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Lesson 12 – Part 7 – Using Blog Related Widgets

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Now we’re going to talk about widgets that are useful for blogs. You probably remember from our widgets lecture that there were these widgets I described as blog related widgets. And that is archives, calendar, categories, recent comments, recent posts, RSS, tag cloud, Thesis killer recent entries and Thesis subscriptions. Well, we’re going to go ahead and take a look at some of those now and use them on our site.

Add Thesis Killer Recent Entries to Widget Area

Let’s come back over here to the dashboard and go over to Appearance and Widgets. For an example, let’s take this Thesis killer recent entries and move it into one of our footer widget areas. So if we take Thesis killer recent entries and drop it into footer widget area one and we just put in here, recent articles as our title.

This actually gives you the choice of either choosing a specific category or just doing all recent posts in order of their recency. For the purpose of this seminar, I’m going to say 3. You could also show the number of comments if you wanted. And if we were doing some special styling as we did last week, you could add a class to it but we’re not going to do that.

Let’s hit save to this now and come back over and refresh this. Scroll down to here, now here’s our 3 most recent articles. And if you click on that, it’ll take you there.

Add Categories to a Widget

Well, a similar kind of thing can happen with categories. So I’ll shift drag categories into this. We can just say Article Topics here and we could display it as a drop down which if you’ve got lots of them, might be useful. But it’s not useful to us here.

You can add the post counts to it so people can see how many posts are with that topic and you could show the hierarchy so that if something is a sub category then it’s slightly indented from its parent. But we’re just going to leave it just like this for the moment.

Let’s hit save to that and refresh the page, now we’ve got article topics. And notice that it gets displayed in this case alphabetically. Now if we were displaying it hierarchically then that alphabetical part would be interrupted and the hierarchy would be shown instead.

Add an Archives Widget

Now there are other widgets we could put here as well. For example, instead of this text widget, we could put an archives widget in here. And let’s see, article archives. Hit save, refresh the page and now you can see what it does.

Here is it gives you the month. And so if you click on the link here, now it shows you… what the heck is that? Oh, look! Somehow, the date archive page held on to the old header styling. So what we have to do is come over to the archives and look at our month archive anyway.

And in our header area, it’s got the toss header, not the typical header. Where is our typical header? Here it is. So if we refresh that, there we go. Now we’re at our typical header and it’s showing every post in December 2012. And if we pick February 2012, it’s this post I posted this morning.

Adjusting Archives Display

Now actually, I’ll show you what it looks like if you use the drop down for this one. We can come over to this and we can display it as a drop down. If you’ve got a couple of years worth of archives, you’re not going to want them showing up in a list like that. So you could display it as a drop down and then if we refresh the page, now you can select a month instead.

Uncategorized Posts

One of the things that should be apparent to you is that you’re not going to want uncategorized to show up here. Uncategorized is where every post goes that doesn’t have a category assigned to it.

And uncategorized is an entirely useless classification so you don’t really want to display it on your page. But unfortunately, the standard WordPress widget displays every category regardless of whether or not you want it displayed.

Using the Widgets Reloaded Plugin to Exclude Uncategorized Posts

Well fortunately, there’s a plugin that resolves that for you and it’s called the Widgets Reloaded plugin. So we are going to go over to plugins and we’re going to install the Widgets Reloaded plugin. Search for Widgets Reloaded.

Widgets Reloaded has not been updated for quite a while. But it doesn’t need to be updated because it’s been working on core WordPress functions that are the same and have continued to be the same for a long time. So if you see the warning that Widgets Reloaded has been around a long time without being changed and maybe it’s been abandoned, it hasn’t been abandoned and it doesn’t need to be changed. It’s one of these things that is sort of a staple.

So we’ll activate the plugin and then if we come back over to Appearance and Widgets, now we have extended widgets here. And in particular, the categories widget… let’s see, killer recent entries is still there. We’ve lost our widget for that one because it replaced the categories widget with its own.

And so we can come over here and drag the categories widget into this. And now, you can give it a title and I’m still going to say article topics. Pick the category which is taxonomy. Go ahead and keep the style as list. You can choose how you want to order it but we’ll go ahead and order it by name, order ascending.

But what we’re going to do is exclude and we are going to exclude uncategorized. And now you can hit save. If we come over and refresh this, now our article topics thing no longer includes the uncategorized.

Using the Widgets Reloaded Plugin to Control the Display of Sidebar Menus

There’s another thing that I often recommend people use it for and that is for sidebar menus. Where is the menu? Navigation menu one and the navigation menu let’s you choose the menu but also lets you change the container and give it a class and stuff like that.

So you have a great deal of control over the menu that gets inserted as a widget here whereas the typical one doesn’t. So sometimes, you want to assign a class to a menu and the navigation menu is the perfect way to do with that.

Otherwise, there are other useful tools in here for that as well. So most of the widgets, the standard WordPress widgets are replaced when you install this Widgets Reloaded plugin. And so it does give you a lot of things that you can do that you couldn’t do otherwise with a standard widget.

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