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20 Incredibly Useful WordPress Widgets

Posted on May 14 by in Resources | 83 comments

20 Incredibly Useful WordPress Widgets

WordPress widgets allow you to add static and dynamic content to widget-ready areas of your theme such as your sidebar, header, and footer.

Without doubt, widgets are one of the best features of WordPress. The beauty of widgets lie in the simplicity of the widget interface. To display a widget on your website, all you have to do is activate the plugin, drag the widget to the appropriate widget zone, and then configure the widget. This drag and drop interface simplifies the design process by removing the need for modifying theme templates.

WordPress Widgets

Adding widgets in WordPress is incredibly easy.

In this article, I would like to show you twenty WordPress widgets that you will find useful. I have made a point of including a wide variety of widgets :)

1. Better Recent Posts Widget Pro ($4)

I have been using this recent posts plugin from Pippin Williamson for a few years. It is by far the best solution for displaying posts on your sidebar.

It allows you to display post titles, author names, post dates, comment counts, post excerpts, and post thumbnails. Posts can be displayed from specific categories or post types and can be offset by a defined number of posts. For example, on my personal blog I display all posts from my featured category.

Better Recent Posts Widget Pro

Better Recent Posts Widget Pro is versatile and easy to use.

2. Gabfire Widget Pack

The Gabfire Widget Pack adds twelve additional widgets to your website including a post tabs widget, related posts widget, social media icons, and an about us widget.

There are good alternatives for each of the widgets that are included, however the sheer number of widgets that are included in Gabfire Widget Pack make it a great choice.

Those of you who use the Jetpack plugin should check out the additional widgets that it adds before installing Gabfire :)

Gabfire Widget Pack

Gabfire Widget Pack includes twelve useful widgets.

3. Rating-Widget: Star Rating System

Rating-Widget allows you to integrate a rating system into your posts, pages, and comments. You can then display a list of your top rated articles in your widget area.

The pro version of the plugin retails at $3.99 and $8.99 per month per domain. Depending on which plan you choose, you will receive Google Rich Snippets integration, ratings analytics, and bbPress and BuddyPress integration.

Rating-Widget: Star Rating System

Rating-Widget is a simple but effective way of allowing visitors to rate your articles.

4. Popular Posts Bar Widget ($8)

Inspired by the popular posts widget that Engadget used to display on its sidebar, Popular Posts Bar Widget will display the the most commented posts on your website within a defined number of days. It is a simple plugin, however it does have basic support for post thumbnails.

Popular Posts Bar Widget

Popular Posts Bar Widget is a colorful widget that help drives traffic to your most popular posts.

5. Image Widget

Image Widget is a useful widget if you are not comfortable adding images to your widget areas using HTML. The widget lets you add a photograph, logo, or banner, to your website design.

You can define the alt text for the image, link to an external website, and choose whether the link opens in a new tab. You can also align the image left, right, or center.

Image Widget

Image Widget is useful for adding a logo or banner to your sidebar or footer.

6. Advanced Categories Widget ($4)

If you are not happy with the basic categories widget that comes packaged with WordPress, you may want to check out Advanced Categories Widget. This widget gives you complete control over how your categories are displayed.

It allows you to select how many category levels are displayed and whether certain categories are excluded. It also allows you to display image thumbnails.

Advanced Categories Widget

Advanced Categories Widget lets you customize what is displayed in your category widget.

7. Youtube Channel Gallery

An ideal widget for YouTubers. It allows you to display your latest video from your YouTube channel. Thumbnails from your other videos are displayed underneath. The width of these thumbnails and the number of columns that are displayed can be defined.

There are lots of options for video playback. For example, there is an option to play videos automatically, change the video quality, and an option for related videos to be displayed. Videos can be added to your website using widgets or directly into posts using a shortcode.

Youtube Channel Gallery

Youtube Channel Gallery is one of the best video widgets available for WordPress.

8. WP Biographia

WP Biographia allows you to add a biography box to your website. It is, by no means, a simple plugin. The settings area has seven different pages. It allows you to define whether the bio is displayed before or after the content area on posts, pages, RSS feeds, archives, and your home page. It can also be displayed in widget areas.

You can remove the option to display a biography from certain user groups. Several social media services are supported and there is an option to style the biography box too.

WP Biographia

WP Biographia provides a great way of displaying your bio to visitors.

