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Saturday, February 27, 2021
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Sloth Gets Widgetized (Adding Widgets to Your WordPress Website)

Now that Zip has a theme configured, he wants to add some stuff to his sidebars and footer. He'll do that using a widget. Here's how to add a widget in WordPress.

Home » WordPress and Blogging » Sloth Makes a Blog » Blog Basics » WordPress Design and Appearance » Sloth Gets Widgetized (Adding Widgets to Your WordPress Website)

I’ve mentioned widgets before in this series. Now, Zip is finally ready to add some to Slothverse.com as he’s added a theme that uses both a sidebar and widgetized footer areas. So let’s go over how to add widgets in WordPress to your sidebar and footer.

Not every theme will have widgetized footer areas. Being able to use widgets in your footer is nice, however, because you can easily add things like navigation menus, affiliate disclosures, social links…whatever you want.

How to Add Widgets in WordPress

You can add widgets from two different places: your customizer or in Appearance>Widgets. It doesn’t really make a difference where you add them, but I prefer not to launch the customizer every time I want to make a change to my sidebar or footer, so I almost always use the widgets area in the admin menu. That will look something like this:

how to add widgets in wordpress

Note that Zip has installed Nimble Builder, which has added all sorts of various widget areas. We’re not going to worry about these right now. The theme he’s using has a primary sidebar, which is shown on posts as well as on the homepage, a secondary sidebar which only shows on the homepage and select pages, and four footer areas (but he’s configured his theme to use three.) There’s also the potential to put a fullwidth something in a footer widget area — that might be an excellent place for a scrolling gallery, Instagram thingie, or a fullwidth newsletter subscription form. Still, we won’t worry about that for now.

To the left, you can see all of the available widgets. You add a widget to an area by merely dragging and dropping the widget into the area you want. You can then reorder them by dragging and dropping, as in the video below.

Dragging and dropping widgets into widgetized areas.

Some widgets may have a title you can enter or customized settings. Your theme or plugins may add widgets to the mix.

Which Widgets Should I Use?

That’s up to you! Investigate and see what you have available. WordPress comes with a bunch of default widgets. Some things you might want to include:

In the Sidebar:

In the sidebar, some things to consider are:

  • An “About Me” widget with a photo and some basic information about you — especially if its a single-author blog — or about your website.
  • A search widget to make it easier for people to search your website (thought I like to add search in the header as well.)
  • Social icons with links to your social media profiles (Zip doesn’t have any social accounts yet so he’ll add those later.)
  • A sidebar ad, that is if you’re monetizing your blog. I’ve found the sidebar ad placement to be one of the better-performing ad placements.
  • Recent posts or popular posts. WordPress comes with a recent posts widget, but with little styling. Your theme or a plugin can add popular posts –just add one with the awareness that some popular posts plugins can add loading time to your website.
  • A newsletter subscription box (if you plan to maintain an email list and send out post updates or newsletters to promote your blog.)

In the Footer:

  • A short nav menu with links to some of your pages.
  • A privacy statement and/or affiliate disclosure with a link to your privacy page.
  • A newsletter subscription form.
  • Social links
  • A post archives calendar or list.

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Cheryl is a former Occupational Therapist and WordPress enthusiast who became a writer in some parallel universe and occasionally, but infrequently, publishes things in this one. She writes two blogs (or is it three) which she won't quit because she knows that blogs, in her case, are like a hydra and if she cuts one off two more will take its place. When she's not doing that, she enjoys hiking, cycling, kayaking (formerly fast, now ebike), messing around with Adobe illustrator, making assorted things, meditating (though she wouldn't call that "like," and reading. She normally doesn't speak about herself in the third person, but she sometimes uses "we" in the royal sense while writing this blog. She lives in Poulsbo, WA with her spouse, her youngest adult daughter, a very old mutt, and a Siamese cat.
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