The Widgets section found within your WordPress Dashboard is a very important area. You will use this section to customize any Widgets in wordpress. This may include the sidebar, footer, header and other areas, depending on your theme.
Accessing the Widgets Section-Widgets in wordpress
If you want to access the Widgets section in WordPress, you simply go to Appearance >> Widgets. This will bring you to a page looking like this:
Within this section of your dashboard, you will be able to drag and drop widgets into any widget-ready area. By default, WordPress will have one widget-ready area, which is your sidebar. Some themes may provide areas, such as the footer, additional sidebars or the header as widget-ready areas, as well.
Working With Widgets
Working with widgets in WordPress is very easy. All you have to do is pick up the widget you want to add to the sidebar and drag it over to the sidebar. Once you have the widgets you want to display within the widget area, you can drag and drop them in any order you prefer. You can also drag and drop them outside the widget area to remove them from the sidebar.
You can add as many widgets as you want to each widget area and even add duplicates, if necessary.
What does Each Default Widget do in WordPress?
WordPress comes with 12 default widgets you can use to customize your sidebar area. More widgets are added through plugins and themes. Some themes will come with their own set of customized widgets, while many plugins come with a widget, as well. Here’s a look at what each of the 12 default widgets does in WordPress.
The Archives widget will allow you to show a monthly archive of all the blog posts you have created. Once you add this widget to the widget area, you can decide to add a title for it, display the widget as a dropdown and even show how many posts are archived in each category.
The Calendar widget will display a calendar within the sidebar of your WordPress widget. Visitors can click on any date highlighted to find the posts you added to your site for that specific day.
When you add the Categories widget to your sidebar, you will be able to display a list of the categories you are using for your blog posts. If you add a new category, it will automatically show up within this section.
You have the option to show the categories as a dropdown menu, show the post count for each category and even show your categories at a hierarchy.
After you have create a custom menuWorking with Custom Menus in the WordPress Dashboard to learn more about them.
You may not use the Meta widget much, but it will allow you to add the Login, RSS and WordPress.org links to your website. Some WordPress users don’t prefer to display this information, but it does work for some types of websites.
The Pages widget will allow you to show a list of all the pages you have created for your site. If you want to show only a select set of pages, you will need to create a custom menu and add it with the custom menu widget. However, if you want to display all of your pages, this is the widget you will want to use.
Within the Pages widget, you can exclude pages by using the Page IDs. However, this is time consuming and often, it’s easier to just create a custom menu, especially if you have more than 15 pages on your site.
You will also have the option to sort the pages within this widget by title, ID or order.
When you create blog posts and visitors comment on your posts, you can display the most recent comments in your side bar. The Recent Comments widget will allow you to choose how many comments you want to display, as well.
Recent Posts is a very self-explanatory widget. It’s also one of the most popular to use. Add this widget to your sidebar and you will be able to display your most recent posts for all to see. You can choose how many posts to show and you can even have the date displayed with the post.
The RSS widget allows you to add an RSS feed to your sidebar. All you need is the URL of the RSS feed. You can give the feed a title, decide how many items to show, show the content of each time, show the author of each time and show the date of each item, within this widget.
If you want to add a search box to your sidebar, the Search widget will allow you to add one.
The Tag Cloud widget will allow you to display a group of all the tags you have used for blog posts. This widget can also be used to display a cloud of your categories, if you change the Taxonomy.
Many WordPress users find that the Text widget is their go-to widget for anything they can’t get a plugin for or don’t know how to display. This is a simple widget with a title section and a content section. You can add in code to display images, ads, links or whatever you want within the content section.
A Few More Things to Know about WordPress Widgets
It’s important to note that many plugins will add additional widgets you can use. For example, if you install a plugin to add social buttons to your website, there’s a good chance you can use a widget to display those buttons. Anytime you install a new plugin with a widget, you will find the widget within this section of your WordPress Dashboard.
Another thing to note, if you want to delete a widget from your sidebar, you can simply drag it and drop it outside the area. You can also click the “delete” link at the bottom of the widget.
There are two options for closing a widget once you have opened it, as well. You can click the “Close” link at the bottom or the dropdown arrow at the top of the widget.
If you have any widgets that you want to remove from the sidebar without losing the settings within the widget, you can use the “Inactive Widgets” area. This area will allow you to store widgets without losing settings.
Finally, you can manage your widgets from the Widget section or you can do it from the Customizer. If you prefer to use the Customizer, you can click the link at the top of the Widget section to manage widgets from the WordPress Customizer.
If you don’t understand how to use the Customizer in WordPress, you can get to know it better with our tutorial, Understanding the Customizer in Your WordPress Dashboard.
Now you should have a better understanding of how to use the Widget section within the WordPress Dashboard. If you need a better understanding of the WordPress Dashboard, you can use our tutorial titled, Getting to Know the WordPress Dashboard.