9. Opening Hours

Opening Hours is a great plugin if you have standard opening hours for your online or offline business. All you have to do is define the hours you are open each day. You can also specify the days that your business is closed and change the time and date formats.

Opening Hours

Opening Hours is a practical way of advising customers of your opening hours.

10. Testimonials by Aihrus

Testimonials are a great way of raising the profile of you, your services, and your products. The Testimonials by Aihrus plugin is one of the best testimonial plugins available. It allows you to display testimonials using image slides, video slides, and text slides.

Testimonials can be displayed using shortcodes or widgets. Alternatively, you can add them directly into your theme. The plugin offers many customization options and can be themed easily using CSS.

Testimonials by Aihrus

A customizable plugin that lets you add beautiful testmonials to your website.

11. Ultimate Weather ($13)

If you own a local business or local directory, you may want to consider adding a weather report to your website. Ultimate Weather makes this process painless.

You can select what weather information is displayed in the widget such as country, wind, visibility, and sunrise. The weather box can also be added to your website using a shortcode.

Ultimate Weather

Ultimate Weather adds a stylish weather widget to your website design.

12. Tabbed Login Widget

The meta widget that is included with WordPress links to your login page, RSS feeds, and WordPress.org. Tabbed Login Widget is a good alternative if you would rather display your login form within your website design, instead of sending visitors to www.yourwebsite.com/wp-login.php.

The widget features three tabs: A login form, a register form, and a forgot password form. Simple, yet effective.

Tabbed Login Widget

Tabbed Login Widget adds a simple login and registration form to your website.

13. Dexs Navigation Tree

Dexs Navigation Tree adds a table of contents box to your posts or pages. It can either be displayed within your article using a shortcode or in your sidebar using a widget.

The tree is generated automatically. Any header tags within your article will be added to the tree using the appropriate structure. Those of you who write long detailed articles and tutorials should check it out.

Dexs Navigation Tree

Dexs Navigation Tree adds a beautiful table of content to your website.

14. Social Icons Widget

There are hundreds of social media plugins available for WordPress, so it was always going to be hard for me to choose just one. I feel that Social Icons Widget is a good choice as it supports twenty one of the most popular social media services online.

16×16 pixel, 32×32 pixel, and 64×64 pixel icons, can be chosen. You can also define your own custom image sizes.

Social Icons Widget

Social Icons Widget supports all major social media websites.

15. My Social Counter for WordPress ($10)

My Social Counter might be a better option than Social Icons Widget if you are looking to display visitor counts. It supports eleven social media services and allows you to display the total number of followers.

Icons can be displayed from one to four columns and you can choose from ten icon sets and ten unique template layouts. It’s a great way of showing off your online presence.

My Social Counter for WordPress

My Social Counter offers many different icons and styles.

16. WP Twitter Feeds

During my recent look at the best Twitter widget plugins for WordPress, I tested many great widgets such as Minimalist Twitter Widget; however WP Twitter Feeds was my favorite.

The widget has a beautiful style. Avatar images can be displayed and you can show your Twitter name with tweets.

WP Twitter Feeds

WP Twitter Feeds is one of the coolest Twitter widgets available.

17. Business Contact Widget

Business Contact Widget is a versatile plugin that lets you display contact details such as telephone, email, and physical address. You can also display a map and opening hours in the widget.

Six different styles and two different icon sets are available. Visitors can also send a message directly through the widget itself. A credit link is displayed at the bottom of the widget, however this can be disabled through the settings area.

Business Contact Widget

Business Contact Widget is a great plugin for small businesses.

If you do not like the look of Business Contact Widget, check out Simple Contact Info and Contact Us Page – Contact People.

18. WP Tab Widget

WP Tab Widget is an AJAX powered responsive widget that can display popular posts, recent posts, comments, and tags. It supports post thumbnails and it allows you to change the order of items. Additional meta information such as comments, date, and post excerpt, can also be displayed.

The plugin uses a cache system so that once a tab is loaded, it stays in memory and loads quicker the next time.

WP Tab Widget

A beautiful lightweight widget that displays a lot of useful information.

19. Polldaddy Polls & Ratings

Polldaddy is a complete poll and rating solution that allows you to ask your customers and readers questions. Polls can be as complex or as simple as you like, and you can integrate ratings into posts, pages, and comments.

