Apart from ready-to-use plugins, WordPress also allows you to use widgets. A widget is a small block which is developed to carry out a particular function. Usually, widgets (those that WordPress features by default) can be added to the sidebar of your site. When you want to use WordPress widgets, you simply need to drag and drop them into your sidebar from inside the dashboard of your WordPress site.
Different widgets perform different functions. A few widgets that WordPress comes along with by default include –
- Tag cloud
- Recent posts
- Recent Comments
Since widgets are ready-to-use, they don’t require you to possess programming or coding knowledge. You can use widgets in the same easy way as you do with plugins. In fact, using WordPress widgets is easier than using WordPress plugins. A WordPres plugin needs to be downloaded, installed and activated while a widget only needs to be dragged and dropped in the widget area and it will instantly start to function. Also, you can easily remove or rearrange widgets according to your specific requirements.
Though widgets are usually added to the sidebar, where else you can add them depends on the kind of WordPress theme you’re using. If you want to use more widgets, you should take a closer look at the kind of widget support your selected WordPress theme has to offer.
Now that you understand why you need widgets and how they allow you to add new content and features to your site, you should also know how you can use them.
Here’s how to use a default WordPress widget –
- Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
- In the left navigation, go to Appearance and then click on Widgets.
- Have a look at the widgets in the list.
- Select the widget you want to use, and drag and drop it into sidebar.
You can repeat these steps for each widget that you want to use on your WordPress site. Whether it’s the default widgets or additional widgets, you’ll find them all listed in the widgets section. From here, you can easily add, remove or reorder widgets as required.
If you have an activated theme which offers additional widgets in different locations (header, footer, below content etc.) you can manage it all from the widgets section.
Apart from other widgets, one widget that WordPress offers you by default and which is extremely useful is the Text widget. This widget gives you the freedom to create customized widgets. Using this widget, you can add a list of the Top 10 list of blogs in your niche or a banner which advertises an e-book you recently created.
If you want to run an advertising banner from some other company or organization, you can simply get the code, drag and drop the text widget into the sidebar and then paste the code into the space provided by the text widget. Even if you want to add a Facebook Like box to your sidebar, the text widget can be used.