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Lesson 10 – Part 3 – Types of WordPress Widgets

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From my perspective, there are 3 types of widgets that come default with WordPress and with Thesis 2.

Blog Related Widgets

The first kind of widgets are blog related widgets. These are widgets that you might use if you have a blog. If you don’t have a blog, you’re not going to use them. Examples of those widgets are archives, calendar, categories, recent comments, recent posts, RSS, tag cloud, Thesis killer recent entries and Thesis subscriptions.

I’m going to talk about what those things do when we are talking about the blog. But you’re not going to use any of these widgets in a regular static site if you do not have a blog. And if you do have a blog then you may want to use them.

Safely Ignored Widgets

Now as it turns out, there are a couple of widgets that you can also just safely ignore. The first one is that meta widget. The meta widget is essentially has some log in stuff and then WordPress links and that kind of thing. And it’s entirely unnecessary for a regular WordPress site.

And then the Thesis Google custom search is also one I think you can ignore. But if you’re going to use custom search then of course, you can use this one. But most people are not going to use custom search on their site. And I think probably, most people who do use custom search on their site use a paid version which this wouldn’t work with anyway.

Now there used to be lots more widgets that I thought you could safely ignore but WordPress got the hint and has removed them. So as it stands right now, there’s really only a couple here on the list that I think that you can ignore.

Widgets Useful on a Typical Business Website

Widgets that are useful on a typical website are also fairly few and far between. You have the custom menu which will allow you to place the menu inside of a widget area. The pages which is what we just saw which will essentially list all of your pages that you have on your site. You have the search widget which just sticks the search form on the site. You have a text widget that gives you the opportunity to put any HTML, javascript or text in a sidebar.

And then finally, you have the Thesis search widget and this is sort of a search widget on steroids. It gives you quite a bit more control over what shows up in the search than the standard search widget. But you would use one or the other of these. You wouldn’t use them both.

So really, of all the widgets that are available to your right now, only these 5 are going to be relevant to the website that we’re creating at the moment. As soon as we add the blog functionality to it, that’s going to change. But right now, we really only have these 5 that have potential use. And the real workhorse of it is the text widget. There are 1001 potential uses of the text widget.

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