Results can then be displayed prominently on a widget area such as your sidebar. With twenty styles to choose from, you will surely find something that matches your website design.

Polldaddy Polls & Ratings

Polldaddy is a great way of surveying your visitors and displaying the results to everyone.

20. WYSIWYG Widgets / Widget Blocks

WYSIWYG Widgets allows you to add custom widgets using the visual editor. While custom code can be added to widgets using a solution such as Enhanced Text Widget, WYSIWYG Widgets is a more user-friendly solution. It allows you to design multiple widgets easily through the visual editor and then add them to your website at the click of a button.

The visual editor makes it easy to add images, quotes, lists, forms, and more. The plugin Black Studio TinyMCE Widget works in a similar way, except it allows you to use the visual editor directly through the widget interface. Personally, I prefer the way that WYSIWYG Widgets uses blocks to handle content.

Widget Blocks

WYSIWYG Widgets allows you to design your own custom widgets using the visual editor.

I hope you have enjoyed this list of twenty useful WordPress widgets. With thousands of great plugins available for WordPress, it is difficult to create a definitive list. Therefore, I encourage you to share your favorite widget plugins with other readers in the comment area below :)

Article thumbnail image by LiquidLayout / shutterstock.com

83 Comments

  1. You guys should call yourselves “DiviandTonsofBlogPostThemes” because that’s all we’re getting… Divi and a ton of blog posts.

    You should offer Divi as a standalone theme if that’s all you’re going to work on.

    Anyway, nice blog post.

    -TheTimster!

    • What else should they work on? Their other themes are great. You don’t like them?

    • Strange comment “Timster”… As much as I LOVE Divi and can see myself using it more and more when version 2 arrives, there’s a lot more here than great blog posts and the awesome Divi theme. Isn’t there?

      • Not strange at all.

        Divi is as yet unusable for me and I don’t see 2 fixing that.

        Don’t see any other themes being developed now or indications of that for the future.

        Get lots of blogs on info I can get elsewhere. I’d like to see a change to the core business – THEMES!

        Gone downhill for last 6 months or so here.

        • I think it would be an awesome feature if there was “tutorials” on how to recreate a website/layout using Divi. I see Divi being almost anything we want it to be (more so with upcoming version, I assume) I wonder if a section devoted to all the amazing designs that can be created with Divi- along with steps. (possibly member driven?) I am still in awe of the site created by Maria and Espen of NerdNomads.com.

          • That’s ok if you have a small content site like that.

            Currently Divi is not up to the standard of previous themes.

          • Really nice design, so many errors throughout the coding though. br tags not written correctly, html tag angle brackets missing, deprecated code used throughout.. in Divi’s defence not from the theme itself I don’t think but rather the content.

  2. These are great! I especially like the Youtube channel widget and the image one. Will be bookmarking this. Thanks for your time in finding cool stuff for us :)

  3. Thanks for another great list. I currently use jetpack but I’m looking for an alternative because of system resource issues on certain sites. Is gabfire less resource intensive?

    • Adam, I had a similar problem/desire. Now there’s some excellent Jetpack plugins available for the more popular functions like widget visibility and social networking feeds without having to install the entire Jetpack bundle.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      I’m not sure. I installed the plugin to see what the modules were like; however I didn’t test speed etc.

    • Adam!

      Jetpack is a very nice plugin, but Gabfire is very incredible to use on your site
      Though I am presently using Jetpack but contemplating to switch to Gabfire with its additional widget over Jetpack…

  4. I won’t complain if all you offer is Divi and blog posts. So far I am loving both. I think the point of Divi is to be the end all. I think a Divi layout download pack or plugin would be very helpful. The one thing you guys are great at is making beautiful websites through your themes, something a lot of us are not so good at. If we had 25-50 layout options in addition to what you already offer, maybe categorized by page type, that would just be incredible. My biggest struggle is that I tend to butcher your beautiful themes with my horrible layout options, backgrounds, pictures, etc.

    As far as this post, I recently switched to Divi from Chameleon on one of my sites and stripped out all of the plugins but 3 or 4. My page speed increased over 25%! So I will be limiting my plugins from here on out, but not before grabbing your suggested Popular Posts. That one looks too good to pass up.
    :-)

    • I second Brad’s comments on a layout download pack! Another great blog post, by the way. Working on switching my currently fugly website to Divi.

    • Brad — How “challenging” was it to move from Chameleon to Divi?

