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Using and Installing Widgets for WordPress Sites

You’ve set up a WordPress site and are ready to take advantage of the many free widgets available. Before we get started, you should first understand what a widget is. A widget is essentially a plugin that gets placed on your sidebar to make your WordPress design easy to use by you and your viewers. For you it is helpful because you can organize your blog/content management system (CMS) without having to dive into code. For your viewers, it makes viewing and navigating your blog/CMS so much easier. Here’s a deeper look at widgets and WordPress sites.

Available Widgets

As we’ve mentioned before the beauty of WordPress is the enormous amount of free tools available. When it comes to there are tons to choose from. For example, there are calendar widgets, event widgets, about me widgets, blogroll widgets, top posts widgets and tons more. Basically anything you want to display on your sidebar there is a widget for it. Many themes come with built in widgets. You can choose to use these and organize them how you want, or you can choose to find your own to use in your WordPress design. Additionally, if you don’t see a widget you need and you’re working with a web design firm they can create a widget that is individualized to meet your WordPress design needs.

Adding A Widget to WordPress Theme

Adding a widget to a WordPress site is fairly simple. If the widget you want to add is an available widget you just need to add it to your sidebar. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your dashboard.
  2. Under the Appearance section click on Widgets. You will see two sections: Available Widgets and Sidebar.
  3. If the Widget you want is in the Available Widgets section, click and drag it to your sidebar. A dotted box will appear – drop the widget into the box and hit save. Voila, you have added the widget to your WordPress sidebar.

If the widget you want to add isn’t in the Available Widgets section, you need to do a little more to add it to your design. For this you should be using WordPress.org – where you self host your blog/CMS. Some widgets will have specific directions on how to add them, if the one you want does, use the directions given. If not, here’s how to add the widget to your site:

  1. Find the widget you want to add.
  2. Copy the code.
  3. Go to the Appearance sections and click on Widgets.
  4. Under Available Widgets, find the one that says Text.
  5. Drag and drop this Text widget into your sidebar.
  6. A box will automatically open. Create a title for the widget, which will be seen on your sidebar. Paste the code into the second section and click save. Your new widget should now show up in your site.

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