What are WordPress Website Widgets | Beginner’s How-to Guide

WordPress widget is the easiest way to add the desired functionality to your website without coding.
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Did you ever land on a website and wonder by looking at the unique features and functions?

People dream to have a fully-featured website like their competitors. Few are willing to design a WebPage as quickly as possible!

And, do you think, to add a functionality to the website one must be a skilled Web Developer?

I say, NO! Give a try to website widgets and they will help you in this matter.

They were first introduced in 2007 during the release of WordPress 2.2. In the beginning, widgets were simply the way of decorating website and landing page. But in 2021, they are one of the most effective ways of providing best navigation, user experience and generating leads.

A WordPress Website Widget is the easiest and fastest way to add functionality. Just drag-n-drop desired feature into your website theme. Yes, it is that simple!

In this article, we will be discussing,

  1. What are Widgets?
  2. How to add them to your Website?
  3. Some Pro-Tips and CAUTIONS of using Widgets

Now without any further ado, let’s get started,

What are WordPress Website Widgets?

The WordPress widgets are the content or functional boxes that are added into the sidebar, footer, or header of the web page.

Look at the image below,

Infographics WordPress-Website-Widgets-Blog-Page-Illustration-ULTRAdvice-2
Blog Page Illustration of WordPress Website Widget

Widgets like search box, list of a recent post, tags cloud, etc. appear in the right sidebar and Google maps appear in the footer of the web page.

All those functionalities are added with a simple drag-and-drop method.

Let me explain the concept of widgets through an example of a smartphone widget,

You must have seen a Weather, Clock or Calendar widget on your smartphone.

SmartPhone-Widgets-ULTRAdvice
SmartPhone Widget

Now, consider an App and a Widget on smartphone. They both are very different from one another because App works independently, and a widget rely on corresponding app to function properly.

Basically, widget shows information that comes from an App. Ex. a weather widget receives information from weather App.

WordPress Widgets are very similar to the smartphone widgets. They rely on plugins, so to use a widget, you must install corresponding plugin.

Benefits of WordPress Widgets

Each-Time-Coding problem is solved by WordPress Widgets. You can add functionalities like Countdown Timer and Instagram Feed to your website without coding.

Excellent way to improve user experience on your website. They are beginner’s go to tool for designing a website without coding.

Website developers can leverage widgets and deliver the website designs to their clients faster than before.

The good news is,

Every WordPress theme comes with a bunch of basic widgets and widget-active areas. Almost all of the widgets are available for FREE! But few widgets needs to be purchased.

But don’t worry, all paid widgets offer freemium versions with limited functions for basic users.

A Caution!

People who are going to use widgets as a primary tool for building and managing their WordPress website must know that,

Widgets are only added in widget-active areas only i.e., Sidebar, Footer, and Header, etc. These areas are defined by your WordPress Theme. So don’t forget to pre-check your theme’s documentation and read about available widget-active areas.

Let’s pack up,

People like me might love to add readers to their email list. For others who want readers to opt-in for the webinars and follow links to the landing pages.

Widgets can help a lot!

The chances are very rare that you wish a widget to have and will not find it online. If you think I am lying, then check out Elfsight.

How to add Widgets in Sidebar?

Adding widgets is an incredible fun. Results are obtained immediately because of the DRAG-N-DROP method.

DO AS DIRECTED!

Go to your WordPress Backend, and in the left side menu, find “Appearance” and then choose “Widgets”.

I.e. WordPress Admin Panel => Appearance => Widgets

Once you are there, you will see a screen very similar to this. (It may vary depending on your WordPress theme)

WordPress-Widget-Preview-ULTRAdvice
WordPress Widgets Admin Panel Preview

There are two different areas on this screen,

The first one is “AVAILABLE WIDGETS” area where you will find default and installed widgets.

WordPress-Website-Widget-Available-Widgets-Section-ULTRAdvice-min
Section 1: Available Widgets

The second one is “Widget Area” where you will be adding widgets.

WordPress-Website-Widget-Sidebar-Section-ULTRAdvice
Section 2: Sidebar

Now let’s do some real work,

Select your desired/sample widget from the “Available Widgets” section and drag them to the destination area (“Sidebar”) as shown below,

WordPress-Website-Widget-Adding-Illustration-ULTRAdvice
Dragging widget from AVAILABLE WIDGET section and dropping in SIDEBAR section

TA-DA, you have added your widget.

No need to click “SAVE” or “PUBLISH” or “ACTIVATE.” Your widgets get automatically activated.

Just open a new tab and load your webpage and enjoy the success.

# PRO TIPS

  1. Widgets in the Sidebar are prominently visible than widgets in the footer. If you wish to collect visitor’s email, then Newsletter Signup Widget should go in the sidebar.
  2. Content marketers or business website owners use widgets as a highly productive way of converting visitors into customers. So you can too.
  3. If you want your readers to follow you on tweeter, Instagram or Facebook then adding your social media widget in the sidebar will let you win the game.
  4. DO NOT OVERLOAD! Any of your widget-active areas with too many widgets. People are less likely to notice all of them. Try to be concise and add 1 to 2 widgets for maximum output.
  5. Using free widgets sometimes introduces malware into your WordPress theme and on reader’s computer. So as per WordPress.org, it is recommended that you should use plugin/widgets from a trusted source.
  6. Big websites can opt-in for premium widgets because they cost very little around $2-$5 per month. You can customize paid widgets as per your requirements.

These guys at Elfsight have an extensive range of widgets, and all of their widgets are free for basic users. Check them out!

Final Thoughts

Now that you have learnt about WordPress Website Widgets and how to add them. Try playing with pre-packed widgets that comes with your WordPress theme.

I have built this Website by myself using free as well as few fantastic freemium widgets.

Read my article,

47 Best WordPress Website Widgets Can Help You Make a Website Feature-rich.

Where I have discussed few trending widgets in 2021 with which readers love to interact.

Ryan Krock
Ryan is a tech enthusiast working for a Robotics E-commerce Company. He is an engineer and team leader. Loves to read the news, share his expertise and write. By being a technology geek experimenting with the mechanical and electronics stuff around him, he has gained a plethora of knowledge about how things work (and how to make things work!).