How to Use WordPress Widgets

WordPress widgets allow you to put chunks of information in your sidebar or other places on your site very easily. Widgets are similar to Blogger’s Gadgets.

There are all kinds of widgets, many of which depend on your theme, but here is a basic explanation.

Can’t see the video? Watch it here.

Video Notes

Your widgets are items that go in your blog’s sidebars or footers or other places in your theme. Sidebar widgets are the most common. To manage your widgets:

  1. Go to Dashboard –> Appearance –> Widgets.
  2. Drag and drop your desired widgets from the “Available Widgets” section on the left side of your screen, into the appropriate area on the right side of your screen (sidebar, footer, etc.). If you are unable to slide a widget into a section, click the down arrow to open it up.
  3. Configure your widget with a title and your choice of settings (if available). Note, you do not have to use a title if you prefer a cleaner finished look.
  4. Click the save button in each individual widget.
  5. Return to your blog and refresh. It should be there!

Tip: If you’d like to remove a widget from your site, but think you might want to use it at a later time, simply drag it into the “Inactive Widgets” section at the bottom of your widgets screen in the Dashboard.

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  1. says

    Oh my goodness! It took me three times to add Feedburner but I finally did it. Thank you so much for your step by step directions. You are walking me through my first blog.

  2. says

    Hi Amy, Is there a way to change the text widget so a different text (quote in our case) appears on different pages. Or even having rolling quotes so there are a variety on the different pages of out site?
    Thank you,

  3. says

    Hi Amy, I am so lost. Would you mind looking at my blog and telling me how I can stop each blue highlighted category (for example “hawaii” on the left column to not show up under both “all together now” and “just the two of us”. I just want to put it under “all together now.” I appreciate any chance that you might be able to look. I’m sure its a simple answer, but I’m about to pull my hair out!

    • Amy says

      Hi Tanya, I realize I’m a bit late to the game here, but I’m not sure I’m following. I don’t see a left column??

  4. jodi says

    I am using Atahualpa while I try and figure out WP (having been on blogger for several years) I have tried to “remove” a few widgets from my side bar. Including the Recent Posts widget. I moved (by dragging) the Recent Post widget from the sidebar to the available widgets area. (by going from Dashboard, Appearance, Widgets)
    The Recent Post widget shows up in the widget area and is no longer over in the column labeled Left Sidebar.
    But when I go back to the front page of my blog (and refresh), the Recent Post widget is still there. As is the Blog Roll Widget which I tried to remove.
    The widgets that I DO want in my left hand sidebar, that are showing up under (dashboard, appearance, widgets, left sidebar) like Categories and Search widgets are NOT showing up on the blog. ??? I’ve been trying this over and over for at least an hour. Help….

  5. says

    Do you know if there is a limit to how many widgets you can put in an area? I am not having success in adding more widgets to my “primary widget area” or my “secondary widget” area.

    Also besides those to areas, I’ve only been able to add widgets to the “footer menu”. Am I doing something wrong?

    Thank you!

    • Amy says

      Hmmmm…it might depend on your theme. I’ve never had trouble with a limited number of widgets. I would check on the theme’s page??

  6. Pam says

    Yes, last night after searching and trying to get the widget to show up I switched back to Graphene theme. It seems to be working and it works with my recipe data too. I really am learning a great deal from you bog. Thanks!

  7. says

    I can’t get the text widgets to show up at all. I am at a loss right now. I have searced forums and your site too. I am using Techozoic Fluid 2.0.6 and it has built in widgets to utilize. What am I doing wrong? Thanks!

    • Amy says

      Hmmm…hard to say since so many themes are written differently. You might try a new theme (perhaps the default Twenty Eleven theme)??

  8. says

    I have tried to look this up via wordpress support. But I still cannot figure it out! If the widget I want ( Follow ME) is not available to add , is there a way to add. Or am I just out of luck? Is it because its a Free theme? I am using oxygen.

