Widgets

Content Display Tools

widget sidebarWidgets are nifty little tools that you can activate to customize the content you want to display in your sidebar or footer area. The widgets on WordPress.com, specifically, offer some really cool options as to what and how content is displayed. Some are standard to both the .com and .org platforms, but there are several widgets unique to WordPress.com that embed your content from popular outside sources, such as Goodreads and Bandpage, along with your Facebeook Pages and Twitter feed.

To activate a widget, simply drag and drop it over to your sidebar or footer, then place them in the desired order of appearance. From there you can customize them further using the drop-down menus. Typical settings include selecting the number of items you want to appear in a particular widgeted area, or adding a username or user number to activate and display content from another source. You can also customize the title displayed for each widget. Let’s take a look at several of the essential and cool widgets at your disposal on WordPress.com.

Essential Widgets

These widgets should be added and activated for any website or blog that you create. They allow users to easily and effectively navigate your site, as well as duplicating your page names, menu options, post titles, categories, or tags in multiple locations to help increase your content’s visibility in search rankings.

  • Recent posts – display a select number of your latest posts
  • Recent comments – display a select number of recent reader comments
  • Custom menu – replicate your site’s main menu in the sidebar or footer
  • Categories – display your top categories in a list or drop-down menu
  • Tag cloud – display your top tags in a text cloud

Recommended Widgets

These powerful widgets can add a wider range of functionality to your site, and can really enhance your layout when implemented creatively. Some, such as the search widget, are like comfort food for your visitors – they may not use it, but they’re happy to know it’s there.

  • Text – add a block of text, or use a bit of HTML code to insert links and images as well
  • Image – place a custom image in the widget area, with optional title and caption
  • Follow Blog – allows users to sign up for your site updates via email
  • Search  – the self-explanatory ‘comfort food’ widget
  • Top posts & pages – keep your most popular posts from the past 48 hours visible

Cool Widgets

Some widgets are just neat to have active on your site. They can really personalize your site by embedding popular social media content, books you’ve read, photos you’ve taken, and music you’ve created. All content automatically updates on your site when you update the contents of the associated accounts. Additional parameters can be set from each widget’s drop-down menu, such as number of items shown, or which sections of content to display.

  • Facebook Like Box – display a like button and existing likes for a Facebook PAGE, not your personal profile
  • Twitter – display a handful of your latest tweets/retweets from your Twitter account
  • Flickr – display selected photos from your Flickr feed
  • Goodreads – display read/reading/to read book selections from your Goodreads profile
  • BandPage – play music/videos and display photos from your BandPage account

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