WordPress widgets are designed to give users of the platform a quick and easy way to manage the layout and content of their websites without having to know any coding. They let you add a variety of supplementary content to your website that isn’t actually part of the article or page itself, enticing visitors to read more, click on links, or perform other actions. I’m going to go over all you need to know about WordPress widgets in this article.

What are Widgets?

WordPress widgets are computer programs that may be used to quickly and easily add a variety of interactive elements to websites. Widgets are often perceived as buttons or icons and are situated at the top, bottom, or sidebar of your website.

WordPress widgets were developed to give users of the platform a quick and easy method to manage the layout and content of their websites without having to know any coding.

Most WordPress themes are widget-compatible. The widget places in your WordPress theme may be in the header, footer, sidebar, immediately below the body of your blog post, or virtually anywhere else. These parts may change depending on the topic. Using code, extra widget areas may be added.

WordPress already has built-in widgets. These can include a wide variety of content kinds, including media, social media feeds, navigation, search, maps, and many others. There isn’t much that you might need for your website for which there isn’t a widget.

Later on in the text, we’ll go into greater information about them. You may utilize the preloaded WordPress widgets without installing any plugins or writing any code. However, you can also add a ton more widgets by developing your own or using plugins.

WordPress Widgets vs WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins are programs that let you increase the features and functionality of your WordPress website. As the name suggests, you may “plug-in” software to enhance or add to current functionality on your website without knowing how to code. The characteristics of the plugin will determine whether it makes modest or significant modifications to the way your site works.

The main difference between the two is that, while WordPress widgets may be used to bring content blocks to the front end, plugins can be used to add additional features or functionalities to your website including adding more WordPress widgets you can use. However, not all plugins include widgets. It largely relies on the plugin’s intended use.

Contrarily, widgets are drag-and-drop content blocks that you can utilize to add to the sidebar and other places of your website. Your WordPress installation by default includes a few widgets, and you can add more widgets by utilizing specific plugins.

Plugins maintain a page’s smooth operation and function in the background, but users can interact with and see WordPress widgets visible on a page.

Importance of WordPress widgets

Make Your Website Easily Navigable.

WordPress widgets are a great method to assist direct visitors across your website. By including a search widget, you may help visitors reach their destination as soon as possible. All they need to do is tap your search term into the search field, and you’ll be on your way. You may also highlight the topics you believe the visitor might be interested in using a Recent Posts or Navigation Menu widget.

Build Your Brand

You can introduce yourself or your business to your audience by including an “About Us” section on your sidebar. Then, you can write a bio and display your face or company logo using a Text or Text and Image WordPress widget. To strengthen your visual brand, you can also add personalized picture links using the Image widget.

Make Use of Space

With the use of WordPress widgets, you may maximize the amount of room on your website without making it look busy or unattractive. The footer is a one-page component that you can modify if your theme supports it. This portion, which is located at the bottom of your website, is the same on every page.

It’s a fantastic area to put your contact information, a search widget, your follow blog widget or even links to recent posts.

Build a Community

Websites created using WordPress.com are designed for community building as well as straightforward content administration. Use a Top Posts and Pages, My Community, or Recent Comments WordPress.com widget to encourage your visitors to engage with your website and one another. Increase the size of your email list by including the Follow Blog widget in your sidebar or footer.

You can also use the Instagram, Twitter, or Flickr Social Icon widgets to draw attention to your social media profiles. You can either link to your accounts on other platforms or display your social feed directly on the page.

Types of Widgets

News Widgets

One of the most crucial WordPress site extensions is the news widget. They can be used to show visitors to a website the most recent blog posts, articles, and comments as well as new goods. WordPress RSS widgets, on the other hand, allow readers to subscribe to their feeds in addition to prominently displaying new updates from your pages or other websites. These automatically stay current with the automatic RSS feed when using the right feed readers.

Call-to-Action Widgets

A widget with a call to action feature is a terrific tool for motivating users to take action. CTA WordPress widgets are a fantastic way to encourage website visitors to take action. They can be used by readers who are enthusiastic about the posts or who are interested in the products to leave their email addresses, subscribe to an RSS feed, add a promotional item to their shopping cart, or get in touch with them with inquiries.

Your WordPress widget can be a straightforward button, or you can design something more customized using a text widget, HTML widget, or even an image widget—all of which are pre-installed with WordPress.

Navigation Widgets

They enable site visitors to search for particular terms, items, and phrases, navigate to specific categories or keywords, or filter posts by month or date. The Categories or Tag Cloud widgets, as well as the Navigation Menu widget, are a few options you can use for this purpose.

You can create a custom navigation menu in addition to the primary navigation menu for your website using the Navigation Menu widget, which you can then add to a widget area. Although this will only work if you have a short navigation menu, you could even add your primary navigation menu to a widget area.

People who reach the end of a post will be more likely to explore your site if you add a navigation menu to the footer. It’s especially useful for mobile visitors who may need to scroll extensively to return to the top-level navigation menu after finishing an article.

You may even incorporate a Google search widget to allow users to conduct searches across the web without having to leave your website.

Media Widgets

By including media in your sidebar or footer, you’ll give viewers something to look at or interact with while also bringing life to your website. You can use the built-in Image widget to display any image in your sidebar or footer. Visitors are immediately informed of new information through image galleries and are then directed to the source by integrated links.

