WordPress widgets are a great way to extend your capabilities and features of your site. When creating a WordPress site, you might have noticed some free space on sidebar and footer area. These areas are reserved for widgets. A lot of you who doesn’t have minimum technical knowledge might not know the difference between WordPress plugins and WordPress widgets.
WordPress widget is a small box that could be inserted on your sidebar or footer which can perform a specific function. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy to use way of giving design and structure control of your WordPress theme to the user. Whereas, WordPress plugins extends the functionality of your website even without being displayed on the front. While many widgets are already installed with WordPress, for those that aren’t, you’ll have to install a plugin to access that particular widget for your website. Therefore, WordPress plugins help us extend our site and allow for use on the back end, while widgets let us display special content outside of posts and pages.
Some of the useful WordPress widgets that might help you increase your capabilities and give a better look of your website can be considered from the mentioned ones below:
By default, WordPress comes with a recent posts widget, which displays a plain list of your recent posts. Recent Posts Widget with Thumbnails allows you to display recent posts with thumbnails. It uses featured image or the first image in a post as thumbnail. You can also adjust the height and width of image from widget’s settings screen.
Category Post is a light, straight forward widget designed to display the most recent posts from a certain category. This plugin is riddled with customizable features that make your recent posts look exactly the way you want them.
This is a really simple widget to add social icons to your sidebars which provides all the configuration options in the widget’s settings. You can choose which social networks to link to and add your profile URLs for users to check out your social accounts. You can also modify the icon by choosing background and icon font color.
Instagram allows you to display photos from any non-private Instagram account; you can display from one single account or multiple. You can customize the appearance of the photos you wish to display such as image height, width, background, spacing, and more. If you’re an online business you can display photos of your products being used by users who’ve made a purchase in the past.
5. Google Maps
Adding a map that is visually visible on your website is a great way to let your customers know where you’re located. The Google Maps widget lets you quickly and easily add a perfect map equipped with a thumbnail and lightbox in minutes. Using a series of thumbnail map options, easily change the appearance of your maps such as map size, color scheme, and more. Google maps is unique because it is highly customizable and allows interactive maps. Interactive capabilities include road and satellite view, zoom level, and language for users to accessing from a different country.
Having a video on your sidebar at the right spot is very attractive and can steal your visitor’s attention. This widget uses a shortcode to embed a YouTube video on various places on your site, including your sidebar. You can choose the exact second you want your video to start and exact second to end it. You can even make use of several customization features to make the embedded video look exactly like you want it to be.
SnapWidget is the perfect way to enable content from social media to automatically be displayed on your website. Easily embed photos and videos from Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter on your site or Shopify store. You can use the free plan for basic video and photo embedding or opt for the paid plans for widget analytics, custom CSS functions and more.
This widget allows you to easily display your social media follower count in your sidebar. The social proof helps you build trust and a loyal following. You might have to display your credibility for gaining trust from your new visitors. Results of the counters are cached and updated daily or per new social media post. The cache prevents collapses from sites like Twitter and Facebook.
OptinMonster is a WordPress lead generation plugin. If you’re looking to build an email list for any specific reason, OptinMonster can be your best choice. OptinMonster comes with two widgets: Sidebar and after post. Both of these allow you to add high converting subscribe forms on your site. You can even group the users into different categories, show different forms on different pages, and more.
Testimonials are a great way to display satisfied consumers of your products or services. This can gain trust from users who are visiting the website for the first time. Testimonials Widget helps you easily create testimonials and display them using a widget or shortcode.
Google calendar events is an easy way to display all your upcoming or past events. You can create your events using Google Calendar and then sync the calendar with the plugin to display the calendar on your website.
This is a widget that displays all the popular posts on the website. WordPress Popular Posts plugin allows you to display your website’s most popular posts in a nice widget. You can display popular posts by the number of views or display popular posts by number of comments.
These are some of the most used and famous widgets on WordPress. These widgets can be really helpful in making your operations easy as well as making your website look attractive and filled.
Faiza Farooqi is an Ecommerce Manager at Codup who accepts challenging strategies and puts amazing ideas on the table! She is an active community manager and loves to teach