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Lesson 10 – Understanding and Using Plugins & Widgets

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Lesson 10 of our Build a Professional Services Website using the Thesis theme and WordPress is all about understanding and using plugins and widgets for your small business/professional services website.

We talk about what WordPress widgets are and how to use them. Then we show examples of types of widgets that are useful for blogs and business websites as well as ones you can safely ignore. Once we’ve discussed widgets, we move on to talking about what plugins are and how they work.

The second half of the lesson focuses on using specific widgets and plugins to either help with the styling of your site or to add content such as a Call To Action or Video to your site.

Understanding WordPress Widgets – Watch the Video

  • What’s a Widget?

    • A module that adds content or functionality to a page
    • Can only be placed in a widget area
  • Understanding the Widgets panel

    • Sidebars
    • Available widgets
    • Inactive widgets
  • Add a widget to a sidebar

  • Parts of a widget

    • Title
    • Settings
  • Arrange widgets within a sidebar

Types of WordPress Widgets – Watch the Video

  • Blog related widgets

    • Archives
    • Calendar
    • Categories
    • Recent Comments
    • Recent Posts
    • RSS
    • Tag Cloud
    • Killer Recent Entries
    • Subscriptions
  • Safely Ignored Widgets

    • Meta
    • Search
    • Google Custom Search
  • Widgets Useful on a Static Site

    • Custom Menu
    • Links
    • Pages
    • Text
    • Thesis Search Widget

Understanding WordPress Plugins – Watch the Video

  • What’s a plugin?

    • A module that adds functionality to your site
    • Does not necessarily display anything on a page
  • Understanding the plugin dashboard

    • plugin navigation
    • bulk actions
    • plugin status
      • Name
      • Description
      • Action links
      • Author link
      • Plugin link
  • Updating Plugins

Installing Plugins – Watch the Video

  • Quick Installation Method

    • Install screen
      • admin screen links
      • search form
      • browse tags
    • Search for term
    • Select from list
    • View Details
    • Install
    • activate
  • FTP Method

    • Locate on plugin repository
    • Download to your computer
    • unzip file to appropriate location
    • ftp
    • activate
  • Deactivate Plugin

  • Delete Plugin

Install and Configure the BYOB Thesis Footer Widgets Plugin – Watch the Video

  • Download from

    • Go to Fan Central
    • Plugins page
  • Quick Install the BYOB Thesis Footer Widgets plugin

  • Create a single row with 3 widget columns

Add Contact Information Using a Text Widget – Watch the Video

  • Add text widget to your sidebar
  • Add a title to the widget
  • Add Contact Information
  • Automatically add paragraphs
  • Style the Heading
  • Style the text
  • Set the alignment

Create a Call to Action Using a Text Widget – Watch the Video

  • Text based Call to Action

    • title
    • phone number link
    • heading link
    • text
  • Opt-in form

    • get the code
    • paste the code
  • Style the widget using Thesis Design Options

Add a Video Using a Text Widget – Watch the Video

  • Get the video embed code

    • Set the width correctly
  • Add a title

  • Add the code

Configure the NextGen Gallery Plugin – Watch the Video

  • What NextGen Gallery does

    • Collects pictures in a gallery
    • Displays gallery on a page
    • Click the thumbnail results in the expanded view
  • Initial Settings – Options

    • General Options
    • Thumbnails
    • Images
  • Create a gallery

    • Upload images
    • Manage gallery
    • Add alt tags
    • Add descriptions
  • Add the widget

    • Title
    • Number to show
    • Width and Height
  • Optimize the Thumbnail Size

Question and Answer Session – Watch the Video

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