How to Enhance Websites with WordPress Widgets - dummies

How to Enhance Websites with WordPress Widgets

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

WordPress widgets are very helpful tools built in to WordPress. They enable you to easily arrange how your content — such as your blogroll, recent posts, and monthly and category archive lists — appears in your website sidebar. With widgets, you can arrange and display the content in the sidebar without knowing PHP or HTML.

Widget areas are the editable regions defined in your theme that enable you to insert or arrange content, such as a list of your recent blog posts, links to your favorite sites, or new custom menus, by simply dragging and dropping (and editing) available widgets on the Dashboard’s Widgets page into those corresponding areas.

Many of the available widgets offered by WordPress (and those added sometimes by WordPress themes and plugins) provide drag-and-drop ease of installation of more advanced functions that would typically be available only if you wrote code directly into your theme files.

To view the widgets available for use on your website, choose Appearance→Widgets from the Dashboard. The Widgets page appears, displaying the available widgets on the left side of the page. This page enables you to control what features you use and where you place them — all without knowing a lick of code.


By default, the footer and sidebar in the Twenty Thirteen theme are widgetized, meaning the footer and sidebar areas expand to show any content you add to any of the two widget-ready areas.

When you activate the Twenty Thirteen theme, the Widgets page on your Dashboard shows two widget areas:

  • Main Widget Area

  • Secondary Widget Area

With the Twenty Thirteen theme activated on your site, the first widget area, Main Widget Area, displays widgets on your website in the footer area. The Secondary Widget Area displays widgets in the right sidebar of your website.

The number and appearance of widgets will vary depending on the theme you’re currently using on your website. The Twenty Thirteen theme has two widget areas, but another theme may have more, to accommodate more content areas on your site.