Now that you understand what widgets are and how they work in WordPress 3.9, the next thing to talk about are the types of available WordPress widgets. Widgets really fall into 5 categories.
Blog Related Widgets
The first category is blog related widgets. These are the widgets that only work if you are using the blog functionality on the site and they’re useless if you are not using the blog functionality.
Those widgets are Archives, Calendar, Categories, Recent Comments, RSS, Tag Cloud and Recent Posts. Those are all related to a blog and if you are not using a blog then you’re not going to want to use any of those widgets period.
Safely Ignored Widgets
The second category of widgets are the safely ignored widgets. In this case, the only safely ignored widget is the Meta widget. The meta widget is really, as far as I’m concerned, an entirely useless widget.
Here’s the meta widget. It gives you a link to the back side, it gives you a link to log out and both of those things were up here. It has a couple of RSS feed links and then links to wordpress.org. Really, this isn’t something any regular professional website would want to have on its site. There maybe some obscure purpose for it on a blog but really never on a real website.
Widgets on a Static Page
The third category of widgets are widgets that are useful on a static page, that is on a site that is not using the blog functionality of WordPress. Those widgets are Custom Menu, Pages, Search and Text.
The Custom Menu just puts a menu in the sidebar, any one of the menus that you create under menus.
Pages adds a list of pages to the sidebar. So we can say “My Pages”, hit save and look at our site. Now here are “My Pages” and they are listed in alphabetical order in this case.
This may be a place where you can use page order as the order of the list of pages. Let’s switch to page order and hit save. We’ll refresh that and the order has changed somewhat because all of these were 0. It stayed alphabetical but these two switched spots because they had page order numbers assigned to them.
You can also exclude pages from that so I’m going to exclude my blog and home page from this. The way you do that is by coming over to Pages and then hovering your mouse over the page title. So hover over blog here and see down there at the very bottom left corner it says post=7? Well, that is the page id of this page.
If we hover over a home, it says post=5. If we hover over Optimizing Your Content with Formatting it says post=25. Those are the page ids. In order to exclude the post using that widget you have to use the page ids. We’re looking at page id 7 and 5, so we can come over and say 5,7 and hit save. Refresh and now those pages are removed from my page list.
For example, the Search box, Google Custom Search, was inserted using a text widget. This call to action was inserted using a text widget. This linkedin thing was inserted using a text widget. Text widgets are very very versatile and they can take just about anything, any kind of HTML.