      • It really wasn’t terrible. Other than Divi’s lack of compatibility with page templates (which I hope is coming soon), I pretty much just used the plugin they suggest in the ET forum – Regenerate Thumbnails and redesigned the homepage and a few pages using the page builder. All of my posts looked great after regenerating thumbnails.

    • Nice spam link there, Brad.

      Very sneaky.

      • I personally like when people put these links there. I am design challenged, and these links help me see how people are implementing this stuff. Just my two cents (i.e. admins, please don’t block these! :) )

      • Adam, I kept looking at your 7 words looking for some indication of implied sarcasm.

        Finding none, I need to call you out. There was nothing at all ‘spammy’ about that posting of the link.

        I’ll admit, given that ElegantThemes.com is sporting a PR of 7 from google, and 910 for Alexa, Brad didn’t hurt the ranking of ‘his’ site at all with the ‘linkjuice’ from his sharing of that link.

        But given it provided context to this post, IMHO it was not in anyway “spammy”.

        Cheers from Southwest Ohio,

        Michael

        • Well said Michael, I couldn’t agree with you more! I for one absolutely want to see what readers are doing with elegant themes and how their sites look.

          And including a link to their site helps out. It certainly isn’t SPAM or sneaky. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if each poster was REQUIRED to list their site.

          Anyway, thanks Michael. And cheers from sunny Southern Cal..

    • I agree with Adam, it’s nice to be able to see one of the widget suggestions in action.

      I like the look of your site, in particular the fact that the main menu header stays at the top as a user scrolls down. Not many themes do that.

      I’m curious what theme you’re using?

  5. Thanks for the list. I tried a couple of these. Unfortunately some are practically abandoned and really buggy. The Business Contact Widget specifically has some bugs, very little (if any) support, and is written in a way that conflicts with most modern themes since it’s attempting to load various versions of jQuery and jQuery UI on top of what the theme is already loading.

    If you’re using this, please explain how you got the icons to display horizontally since that’s the common “bug” with users, the icons display vertically instead. There’s multiple posts regarding this in their support forums but no clear answer.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      I tested that plugin on my test website and didn’t notice a problem. Granted, I only quickly tested that the plugin was working correctly.

      Appreciate you letting everyone know. I do my best to test plugins whenever I can, though it can be difficult to check everything. It just isn’t practical to check every plugin for reported errors as all plugins have bugs reported. Likewise, I cannot test the speed of every plugin.

      It’s disappointing to hear that the plugin is not programmed well.

    • Thanks for this heads up. Saved me the bother of trying the Business Contact Widget.

  6. Wow Kevin!
    That was a great post and really resonated for a word press beginner like me ! It makes me want to add another level of functionality to my site!
    As anxious as I am to try these widgets out I am holding back waiting for my birthday present (BTW thank nick for me) the release of Divi 2.0
    Keep the great information flowing and Ill keep telling everyone why joining this group was the best investment I have made in a while!
    Jess Taylor
    CEO Smart Reentry Technology Initiative

  7. Social widgets are good, but I can’t find one that includes Houzz. It is essential for designers. I’ve seen sites with their icon, but they are custom-built. Does anyone have a widget that features Houzz.com? Thanks!

    • Kathy, think the Social Icons widget that Kevin mentions allows you to customize the widget to display additional icons. So you could add Houzz.com as long as you can have an image file. Maybe go to the developer’s site and check it out.

  8. Nice list. Very practical to use.

  9. nice list – lots of useful newer stuff!

  10. Thanks Kevin, I’m enjoying every bit and its as you shouldn’t stop. I give the gabfire a shot, cheers :)

  11. Thanks guys. I really like it when you guys give real advice and solutions to us newbe’s, I am going to check some of these links to these products out.

    Btw, i would like to see some posting on doing easy and effective image optimization for the web sites and for your templates, and also best solutions for either self hosted videos and or YouTube and such other services.

    Thanks and be well.

  12. Another really useful blog. Many thanks for this.

  13. Very solid and great list! You have put a Lot of work on this list. I will use some of the pluigns that you listed… Thanks

  14. What do you think about JetPack and GrabFire Widget Pack as they relate to overall bloat. I’m no expert but it just seems there would be a lot of code that ends up flying around that may not be needed, or even some that maybe should be avoided?

