How to Use WordPress Widgets - dummies

How to Use WordPress Widgets

By Wendy Piersall, Heather B. Armstrong

WordPress widgets are great little tools for customizing your WordPress sidebar. Widgets act like little boxes of information that you can drag and drop into any position on your blog sidebar. Some widgets come installed with WordPress; others you can create on your own.

Widgets are commonly used to display things like your categories, bio, advertising, blog search function, recent comments, page links, or you can drop in your own HTML code as well. You can see the different default WordPress widgets here.


You can drag widgets over to your sidebar and drop them into place. You can rearrange them on the fly and the changes will be automatically applied to your blog sidebar. Put a few things on every blog sidebar to make your blog easy for your readers to use:

  • Search: You always want to make your archived content easy to find.

  • Categories: People expect to be able to find information by topic.

  • Short Bio: Most readers prefer to know a little bit about who is writing a blog. It’s not mandatory, but it can only help you and not hurt you.

The Search and Category widgets are automatically installed as defaults with WordPress. To add a bio, photo, advertising, or anything else custom, you have to put these into a Text Widget and then add it to your sidebar.