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Lesson 10 – Part 2 – Types of WordPress Widgets

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Blog Related Widgets For the Genesis Theme

I divide widgets into 3 different kinds. To start, there are widgets that are related to a blog. The blog related widgets are Archives, Calendar, Categories, the Genesis theme – eNews and Updates, Featured Posts, Recent Comments, Recent Posts, RSS and the Tag Cloud. These are all widgets that only make sense to use if you’ve got a blog component in your site.

What the Archive widget does is it displays a month by month list on the sidebar where if you click on a given month, it will display which posts you posted in that month.

The Calendar widget displays the calendar of the posts so we saw the calendar widget showing up as a calendar but what’s its intention is to show which days there is a particular post on. If you click on that day then you can read that post.

The Categories widget displays a list of categories that you have created for your posts and we’ll talk about that at length when we talk about adding the blog component to the site.

This Genesis – eNews and Updates is essentially an RSS subscription widget using FeedBurner and again, the RSS subscription only makes sense in the context of a blog.

Then you have Genesis theme – Featured Posts and this will display some number of posts from some category in a way that you might configure and again, it only makes sense if you’ve got blog posts.

Your Recent Comments exists for comments on blog posts. Recent Post is a much less sophisticated version of this Genesis – Featured Posts. You would probably use the Genesis theme – Featured Posts rather than Recent Posts unless you want kind of a stripped-down version.

RSS is a very generic RSS subscription forum. If you’ve got an RSS reader, you can subscribe to the RSS Feed using this. The RSS Feed is again, the feed of the blog.

Finally you have your Tag Cloud Widget which is similar to a categories list except that tags are generally displayed in a block and we’ll talk about that more later but nevertheless, what you have are these widgets that are related specifically to blogging. If a blog doesn’t play a permanent role in your site, the chances are, you’re not using those widgets.

Safely Ignored Widgets

We have a set of widgets that you can safely ignore, that is they exist in this list but chances are, you’re not going to use them or you shouldn’t use them. The two you shouldn’t use are these older Genesis theme-specific widgets.

The only reason that they exist here is because they used to exist and Genesis wants to maintain backward compatibility with older versions of their theme but they aren’t the kind of thing that you should be using. You should instead just use the custom menu instead of these two things. These are two deprecated or antique widgets that relate to Genesis.

The user profile, you may use this if you have a membership site and you want to display a user’s profile on a page once they’ve logged in. That might be a beneficial thing to you in a membership style site but it’s not at all useful to you in a small business website.

Meta is the same thing, this was an original WordPress widget where you had an easy ability to log into your site and it had a bunch of WordPress related links but it’s essentially useless. It’s like a prehensile tail, it exists because it used to exist a long time ago but it’s essentially not of any value to a site like we’re working on. Those are your safely ignored widgets.

Widgets Useful on a Typical Business Website

Then you have widgets that are useful on a typical business site. You have the Custom Menu widget which is a way that you can add a menu to a sidebar, you have the Genesis theme – Featured Page widget which we’ll talk about at length next week when we structure our home page but it gives you a way of featuring a page of your site.

You have the Latest Tweets which we’ve just looked at and it can be useful if you use Twitter. If you don’t use Twitter of course, it’s useless. There is the Links widget, it says it’s your blogroll but really, it is a way for you to add a list of links to your sidebar without typing the HTML in, without doing it in a href= such and such to a specific link. We will also talk about how to use this Links widget in a later lesson.

The Pages widget just shows you a list of the pages on your site and it may very well be a useful thing for you in some circumstances.

A Search widget might be useful in a larger site although in a site like we’re creating right now, I don’t think it is. It’s probably better for people to browse than it is to search so we’re not using the Search widget on this site.

This is the workhorse of all widgets, the Text widget. This lets you put just about anything in there and the Text widget is the widget we’re going to work on tonight. It says, “Adding Arbitrary Text or HTML” but really, you can use it to add Youtube videos, you can use it to add images, you can use it to add text and contact forms.

This is a very useful widget in the context of the kind of site that we’re talking about. The Text widget is probably going to be the workhorse for you. Those are the widgets for your Genesis theme business website.

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