    • Kevin Muldoon

      It depends on the module. The plugin does not add all widgets to your website. It only adds it to the backend so that you can choose it. Then if you add it to your sidebar, the code will be loaded :)

  15. I use WP Twitter Feed and it’s by far the best free Twitter widget I’ve tried. I probably spent 2 hrs. researching and installing different ones.

    I’m curious about the YouTube widget. Anyone have an example of it running?

  16. Great list.
    ” Advanced Categories Widget” is perfect for a project I’m working on. Thanks!

  17. Hello Kevin!
    Great article: amazing assets! The most amazing is there are almost all free or have a nice price!
    Thanks!

  18. Hi Kevin,
    I had been looking for a plug in that would capture the posts with a small thumbnail and display attractively. Based on your information, I installed WP Tab Widget by ThemeShop.

    I am using Divi Theme (3.9.1) It works! I know this sounds strange but WordPress, is the top of the line as is the Divi theme and Elegant Themes.

    Thanks your blog posts are really helpful :).

  19. Great post. Can most of these widgets be used within the page builder in Divi?

  20. Nice Post Kevin ! Use many of them and also didn’t use many. Very good list and collection. Specially like YouTube channel Gallery, Opening Hours, ultimate weather, business contact widget and more. And I didn’t use it in any websites. So thanks for share this widget’s information.

  21. Excellent Kevin – every of your Articles are very useful.
    Thank you!

  22. Thanks for the list. Can you write a post about Download Plugins which are used to get more social share – like Social locker, WPMUDEV Plugins. I have seen many blogs using some plugins when downloading gives a popup banner to share and show related download pages.

  23. Great blog posts guys, very informative

  24. Nice list, but some of them are very much outdated. The YouTube Channel Gallery is only compatible up to 3.5.2 ???

    • Kevin Muldoon

      The developer has obviously not updated that field. You can see from the page that the plugin was last updated on 13 March 2014. That’s only two months ago :)

  25. What plugin are you guys using at Elegant Themes for the author box on each post?

      • Thanks for the reply. Adding the author box to the ET themes or making an ET plugin for that box would be a good idea because there aren’t very many good looking author box plugins on the market.

  26. Nice post!, Thanks a lot. For the first plugin you can also use “Flexible Post Widget”… is free!

  27. Thanks Kevin – for the awesome list. Your posts are very useful. I have used many of the suggested plugins for my clients, and they are superb. Social widgets are very helpful for every website.

    “WP Twitter Feeds” is my first plugin, and was waiting for long time to develop this one, and finally I published it.
    On thing I request to all user to please rate all those plugins and provide your valuable comments.

    I hope I will provide more plugins to community.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Best of luck Rohit. Hope to see you release more great plugins to the community :)

      Kevin

  28. Adding some of these widgets now.. Thanks for the list. Right on time on many of these. Great Post! – Sharing to my networks :)

  29. Thanks for providing useful sidebar widgets for WordPress. I find Gabfire very interesting but WP Tab widget is not working properly.

  30. Hey, thanks for this wonderful list.
    Moreover Divi theme is also wonderful!
    Thanks for both of the stuff.
    Regard
    Shubham Arora

  31. Kevin,

    I came here looking for some help with getting my Meta RSS links to work properly on one of my sites:

    http://www.beautyisonlyskindeep.net

    And, instead found the Meta Tabbed Login Widget as a great alternative! Thanks for the great info!!

    Regards,
    Jagger

  32. Thank you for sharing Testimonials by Aihrus as a means for social proof when you’re providing products and services on your website. The recognition here helps me know I’m taking the plugin in the right direction. Do let me know of any suggestions you might have for improving it. Ciao from Delhi!

  33. Thanks. These are great tips.

    I use flexible posts to display custom post types as well as the popular posts. Both work really well. I have to use WP Twitter feeds now that you recommend it.

  34. I use 3 of that widgets in my webiste. They are cool :)

  35. list is good but still you could have added some more, especially some free widgets

  36. Great post for me looking something first time.thanks for this.

  37. Thank you so much for sharing these useful widgets, but if you add some more free widgets then it would be even better.

  38. Hey its really impressive, its really useful. Thanks for sharing. There are some useful widgets which are paid so never came across as usually looking for free ones, but these are very useful and it can save much time while comparing with building it from scratch. Nice list.

  39. This is very informative and useful article.
    Thank for sharing this article.

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