This tutorial is a brief introduction to widgets in WordPress. It covers what widgets are and how and where you can use them on your site.

Widgets are small blocks of content and/or functions that can be displayed in certain "widgetized" areas (i.e., areas that support the use of widgets) of your site. Which areas of your site are widgetized will depend on the theme and theme layout you're using—most themes support the use of widgets in sidebars and footers. For example, this page has two widgets in its sidebar: a text widget displaying the list of WordPress tutorials, as well as a search widget.

Your COPLACDigital WordPress site comes with about 20 default widgets, some of which are more useful for blogs, while others are more useful for static sites. You'll find the widgets that are available to you from your Dashboard by choosing Appearance > Widgets. The Widgets screen has a list of available widgets, as well as short descriptions of what they do:

  • Akismet — Displays the number of spam comments Akismet has blocked.
  • Archives — A monthly archive of your site's posts.
  • Audio — Displays an audio player.
  • Calendar — A calendar of your site's posts.
  • Categories — A list or dropdown of categories.
  • Custom HTML — Arbitrary HTML code.
  • Gallery — Displays an image gallery.
  • Image — Displays an image.
  • Links — Your blogroll.
  • Meta — Login, RSS, and links.
  • Navigation Menu — Add a navigation menu to your sidebar.
  • Pages — A list of your site's pages.
  • Recent Comments — Your site's most recent comments.
  • Recent Posts — Your site's most recent posts.
  • RSS — Entries from any RSS or Atom feed.
  • Search — A search form for your site.
  • Tag Cloud — A cloud of your most used tags.
  • Text — Arbitrary text.
  • Video — Displays a video from the media library or from YouTube, Vimeo, or another provider.

The widgets that you'll probably find most useful for your sites are: SearchText, Navigation Menu, and Custom HTML. (But you are by no means limited to using just those!)