Recently someone asked a question in the Blogging Tips Q&A section, wanting to know what some of the most used sidebar plugins are for WordPress. It’s a really great question considering all of the different types of widgets that you can download and use in your blog sidebar.

However, there are so many useful sidebar widget plugins, that there’s just no way to list them all. So, we’re just going to take a look at 6 of the highest rated sidebar plugins for WordPress, with a few honorable mentions.

Tabbed Login Widget

Tabbed Login Widget - WordPress Plugin

This plugin does just what it says: adds a tabbed login widget to your sidebar. If you’re familiar with WordPress’s default “meta” widget, you know that it’s pretty plain and only has a single section. With this plugin, you can turn that into a beautiful multi-tabbed widget, which is not only cleaner than the default, but also more inviting to your users.


SocialIcons - WordPress Plugin

This plugin makes it easy to add social icons, linking to your social profiles, in your blog sidebar. What’s unique about this plugin is that you can use the Iconfinder to search for social icons, and then choose the one that you like the best to display.

You may also want to check out EP Social Widget, a very small and easy to use widget for displaying social icons.

Social Contests

If you’ve ever wanted to run a contest or special offer on your blog, this is a great plugin to do so. The widget is customizable and can be displayed on a page or in your sidebar. You can use it to run a store-wide or item discount offer on your blog and/or Facebook. You’ll also get detailed stats so that you can see how your contest or offer is doing.

Social Contests - WordPress Plugin

It’s tight-knit integration with Facebook also allows it to automatically post to the user’s profile when they enter a contest or get an offer from your blog. Social Contests can also integrate with MailChimp and WP eCommerce.

Display Scheduled Posts

Display Scheduled Posts - WordPress Plugin
Image Credit: Serradinho Blog

As the name of this plugin implies, it is used to display schedule blog posts in your sidebar. Some blog owners like to give their readers a glimpse of what’s to come. If you schedule posts weeks or even days in advanced, this is a great way to get return visits – in anticipation of future posts. There are other plugins that can display scheduled posts, but this one is unique because you can enter user defined text for the title of those posts. This way, you don’t have to give away too much if you don’t want to.

You may also like SOUP – Show off Upcoming Posts as well. It’s another great option.

Optimized Dropdown Menus

Optimized Dropdown Menus - WordPress Plugin

This is a simple plugin that creates dropdown navigation menus for your sidebar. The difference between this and other dropdown menus? With this plugin, your menus will be “spiderable” (searchable) by search engine bots. From the widget area, you can choose which navigation menu to display. You can also enable HTML5 nav elements if desired.

Juiz Last Tweet Widget

Juiz Last Tweet Widget - WordPress Plugin

Are you looking for a stylish way to add your latest tweet(s) to your blog? If so, Juiz Last Tweet Widget is the perfect solution. You can show your latest tweet(s) and give your readers the ability to retweet, favorite and reply to you on Twitter – all right from your blog sidebar. Since the plugin doesn’t use JavaScript, it won’t affect the speed of your page load.

Honorable Mentions

Content Widget – Displays the content of a post of any type in your sidebar.

Eli’s WordCents adSense Widget with Analytics – An easy way to display AdSense in your sidebar – complete with a pop-out fixed position ad widget and customizable analytics.

Weekly Archive Widget – Create a widget that displays your blog archives by the week, instead of by the month like the default archive widget.

WP-FaceThumb – Allows your visitors to take pictures with their webcams and post them to your blog. Pictures are then displayed in a widget on your sidebar.

What is your favorite WordPress plugin for your sidebar?