you to add a specific banner ad zone in your widget areas by using the widget.
Some useful and most commonly used widgets are:
A recent posts widgets allow your visitors to see a list of your website’s latest posts. It allows you to display recent posts with thumbnails, and uses featured image or the first image in a post as a thumbnail. You can adjust the height and width of the image from widget’s settings screen.
As the name suggests Category Posts Widget displays recent posts from a selected category. You can show post titles as a list, or select to show excerpt and thumbnail. Using it with Display Widgets will let you show hide widgets on specific pages in WordPress.
Simple Social Icons
This is a really simple widget to add social icons like Facebook, Instagram, etc. to your sidebars. All the configuration options will be in the widget’s settings. You are able to choose which social networks to link to and add your profile URLs. You can also modify the icon by selecting background and icon font color.
Google Maps Widget
An easy way to add a map to your site’s sidebar is by using Google Maps Widget. This simple widget lets you display a Google map as a widget. When a user clicks on the map, the map opens in a larger format, as a lightbox popup.
Social Count Plus
You may have seen widgets like this on some popular websites. This widget allows you to display your social media follower count in your sidebar. The social proof helps you build trust and a loyal following among your viewers.
One way to add an image to a website is by using HTML. However, not many people know how to do this, and it takes a long time. The Image Widget solves this problem by allowing users to add an image through the media uploader in WordPress. It also provides a graphical UI to add caption, text, and choose the image size.
YouTube Channel Gallery
This widget lets you display latest videos from your YouTube channel (if you do have one) on your WordPress site. It displays your videos in a simple grid layout, which takes less space and looks more intriguing.
Tabbed Login Widget
One way to add the login form to WordPress sidebar is by using the Tabbed Login Widget. As the name suggests, it adds a tabbed widget for login, registration and password recovery forms. This allows users to quickly login into your site without having to access the admin area.
Simple Contact Info
Simple Contact Info allows you to easily add your contact information, social icons, location information, etc. by filling out a form. After that, you can simply drag and drop contact information widgets to your sidebar to display this information.
Feature a Page Widget
This simple plugin allows you to add a page as a featured page in your WordPress sidebar. It allows you to display a page title, featured image, and excerpt neatly.
Hope you found this article useful. Any query? Feel free to ask it on our Discussion Forum.