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What is: Widgets

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In WordPress, widgets are blocks of content that you can add to your site’s sidebars, footers, and other areas.

Ever visit someone’s blog and see a photo, signup form, or menu in the sidebar? Those are all widgets.

Each widget can add a feature or function to your site, without having to write any code. Common widgets to add to your site are menus, popular post lists, calendars, banner ads, social icons, and more.

Where can you add these widgets on your site? It all depends on your WordPress theme. Many themes have sidebar and footer widget areas. Some also allow you to place widgets in the header, homepage, or other areas of your site.

What is Widgets

WordPress widgets were created to provide a simple and easy way for WordPress users to control the design and content of their site without having to code.

Most WordPress themes support widgets. Depending on your WordPress theme, widget areas may be in the header, footer, sidebar, right below your blog post content, and almost any other area.

WordPress by default comes with several widgets including categories, tag cloud, navigation menu, calendar, search bar, recent posts, and more.

Many WordPress plugins also add their own widgets which you can use to add plugin functionality to different sections. For example, you can add an email newsletter form to your sidebar, or add a contact form to your footer with a plugin like WPForms.

Widgets can be really helpful in helping your visitors to navigate your site and encouraging them to take actions like signing up for your newsletter or following you on social media.

How to Add Widgets in WordPress

When you first start a blog, setting up your widgets is an important step.

Widgets are easy to use and can be added by dragging and dropping them into one of your theme’s widget areas.

You can find the list of available widgets on your own site by going to the Appearance » Widgets page from the admin sidebar.

Once you’re there, you’ll see all the available widgets on the left. Your theme’s widget areas will be listed on the right side.

WordPress Widget settings

Under each of your installed widgets, you see a brief description that helps to explain its purpose and use.

To add a widget to a widget area on your site, simply drag and drop the it from the list on the left to an area on the right.

Add widget to a sidebar

You can also move widgets up and down to rearrange them.

Each widget comes with its own settings which you can see after adding the widget. Don’t forget to click on the Save button to store your widget settings.

For more detailed instructions, see our guide on how to add and use widgets in WordPress.

What’s the Difference Between a Widget and A Plugin?

Many people want to know the difference between a widget and a WordPress plugin.

Think of it like the difference between apps and widgets on your smartphone.

Simply put, plugins are like smartphone apps. They’re extensions that need to be installed and activated from the admin plugin screen to be used.

Plugins can add all kinds of functions and features to your WordPress website, including adding more widgets you can use. But not all plugins add widgets. It depends entirely on the purpose of the plugin.

On the other hand, widgets are drag-and-drop blocks that you can use to add content to your site’s sidebar and other areas. Some widgets come with your default WordPress installation, and you can also add more widgets by using certain plugins.

These widgets are placed in specific content areas called widget areas, and then your visitors can see that content on your site.

We hope this article helped you learn more about widgets. For more details, you can also read our article on how to add and use widgets in WordPress.

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Additional Reading

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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