    • Amy says

      Are you using Unfortunately, they don’t let you use plugins. A self-hosted WP blog (, however, does not have the same limitations. I talked about vs. on my FAQ page.

  9. says

    I have successfully used the widgets in my blog, but I’m drawing a blank on one of them — the blogroll. I’m not even sure that I want to use it, but when I’ve added it to my right sidebar just to check it out, I don’t see where to actually add the links for any blogs. It’s just some boxes and checks. Clearly I’m missing something here. It can’t be that complicated! If you get a chance to answer, that would be terrific. Thanks Amy. You’ve been so helpful in this process.

    • Amy says

      You can add links for the blogroll by going to Dashboard –> Links –> Add New. Blogroll is already there by default. Every new link you add can be assigned to the Blogroll link category. Of course you can add your own link categories too. Just poke around the “Links” option.

        • says

          Michelle, I looked at your site (looks a lot like mine right now :)). Did you have a hard time with your feedburner widget? Mine is giving a bunch of options for subscribing? I need to get THIS fixed before bringing my subscribers from my old blog over (they will need to re-subscribe). I can then work on wrapping up the rest of my design as my blog goes live. I can’t figure this out! Amy or Michelle….any ideas? Go to my site and it is on the left side (for now) so you can see what I mean. It is in the BFA Subscribe widget. Thanks!

  10. says

    Help before I had been so lucky to turn onto your wonderful site I was as a man often
    does just winging it. (Shocked I Know) well now the widgets do not draga nd drop i have to edit and then choose where at in the side bar they go. AND I do not like it and i am not sure where i change such a setting to cuase it to be this way. Can youassist a novice???

    Jaxgman // ////

  11. says

    Hi Amy I have another stupid question. Maybe I’m using a wrong theme for what I’m doing. This is my first blog. I’m not able to add blogs, pages or anything to my categories. For an exaple under Home School resources, I’m not able to add anything underneath it. Did I miss one of your steps? Thanks

    • Amy says

      First, there are no stupid questions. :)

      Second, I think you might be misunderstanding what categories are. I think instead of categories, you would like to add some text under your widget titles. Is that correct? Categories are what you assign your blog posts to. So, for example, if I write a post about Math U See, I can assign that post to the “Homeschool Resources” category. However, if you put widgets in your sidebar with the title “Homeschool Resources” and you want to add text underneath, you can do so directly in your text widget. Does that help?

  12. says

    Hi I’m new at building my new blog site and I have a few questions. I did widgets with a drop down box, however I can’t figure out how to add more things under the drop down box. Also when added the “home” button, will it work for my visitors to select home and go back to my home page?
    Thank you

    • Amy says

      I took a quick peek and the dropdowns in your sidebar should populate automatically once you start adding categories to your posts. Hopefully your theme works with the Menu feature (Appearance–>Menus) and you can add a Home link. I hope that makes sense!

  13. Heather Morge says

    I figured it out, I think. I was posting in the right side bar and not the inner, right sidebar. I was confused having only 3 columns, left, middle, and right.



  14. says

    Hello: A blogging friend recommended your site to me and I am very grateful she did. I am learning so much. I do have a question though. I have been going through all your steps and have come to here and the only problem I have is how do I get the Blogroll with WordPress’ Links off my Main Page?. I am new to WordPress (which I find harder than but that’s okay, I love to learn) Once I can figure that out, I will be so happy.

    I am using the Theme you recommended and I thank you for all your wonderful information!~

    • Amy says

      Hi Jennifer! I’m so glad you stopped by and are finding BWA helpful.

      It looks like you may have already figured out how to remove the links, in which case, way to go! You can do that in Appearance–>Widgets (if I understand your question correctly).

  15. cms babu says

    Dear Amy,
    on your blog the drop down menu QUICK TIPS & TUTORIALS when drops down is hidden by the flash player. If this is designed like this it is ok except that it hides some menu items. Other wise this can be rectified in flash settings in your code. This is just a suggestion. Otherwise nice blog. Keep it up.