Widgets are content blocks that are meant to be displayed in secondary locations like the sidebar or footer. These locations are known as widget areas.
Some widgets that you may want to display in your site are:
- About Me/Us (Text widget*)
- Icons leading to your social media pages (Simple Social Icons)
- Email subscribe form (Convert Pro or Genesis eNews)
- Banner/image ads (Image widget *)
- Links to your past blog content (Search, Featured Posts, Categories, or Archives *)
- Social media (Instagram Feed, Pinterest widget, etc)
- HTML code (Custom HTML widget *)
Widgets with * indicate that they are included with WordPress by default.
The widgets available on your website can vary depending on your theme and the active plugins on your website. You can gain new widgets when you install certain plugins. For example, installing the Login with AJAX plugin will add a login form widget that you can display in your website sidebar.
You can manage Widgets with 2 different methods: With the Customizer and live preview, or with the WordPress admin screens in the back end.
Editing Widgets in the Customizer
The Customizer gives you a live preview of the changes you make to your widgets, but you can only view a single widget area at a time.
Editing Widgets in the Admin screens
The Appearance → Widgets screen gives you more space to work, but you need to visit the front end of the site to view your changes.
Adding Widgets to your Content
Widgets were originally meant to be displayed only in pre-defined widget areas. However, the new block editor allows you to add widgets to your content too.
Search for the widget you want to insert and choose it from the block inserter.
The Future of Widgets
Upcoming versions of WordPress will replace widgets and menus with blocks. This way, blocks become the primary way of manipulating all content in WordPress. Therefore we highly recommend that you get familiarized with the block editor.