While you are developing a WordPress website, you should never ignore the widgets. Functionality offered by the WordPress CMS us by default is quite limited. Therefore, you will need to think about getting help from WordPress widgets to get the full enhanced functionality for your website that WordPress is able to provide. By utilizing the Widgets, you will be able to create the amazing WordPress website according to your perceived design structure. What Widgets do, is to allow you to deliver rich experiences for your visitors by utilizing a few simple tools. This “How To Add And Customize A WordPress Widget” guide has been written to provide instructions on how to customize your site the proper way.
What is a WordPress widget?
WordPress widgets were initially designed with the objective of delivering a simple and a user-friendly experience for the visitors that come to your website. They provide a complete structure as well as design control for the website owner. A WordPress theme only provides basic website building elements, such as a homepage, header, body for text and a footer. How the WordPress widget can help, is to introduce specific functionalities to your website. Functionalities such as “introducing a social media sharing option”, “social media feed”, “calendar” or even a “news display feed”. In addition, a WordPress widget can also help you with the transformation of you entire website into a fully functioning online store. WooCommerce can be considered as a perfect example of a great widget that is available to you on the WordPress platform.
How to Find & Install WordPress Widgets
WordPress provides you with easy options to find, research and install widgets. You can also locate third party widgets independently and install them directly into your WordPress website. To do both of these things, you will need to log into your WordPress website and then visit the WordPress dashboard. There, you will be able to see an option called widgets on the right-side menu.
Mouse over Appearance & click on Widgets to access the Widgets screen.
Once on the Widgets screen, you can utilize the already included Widgets by dragging and dropping the various widgets from the left column to the right-side available Widget areas. If you require additional widgets that are not included with your WordPress theme, you can get them in the form of Plugins. Most plugins come with widgets built directly into them. There are thousands of them available in WordPress.
You just need to go to the Plugins area (also on the left side on your WordPress Dashboard) and click on the “Add New” button in the Plugins area to search and locate more plugins. You just need to go through few simple clicks for the installation of the plugin to start utilizing the new functionality. Once you install the new plugin, you can then go back to your Widget screen and see the new Widget that has been created there from the plugin that you just installed.
The other way to add new Widgets to your site is to go ahead and visit third party Plugin provider websites. There are many third-party websites out there that are in the business of providing custom Plugins. Just do a search on Google for some terms like “Custom WordPress Plugins” or “Where can I download Custom WordPress Plugins”.
The Plugins can be downloaded from third party websites in the form of a zip file. Once you have the new Plugin .zip file, you will have to go back into your website’s WordPress Dashboard and install/upload the Plugin there. This is a super simple process. If you need assistance with the whole Plugin Search and Install process, Click Here for our detailed instructions on WordPress Plugin Installation.
How to Use Installed WordPress Widgets
After the installation of the new Plugin & Widget, you will need to do a bit of additional configuration to get it all working correctly. This configuring process will help you get the Widget ready to display properly on your site. Continue reading this “how to add and customize a WordPress Widget” guide to find out more.
Before you do this, you need to double check and make sure that the specific theme you have installed on the WordPress website is supports the widget that you are going to install. To install and utilize a new Widget, you will need to login to your WordPress Dashboard and navigate to the appearance menu (on the left side). There you will see a “Widgets” option that you need to click on.
If the WordPress theme supports widgets, you can follow the steps below to display the widget. There are two ways to access the Widgets section of your WordPress website. One way is to go to the WordPress Dashboard’s built in Widgets configuration section. Or, the second way is to go through your Theme’s Widget management screen. Both ways are similar in terms of functionality. Below you will find instructions on the second way of editing your Widgets.
- Visit the Appearance area in your WordPress dashboard and Click on Customize.
- Then, click on the Widgets section to access your Theme’s available Widgets.
- Once there, on the left side you will see all of your Theme’s Widget areas that are available for you to edit. Go ahead and click on the one that you would like to edit (for example, click on Sidebar).
- Now, click on the “+ Add a Widget” button to add your widgets. Here, you will see a new column open that you can search through for your desired widget (or you can just scroll up and down through the widgets).
- The cool thing about adding widgets this way is the fact that you can preview what your website looks like live. This way you can change the order of your widgets and fine tune the way they are displayed on your site.
- You will be able to customize the features that are offered by the widgets as well. To do that, just click on the down arrow on the widget that you just added. This will expand the Widget’s interface.
- If you find that you are not liking one of your Widgets you can also remove it here also.
If the widget that you added is not supported, you will need to look for a theme that supports it. There are thousands of WordPress themes available for you to select from.
Conclusion – How To Add And Customize A WordPress Widget
A stand-alone WordPress theme is typically not going to have all of the cool quirks that you are looking for. This is where you Widgets come into play. They are designed to help life easier when trying to add additional functionality to your website. No coding is required on your end (usually), and the Widget interface allows you to pretty much click, drag, drop and roll to get things going. You will be able to boost the overall functionality delivered by your website through the proper usage of Widgets. Widgets are the easiest and most convenient method of transform your website into a feature rich one.
If you are still unsure on how to add and customize a WordPress Widget, you can visit the official WordPress page on Widgets here.