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Understanding WordPress Widgets

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Welcome to this fourth and final session in our WordPress 4.7 crash course. In this next session we are going to focus on customizing the functionality of your site in particular using widgets and plugins.

Widget Admin Panel

Let’s come over here to the Appearance and the Widgets panel this is what I refer to as the widgets panel. The widgets panel has four sections. And only two of the sections have anything in them right now and those are the available widgets and the sidebar.

Inactive Widgets

Then you have inactive widgets. This section is for widgets that were once used in one of these widget areas but you decided that you didn’t want to use there. You don’t necessarily want to throw it away, you’re just not using it right now and you want to save it. And so you can drag it over to inactive widgets. That’s the way you move the widgets around, by dragging them from one section to another.

Widget Areas Different From Theme to Theme

I want to note that if you’re changing themes, there are different widget areas in different themes. You can find that when you’re changing themes that you’ll end up with inactive sidebars with widgets in them in this inactive widgets section.

This it happens especially in the Thesis theme if you have say, activated one skin and then deactivated another. The one that was deactivated will have its widget areas down here. And all of its widgets will be down here. And then if you reactivate it then it’s widget areas come up here.

What is a Widget?

What is a widget? Well, a widget is a module that adds content or some kind of functionality to a page. For example, in this case we’ve got a search widget, a recent posts widget, a recent comments widget, and an archives widget and categories. I’m going to get rid of the recent comments widget and categories. Save it. Or reload it.

Well maybe this would be better managed in the customizer. Actually, it seems that in this theme widgets only show up on the blog page or on post pages. These are your widgets on this site. There’s recent posts, search categories – let’s reorder categories again and put the search back up by recent posts.

Actually. I’m going to get rid of that and put recent posts down in footer instead. Now I’ve got a widget here in one footer. Let’s just close it. We’re going to leave without making those changes.

Here we are back into our sidebar. We’ll keep recent posts and we’ll put that in the footer. We’ve got search and categories and then what else? We can put archives over here under footer just to show something. Now when we come over to the news we’ve got our our our searches there and we’ve got our categories. Down here at the bottom we’ve got recent posts and archives.

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