WordPress Widgets – Theme Twenty Twelve – Front Page Template Has Bottom Widgets – Default Template Has Sidebar Widgets
Definition – Location – Installation – Popular Widgets Listed
You can add widgets in any WordPress theme that has a sidebar. Many themes also have other locations for widgets. For example theme Twenty Twelve has bottom widgets when you use the Front Page Template.
WordPress Widgets are small bits of code that add a function or design element such an image to the website. You do not need to write any code or be able to understand it. The widgets use directions and menus that are in text that you simply read.
When you install WordPress it will come automatically with a basic selection of widgets. Some of the most common default widgets that might come with your theme include Text Widgets. These widgets can be used to type some text you would like to add to the sidebar.
They can also be used to paste in some code such as subscription sign up code that you would copy from your account at your email subscriptions provider.
Adding a default widget that automatically came with your WordPress installation to a sidebar involves these steps.
- Go to your Dashboard.
- Go to Appearance.
- Go to Widgets.
- In the Widget screen you will see available widgets with their names or labels.
- On the right hand side of the screen will be the area labeled Sidebar.
- There may also be additional widget areas such as First Homepage Widget, Second Homepage Widget and so on.
- Put your mouse over a widget that you wish to use such as a Text Widget.
- Drag the widget over and drop it in one of the sections or dividers.
- Click the down arrow of the widget to open it.
- If it is a Text Widget you will see a small text box with room for a title and some text.
- Type in the information you wish to add. Remember that the visible widget area on the front of the website will be small and somewhat narrow. Keep the text short.
- Click Save at the bottom of the widget. That is it, you are done.
Adding a Widget That Is Not Included in the Default Widgets Means You Will Need to Add a Plugin That Will Supply the Widget
- This does not mean it is complex. It only adds some more steps.
- Go to Dashboard.
- Go to Plugins.
- Go to Add New.
- Type the keywords in the search box to find a plugin that will fit your needs. For instance, you might type in Linked Image Widget.
- The list that pops up will have stars to indicate ratings and brief summaries of information about the plugins.
- Click Install to install one of the plugins.
- Go to Installed Plugins on your Dashboard.
- Click Activate under the name of the plugin.
- Go to Appearance, Widgets.
- Drag your new widget over to the widget area. There are multiple widget areas so choose where you want to have it.
- Click to open the Widget and follow the directions to use it or to add some settings.
Deleting a Widget. To delete a widget open it and then click the Delete button in the bottom of the widget. You also remove the widget from the sidebar by dragging the widget from the widget area on the right of the screen to the bottom of the screen where inactive widgets are located.
Popular WordPress Widgets
You can search under plugins for widgets that provide an almost infinite number of features and functions for your widget areas.
Social Media Follow Us Widgets
- Social media widgets are among the most often used widgets. These include widgets Follow Us type buttons.
- Simply type social media follow buttons into the plugins search box and you will see a list of choices.
- Install and Activate the plugin.
- Then go to the Widgets area and you will see that your widget has been added.
- Drag it over to the sidebar or other widget area.
- There will be a down arrow to click to open it.
- Type or paste in the URLs for your facebook, twitter and other social media pages in the boxes with those labels.
- Choose the size and style of buttons that you wish.
- Click to Save. Your new widget will be showing on the website now.
Categories, or Collapsing Categories Widget
This widget will list all the categories for the posts on your site. There will be arrows next to each category. When someone clicks the arrow a list will open of all the posts written under that category. It is a way to help your visitors navigate the site.
If you have a huge number of posts under each category then the visitor can easily skim read the list. If you only list categories then when someone clicks a category the page will jump to the most recent article posted in that category and it will be necessary to scroll down to see the other articles. It is easier and faster to just choose an article from a collapsing category list.
To add the Collapsing Category widget you will need to add the plugin for it. Follow the steps listed above to locate, install and activate it. Then drag the widget to a widget area on the sidebar.
Popular Widgets Used on This Site
Social Media Widget. At the top of the sidebar on the pages and posts other than the homepage I am using what is called “Social Media Widget.” As described above you simply paste in the addresses of your social media pages. Visitors can click on an icon and jump to your social media at facebook, twitter and so on. There they can click to Follow.
Search This Site Widget. If your theme does not come with this widget automatically just use the steps above to install a plugin to provide it.
Collapsing Categories. This is described earlier in the article.
Text Widget. Described earlier in the article. Type some text or paste in some code.
Pulse Maps. This widget comes from adding a plugin. It shows a map of the world. The visits from the past 30 days are located on the map with orange and white dots show locations of visitors currently on the site.