WordPress offers a lot of advantages when it comes to web publishing. There are a lot of reasons people use WordPress. One of the easiest to use functions of WordPress are widgets. Most WordPress themes come with “widget ready” sidebars. From the back office of WordPress you can drag and drop widgets into your sidebars. Widgets can add such things to your site as:
The above list is only touching on the functionality you can add with Widgets. If you want to take it to the next level you can also add widgets that don’t come standard with your WordPress install.
I will share 3 that I have found very handy. Most of these widgets are added by using plugins.
1. Video Widget – This plugin will add a video widget that you can add to your sidebar. It will allow you to choose from over 25 video services. You can control video size within the widget. With this widget you only have to add the video ID as well – no embed code. Lastly, this widget will also allow you to add a list of videos that will be randomly chosen for your visitor.
2. Sexy Bookmarks Sidebar Widget – A quick note first, this plugin works with the original Sexy Bookmarks plugin so you will need that installed for this to work. It is a great and unique social media sharing plugin that you will find handy even if you don’t want this widget. The widget itself will allow you to add Sexy Bookmarks to your sidebar. This widget looks great and should lead to more social media submissions for your site.
3. Flickr Widget – Flickr is one of the best and easiest ways to both store and share your images. With this plugin you will get a Flickr widget that will display your latest Flickr images in your sidebar. The widget will display up to 10 photos from a Flickr photostream.
These 3 widgets are a drop in the bucket compared to all of the widgets available out there. If you want to add something to your sidebar and can’t figure it out – check out the WordPress plugins, they may have an add on widget that will give you exactly what you need.
One last suggestion: Please don’t pack your sidebar so full of widgets it stretches out the screen. it looks sloppy and unprofessional, not to mention people usually don’t scroll beneath your content to see your sidebar so it is wasted.
When used properly widgets can be a powerful addition to your WordPress site.