Widgets are the most simple and effective way to customize your website on WordPress. In fact, you can customize most parts of your website`s interface using only the widgets. Therefore, the understanding of the most popular and useful widgets is vital for each site administrator on WordPress. We will help you to orient in a huge variety of existing widgets, and you can select the most appropriate elements to optimize your site or blog.
All widgets can be divided into two large groups. The first group includes widgets that are available by default in the most themes for WordPress. The second group of widgets is implemented through specific plugins. We will briefly observe both groups of plugins because their functionality is too important to ignore it. Some participants of our list require the installation of simple and intuitive to configure plugins.
Custom Sidebar Plugins
The basic element for the creation and placement of various widgets on the site is a custom sidebar plugin. This plugin allows you to quickly and easily create sidebars, where you will place all the widgets you have created. Thus, to start work on a profound improvement of your site with the help of useful widgets, you need to install one of the custom sidebar plugins first.
Among the free custom sidebar plugins can be noted WooSidebars and Simple Page Sidebars. These plugins make it easy to create and edit a place to host your widgets. No web development or design skills required.
Recent Posts Widget
Recent Posts widget is one of the basic elements of any blog on WordPress. It allows you to engage your audience in the sequential read of several posts. In addition, the recent posts list simplifies navigation of a user on your site or blog. This unit eliminates the need to switch on the main blog page, to get to the pages of other post.
You will find this widget in the Appearance menu in the WordPress admin panel. Configuring of the recent posts widget allows you to specify a certain number of posts to display, and the date of their publication. Also you can add to this list of thumbnails from existing images in the respective posts. You can specify a particular size for the thumbnail image.
Category Posts Widget
Category Posts widget has similar functionality to the previous member of our list. With it, you can also display a list of recent posts, but for a specific category of your website or blog on WordPress.
This widget requires a similar adjustment to the Recent Posts widget. Here you can also set the number of posts, date of creation and the existence of thumbnails for each entry. The choice between using the Recent Posts widget and Category Posts widget should be based on the refresh rate of your site. The more often your site is updated, the more relevant becomes the Category Posts widget. If you do not often write something new on your blog, sharing entries on rarely updated categories is not necessary.
Popular Posts Widget
Another way to draw the attention of your readers to the various posts on your blog. Popular posts widget provides the ability to create a separate list where you can display the most commented or most viewed posts. You can set a certain sampling time positions – from the full list of posts to the time until the last week or month.
Also, this widget allows you to adjust the visual display of the most popular posts. You can decorate them with thumbnail images or reduce their titles for the best effect of attracting attention. Short preview of blog content can also be added to the popular posts widget.
Recently Registered Users Widget
The easiest way to involve the audience is a recognition of the smallest of its merits to your website or blog. Registration on the pages of your project is the first and one of the most important achievements of the user. Do not miss the opportunity to show this user achievement on the site. Recently Registered Users Widget will help you with this task.
This widget displays a certain number of last registered users with their Gravatars and date of registration. You can choose to display the widget on several key parameters. Allow your users to be proud of their registration on your website!
Social WordPress Plugins
You can decorate your beautiful website with buttons of social activities, if you use some features of free plugins. Social Icons Widget by WPZOOM, Meks Smart social Widget, AccessPress social Icons and their counterparts will help you to create a unique design for social networking buttons. These plugins offer a wide variety of icons and options for their location in relation to the content of your WordPress website or blog. You will be able to experiment with different designs of social buttons and to select the most suitable option for the readers of your site.
Social Icons Widget
Social Icons help you keep in touch with readers through various social networks. It is difficult to overestimate the influence of social media marketing strategy for the development of your site, so we do not advise you to ignore the fast and convenient opportunity to place your contacts on social networks with this simple widget.
Configuring this widget is very simple. You only need to select the desired icon from the complete set of social networks and paste links to your accounts. After this social buttons are permanently in full view for your readers.
Social Count Widget
You have probably noticed that some sites place social activity counters for certain pages or the whole project. With this meter the site owner can always boast of the number of likes, shares and other references to his content in the various social networks. For the creation of this widget you need to download and install the free plugin Social Count Plus.
Functions of Social Count Plus allow you to customize the counter of social activities to the needs of your site. Firstly, you can choose a specific social network, which will be displayed in the counter. Second, you configure different available layouts, so you can place the widget in a convenient location and a suitable layout.
Instagram Feed Plugins
Instagram is a special social network, which has a huge popularity. Instagram’s success is based on the ease of perception of the content, which is created by its users. Photos require less concentration and time to watch than the text or video content. If you do not have Instagram account, we advise you to seriously ponder about its creation right now.
If you already have an Instagram account, it is time to start using it in order to attract a new audience for your WordPress website or blog. There are many plugins that allow you to quickly and easily create Instagram feed on your website pages. This may be a small block of thumbnail pictures or a whole page dedicated to the activity of your personal or any other popular Instagram account.
Popular free plugins in this area are Instagram Feed, WP instagram Widget, Instagram Slider Widget. To operate more interesting features of Instagram feed, we recommend that you use the Flow-Flow Social Stream Plugin. Flow-Flow allows you to create automatically updated social walls not only on the basis of Instagram accounts, but all other popular social networks. You can also use any active social community to create a unique collection of its activity for those of your readers who are interested in a specific topic on your website or blog.
Google Maps Widget
If you want to share certain geolocation with visitors of your site, the most convenient and effective way is to use Google Maps. Modern functional of the internet maps allows you to dispense with screenshots. You can create your widget in the site control panel on WordPress using a simple algorithm of actions.
