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