You can stream video from Vimeo or YouTube directly into the widget area of your website with the video WordPress widget. This is especially helpful if your website has dedicated widget areas for the home page, but it can also work well in the footer to draw users’ attention at the end of posts.

Social Media Widgets

Use social media widgets to direct users to your social media channels and profiles from your WordPress website. These are essentially feed widgets as well, but they focus on showing the most current social media posts on the website.

Installing the Jetpack plugin, which has all of these and many more, is one way to get access to social media widgets for the most popular platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).

Each social networking platform has its own plugins, which are all freely downloadable from the plugin directory. Alternatively, you can locate third-party plugins that allow you to alter how your social network feed is displayed.

Shopping Cart Widgets

Use shopping cart WordPress widgets that are visible in the header, footer, or sidebar if you’re using WordPress to build an online store because they route customers from the store area to the shopping cart. Products from your online store can also be shown using product widgets.

If your theme has a widget section in the header, you might place this there for more visibility or in the sidebar so that users can quickly see it.

Shopping cart widgets and other e-commerce widgets are included in e-commerce plugins like WooCommerce, so once you’ve added e-commerce to your site, you’ll see them added to your Widgets panel.

Contact Widgets

Contact widgets make it simple for users to get in touch with you directly when they have inquiries, issues, or need more information. Visitors are directed to the contact form using a contact widget, which is often located in the footer.

WordPress does not come with a form widget, but you may add plugins to your site to add one, such as the free Contact Form 7 or the more expensive but extremely potent Gravity Forms. Mailing list widgets are an additional choice that allows users to insert email addresses for newsletters and email marketing. GetResponse, Emma, or Mailjet are among the MailChimp alternatives that can be used for this.

Default WordPress Widgets Available

  • Archives: link to archives by month, designed for blogs.
  • Calendar: a calendar of your posts, again suitable for blogs especially if yours is time-sensitive
  • Custom HTML: add whatever content you want by typing or pasting in the HTML (like Google forms or custom widgets). Avoid if you aren’t comfortable with coding.
  • Image: display an image from your media library.
  • Navigation Menu: show the main navigation menu or a separate one you create.
  • Recent Comments: a list of recent comments with links to them.
  • Tag Cloud: a list of tags in a cloud format, with links to the relevant archives.
  • Video: embed a video from YouTube or any other streaming service.
  • Audio: embed a podcast, a player, a song or other audio clips (suggested: How to Start a Podcast Using WordPress).
  • Categories: a list of the categories in your blog, with links to the archive pages.
  • Gallery: more advanced than the image widget, display a gallery of images.
  • Meta: metadata such as login links and RSS feeds. A hangover from WordPress’s early days and not very useful now.
  • Pages: show a list of your site’s pages with links.
  • Recent Posts: display a list of your most recent posts to encourage people to read them.
  • Search: a simple search box.
  • Text: any text you want to add, such as information about the site.

Adding WordPress Widgets to Your Website

Method 1: Using Customize function

  • In the WordPress Admin area, navigate to Appearance > Customize
  • Go to the Widget Customize Screen in the Theme Customizer, and click the Widget menu.
  • For a list of the WordPress widgets that have already been registered, click the down arrow in the widget area.
  • At the base of the sidebar, select the Add a Widget button. The list of available widgets is displayed.
  • To add a widget, click it. The sidebar should include the widgets.
  • You should be able to see the content of your new Widget when you preview your site.
  • Drag and drop the widgets in the Sidebar into the desired order to arrange them.
  • Click the down arrow to the right of the Widget to expand its interface and change its features.
  • In the step above, click Remove from the widget’s interface to remove the widget.

Method 2: Using the WordPress Widgets Menu From the Dashboard

Use this method if the theme you’re using doesn’t support editing WordPress widgets with the Customizer

  • In the WordPress Administration Screens, select Widgets from the Appearance menu.
  • If your theme has more than one sidebar, select the one you want it to appear in and drag the widget there, or click the widget and select the Add Widget button. Start with the first sidebar choice since there can be more than one. WordPress automatically updates the Theme after installation.
  • Examine the website. You should now only see the new feature and not the “default” sidebar components.
  • To add more widgets, go back to the Widgets Screen.
  • Click and drag the widgets into the desired position within the sidebar or widget area.
  • Click the down arrow in the top right corner to expand the Widget’s interface and access its settings.
  • Click Save to save the Widget’s settings.
  • Click Delete to get rid of a widget.

Drag the widget into the Inactive Widgets section if you wish to delete it but keep its settings for potential future use. From there, you can add them back at any moment. When you switch to a theme with fewer or different widget areas, this is extremely handy.

Adding WordPress Widgets through Plugins

You can choose from among thousands of free WordPress widget plugins in the WordPress plugin directory. In addition to that, many other plugins also come with widgets, such as an e-commerce plugin that gives you a cart widget among other things.

You could choose to include a premium plugin if the plugin directory does not contain the one you require. These occasionally offer more features or a user-friendly interface. But occasionally, a free plugin will have the same functions, therefore before spending money on plugins, conduct a thorough search of the plugin directory.

WordPress widgets can make your website more engaging and aid in increasing signups or client conversion. You can add WordPress widgets to any widget area that already exists in your theme or create new widget areas to accommodate the addition of more WordPress widgets.

I hope this article gave you more insight as to what WordPress widgets are and how important they are to any WordPress website. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments!

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