First, you need to visit Google Maps service and enter the address which you want to share online. Then find the Share button in the left sidebar. You will see a window where you need to go to the Code tab. There you get the Embedded Code, which you should copy. After that you have to go to the menu Appearance on the WordPress admin panel, select Widgets and create your widget with the embedded code that you have taken from Google Maps. You can place a ready widget in any convenient location on your website using the built-in Site Designer.
YouTube Channel Gallery
If you have the author’s channel on YouTube, it would be very appropriate to create an attractive gallery with preview of the latest videos on your site. Thus, you can convert the channel viewers to your blog readers and vice versa – blog readers can become a YouTube channel audience. Many people underestimate this exchange between the various channels of communication with the audience. Do not repeat their mistakes.
To create such a widget, you will need to install the free YouTube Channel Gallery plugin. The intuitive interface allows you to create a gallery with individual settings of widget`s update time.
Newsletter Subscription Widget
Widgets for your readers` subscription to a newsletter is a special type of add-ons for your website on WordPress. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with a detailed overview of the plugins for newsletter subscriptions.
Any existing plugin for newsletter subscription is your way to increase the audience participation. With email newsletters, you can actively communicate with your subscribers and transfer them from passive readers to active status of commentators on your website or blog.
Sliders allow you to make your website more vivid and interactive. In addition, by placing the information in the slider, you seriously increase its visual appeal. Thus you can advertise not only the most interesting posts, but certain goods or services on your website.
There are many different plugins to help you with creating and configuring a slider on the site. Many preimum themes for WordPress include package of programs with popular plugins for creating sliders. There are also stand-alone plugins for this purpose.
One such plugins is Soliloquy. Its free version is called Soliloquy Lite and its functions will be enough for any novice administrator site of the WordPress site. Simple and easy configuration and interface allows you to create and edit widgets quickly.
Newsletter Opt-ins are a group of plugins that allow you to create various forms of subscription to your email newsletter. The start of any successful email marketing campaign is bounded with a good widget for your readers to subscribe to the newsletter on your website or blog.
In this category you can also find some free plugins, for example, WP Subscribe or MailChimp for WordPress. But if you want to get more opportunities to set up a subscription form, then you should pay attention to the premium WordPress plugins. One of the best representatives of these plugins is Ninja Kick. Ninja Kick offers unique design solutions and the ability to make your own changes to existing templates for the forms of subscription. This plugin integrates seamlessly with most popular email marketing services.
Sidebar Polls and Surveys
Polls and quizzes play an important role in the life of every WordPress project. Polls help you to collect valuable feedback from your users and the opportunity to learn about what they would like to see on your website or blog. In addition, people just love to know that their opinion is important to you. Therefore, the use of surveys raise your reputation in the eyes of the readers of the site.
Interesting tests help users to have fun. Most readers will be happy to take part in completing the test, if you will promise interesting results. For example, psychological tests are very popular because they allow people to better understand their inner world. Humorous tests are also very popular and often become widespread in social networks.
You can use the free plugins to create unique surveys and tests on your WordPress site. We recommend WP-Polls, Poll, Survey, Quiz & Form by OpinionStage or Quiz And Survey Master. These tools are the easiest-to-understand for a newcomer in the field of WordPress administration and help you to gain invaluable experience in communicating with your audience.
Contact Form Widgets
The contact form is your direct source of feedback from site visitors. If readers want to appeal directly to you, they will be looking for an easier way than commenting on a particular blog entry, and the expectation that you will notice their comment. The contact form provides such an opportunity. These functional elements are usually placed in footer of the site, or are assigned for a special place in the sidebar.
One of the most popular plugin which would be useful to create such a widget is Contact Form 7. Most administrators use this WordPress plugin for the direct communication with their readers. You can also try an alternative, for example, Contact Form by WPForms or Contact widgets.
Calendar allows you to easily preview a large number of events which have been scheduled in a small sized widget. Interactive calendar is useful for both you and your readers. This widget will help to gain more responsibility and punctuality in respect of your WordPress development project.
To create a calendar you can use the standard features of WordPress dashboard. But these opportunities are not always enough. We recommend using the free plugins to extend the functionality of the standard WordPress calendar. Examples of such plugins can be The Events Calendar, Archives Calendar Widget, Tockify Events Calendar.
Widget Importer & Exporter
Widget Importer and Exporter plugin is the first necessity for those who use more than one or two widgets for their WordPress site or blog. Saving and transferring your existing widgets with all their settings is one of the most important feature when moving the site to a new hosting or a domain.
Widget Importer and Exporter will save you a huge amount of time and effort to configure all elements of the site again when transferring content or creating a new project with a similar functionality. In addition, none of us is immune from unexpected break-ins or malfunction of the site. In this case we advise you to save customized configuration of all widgets using this plugin. In case of any failure in the site you will be able to restore its full efficiency in minutes.
Widgets greatly simplify the WordPress site administrator’s job. They are useful not only during the initial setup of the site and its preparation for launch. Changing and adding widgets, depending on the needs of the growing audience is an adequate response by a responsible owner of the website or a blog on WordPress.
If you want to continuously develop your project on the WordPress platform, you should be paying close attention to the possibility of widgets. In addition, the diversity of useful widgets is constantly replenished, so we advise you to look towards the possible updates with the editors of Looks Awesome.
We wish your site to continuously develop and acquire new loyal readers every day!