Widgets are small pieces of computer code that provide features.
The sidebar is the narrower column showing on the left or right side of the website.
Basics of Widgets and Plugins
There are widgets for text, images, lists of links, lists of posts and so on. There are thousands of free widgets that you can download to add features to your website. Often you first download a “plugin” and this causes the widget to appear on your screen with the other widgets available.
Browser Recommendation: Use Firefox or Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer to get the best results when adding widgets. More about this later in the article.
Installing Plugins to Create Widgets
To look for plugins you can go to Plugins on your dashboard menu. In the screen that opens up you’ll see choices so you can browse popular plugins, new plugins, and so on to find plugins that are recommended. Then you click to install them, click to activate them, and go to the widgets area to use them.
Troubleshooting: If the widgets won’t drag over to the sidebar try using Firefox for your browser. Sometimes the widgets have been known to stick or refuse to move when dragged if people are using Internet Explorer. Other issues have been known to occur as well.
WordPress websites and blogs usually have one or more sidebars. The features you see there are added by using “Widgets.”
Adding the Widget to the Sidebar
To add a widget go to the Dashboard or back end of the website where you can do the designing. Drag your mouse down the left menu on the side to Appearance and a little menu will show to the side of that with some choices including “Widgets.” Click on Widgets.
You’ll see that most of the screen has a lot of Widgets in an inactive area. You can choose a Widget, such as a Text Widget, and drag it over to the far right where the sidebar on the public website would be and drop it there. Click the little arrow to open it and you’ll see the Text Widget has a place for a title and some information to be typed into a box. Add your information.
Then go look at the public side of the website and you’ll see the widget has been added. There! That wasn’t too difficult was it!
Editing Widgets, Deleting Widgets
If you decide to edit the widget or delete it go back to your dashboard, then to Appearance and Widgets. Go to the Text Widget you just added and click the little arrow to open it. Then in the lower left corner click where it says Delete. It’s gone from the sidebar now. You can go to the public website area and check.
There are a wide variety of widgets and we’ll cover more information later.