How to Use Widgets in WordPress

This is a tutorial for the video answers to top WordPress questions series that we have been publishing on this site to help users get started with WordPress.

In this tutorial, you will learn:

  • How to use Widgets the standard way.
  • How to manage widgets in the more preferred Live Preview mode.
  • How to add Extra Sidebar Widgets.
  • How to conditionally show a Widget based on a specific page or section of the web site.

Steps for Managing WordPress Widgets, and Showing them Conditionally

  1. After logging into the WordPress Dashboard, click on Appearance, and then Widgets.
  2. Drag a Widget to where you want to place it in a Widget Area.
  3. Make any desired changes to the Widget settings, and click Save.
  4. View the changes on the web site.
  5. You can preview changes to Widgets before making them live, by using the Live Preview mode in the WordPress Customizer. At the top of the standard Widgets screen, you can click the Manage with Live Preview button. Otherwise, click Appearance, then Customize, then Widgets.
  6. Once there, you will see all of the Widget areas defined by the theme, and any plugins. Choose a Widget area that you want to make changes to.
  7. Click the Add a Widget button. Choose a Widget to Preview how it will look on the web site. Reorder the widgets if desired.
  8. Click Save & Publish if you are content, or click the X button, and confirm by clicking the Leave button if you do not want to save your changes.
  9. You can browse the WordPress Plugin Repository to add more Widgets, or you can include a bundle of new Widgets offered by the JetPack plugin.
  10. To see the extra Widgets offered by JetPack, you can install JetPack, activate it with your WordPress.com account, and choose the Free plan if desired.
  11. Now, go to JetPack, and then Settings, and then Appearance in the WordPress Menu.
  12. Activate Extra Sidebar Widgets, and also activate Widget Visibility while you are in there, as we will be covering that next.
  13. Now go back to Appearance, Customize, Widgets to browse the new Widget inventory, which includes additional subscription, social, and translation options.
  14. Now, open any of the Widgets that you have included, and click the Visibility button. In there you can define a set of rules for what areas of the web site that particular widget will or will not show up on.
  15. Finally, make sure to save your changes before exiting.

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