At their very core, WordPress widgets are little blocks of code that can be added to specific areas of a WordPress powered website in order to add additional content and/or functionality.
Originally, widgets were created and developed in order to allow users to have a simple and easy way to have more control over the design and structure of their WordPress themes. WordPress widgets are very simple to use and require no coding experience on the part of the webmaster.
Widget areas are special sections of your website that as you might guess, allow you to place your selected widgets. While it’s not required, most WordPress themes are widget ready and have multiple areas for you to place widgets.
When it comes down to where widget areas are displayed, everything is controlled by the functions.php file for your WordPress theme. Widget areas are typically located in your theme’s sidebar, however depending on the theme, they can be located anywhere on the page.
In the image to the right, we show three of the four widget areas from the Metro Pro StudioPress theme. Each area allows a user to include a widget to be displayed on the homepage. While you can include any widget you like, it’s typical that many WordPress themes will automatically install their own widgets which are intended to be used in their intended widget area.
Displaying Your Widgets
Before your widgets can show up where you want them on your site, you need to figure out how to properly display them. In WordPress, this couldn’t be easier. In order to display a widget in WordPress you simply login to your website’s backend, and hover over the Appearance menu item on the left hand side of your screen. When hovering, select the sub-menu item labeled “widgets” in order to bring up your widgets page.
On the widgets page, there is a section on the left side titled “Available Widgets”. Below the title is a collection of all the widgets currently available for use on your site. You can always add more widgets later, but the page will only show the default widgets that came installed with WordPress, the widgets installed by your theme, and lastly, the widgets you may have installed yourself.
On the right side of the widgets page are your widget areas. These are the designated areas of your website’s theme where your widgets can be displayed. To make your widgets display on the frontend of your website, simply click and drag the widgets of your choice from the available widgets section on your left, over to the designated widget areas of your choosing on the right of the page. Making widgets display on your websites is as simple as that.
Finding New Widgets
Getting new widgets for your WordPress site is extremely easy. You install widgets the same way you install WordPress plugins. By default, WordPress ships with a standard set of widgets available to every WordPress user. If the standard widget set is not quite what you’re after, you can head over to the WordPress Plugins Directory and search for the widget you’re looking for.
Installing new widget couldn’t be easier. Simply head login to the administrative backend of your WordPress site. Hover over the menu item on the left labeled Plugins. Next, click on the sub menu item in the popout labeled “Add New”, which will direct you to the page shown in the image above.
From there, you can opt to install plugins by either uploading them manually, or you can simply search for new plugins and download them from the WordPress Plugin Directory. Once your widget is installed, they will automatically appear in the available widgets section of the widgets page of your site.
Anywhere your theme has a widget area, you can add a new widget. If you want to add a widget area to your website’s theme where there isn’t one currently, if you know a little programming you can quickly make it happen. If not, well you can use the ChillyBin Maintenance Services. Our experts can customize your website and theme to fit your every need.
In conclusion, WordPress widgets are very useful. They allow you to quickly and easily add new content and features to your website with only a few clicks of your mouse.