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Lesson 12 – Part 6 – Using Blog Related Widgets

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The next thing we’re going to talk about is using blog related widgets in the Genesis theme. The last time we talked about widgets, we only talked about the widgets that were applicable without using a blog. Now, we’re going to talk about blog related widgets and we’re going to see those from our Appearance and Widgets panel.

Recent Posts Widget

The first one I want to show you is the recent posts widget. So come down here to Recent Posts, drag that up and drop it there. Let’s say we only want to see the last 4 recent posts and let’s give it a title, “Recent Posts”. This is never going to show pages, if we don’t have posts, this widget will never do you any good.

Let’s come over and take a look at our site now, we have this recent posts widget, “Choosing the Right Architect”, “Craftsman Front Porch” , these are the 4 most recent posts. That’s not too bad but the Genesis theme has a totally cool recent posts widget called Genesis Featured Posts. Remember we did the Genesis Featured Page widget last time, now we’re going to look at the Genesis Featured Posts widget and in this case, we’re going to say, “Our Favorite Posts” for a moment.

We’re going to take from All Categories and we’re going to show 3 posts. Number of Posts to Offset, that means that if there are 5 posts, if your offset is 0 then you’re going to show posts 1, 2 and 3. If there are 5 posts then you have an offset of 1 and you’re going to show 2, 3, 4 and if you have an offset of 2 then you’re going to show 3, 4 and 5. Essentially, offsets from the first post.

We’re going to order them by date but we could order by title or by parent and this is parent category actually or by ID or by comment count. This could be the most commented post. Then you select it by comment count for example and you have a choice of sort order so descending 3, 2,1 or ascending 1, 2 , 3.

Show the Author’s Gravatar

You could show the author’s gravatar if you wanted . We’ll start with author’s gravatar and align it to the left. Actually, let’s choose a large, 125px and we’re going to say, not align it at all so it’s just going to sit on top.

In this case, we won’t show a featured image because we’re showing the gravatar. We will show the post title and an excerpt. We could also show the content or the show the content limit and you would limit it to say, 100 characters then add Read More if you’re showing content with the limit. Hit save and let’s take a look at it.

There it is, look at that, that’s great. “Our Favorite Posts” with my face showing up like that although really, that’s not the way you want to do this. What you really want to do is, if we made it smaller, it kind of crunches up there. Let’s just go ahead and show you that anyway, align it to the left.

Featured Posts Widget

You could show authors here like that or rather than showing the gravatar, you could show the featured image. In that case, we could show the home featured image, image alignment none, we’ll show the post title, go ahead and keep this the same, hit save, come back over and refresh this. Now it looks very similar to the featured page widget like we saw earlier.

In fact, we could choose not to show any content at all so it’s the image and the title, “Our Favorite Posts” and you could even choose not to show the title. Now, it’s just the gallery, “Our Favorite Posts” and if you have images that are evocative of what you want this to look like, you can show those images and click off. That’s the featured posts widget.

Category Widget

The next widget I want to show you is the category widget. The categories widget essentially lists all the categories as links so Article categories and hit save. Now here’s our Article categories, of course unfortunately, uncategorized is here. This widget doesn’t give you any way to get rid of them however, you could do this as a drop down, select the category.

You could also show post counts and show hierarchy so “Design Ideas”, “How to Design Your Home”, “Bathroom Designs”, “Site Design” with those post counts like that. Those are the different ways where you can show these categories. When you click on them, you get to the category archive page that shows those posts.

I think the categories are useful but I think this one isn’t very good because you can’t get rid of uncategorized so you’re always going to see uncategorized here. What I recommend that you do is download a plugin called Widgets Reloaded which is what we’re going to do now. We’re going to add a new plugin and search for Widgets Reloaded and we’re going to install this one.

Widgets Reloaded Plugin

What Widgets Reloaded does is it replaces a bunch of the standard WordPress widgets with widgets that are more customizable. Come back over here to our widgets and now, if we look for our categories widget, the first place, it removed the one that we had in here. There’s no longer a categories widget in here. Now our categories widget says, “An advanced widget that gives you total control over the output of your category links”.

If we come back over here to categories, let’s give it the title, “Article Categories”. What we’re going to do is come over here to exclude uncategorized, hit save, come back over and refresh this, now we don’t have uncategorized here. In fact, let’s get rid of the hierarchical. There’s a whole lot of other things you can do with this as well but the main thing that I wanted to show you was the ability to remove the uncategorized category.

Now there’s one gotcha here and that is we lost our menu. That’s because this also has a custom menu widget which replaces the original menu widget and now our Header Right doesn’t have that menu in it so we need to come back over here to Navigation Menu. We don’t want any title for it all, we’re going to use the main menu then we’re going to hit save. Come back over here and refresh it, there we go. That’s the gotcha here, that is you need to drag this Navigation Menu over and in the menu class, just type “Menu” and at that point the rest of that will work just fine.

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