Building Block #6:
WordPress Widgets Create the Exterior of Your Virtual House
Your house now has its inside walls, a roof, framing, a foundation and the land it sits on. What’s next?
These are your outside walls, windows, siding, etc.
In your WordPress website, you’ll use widgets to create the exterior finishes.
What are widgets? They’re a specific type of plugin. Sure, I could have included them with the other plugins, but they’re specialized enough I thought they deserved their own category.
Originally WordPress widgets were used specifically to make specific things happen in a site’s sidebar. The sidebar sits on the side of the page — it can be either right or left, or both. On this site, the sidebar includes testimonials, the menu to help you find basic tutorials more easily, some buttons that will let you connect with me on social media, and a list of recent articles.
Today, WordPress has expanded the widgets’ role. Now they can function inside any “widgetized area.” That includes the sidebar, often a footer, and sometimes other areas on a page as well.
Your theme will include widgetized areas, and may allow you to add more if you need them. For example, many sites use a special widgetized area that displays a slideshow on the home page.
On WordPress Building Blocks, we have a footer with three widgetized areas. If you scroll down the page, you’ll see a bit about me, some recent articles, and recent Tweets. Widgets make all of these happen.
And, just like other plugins, you don’t have to know anything fancy to use them, you just plug them in.
Once you’ve completed the outside walls, doors and windows it’s time to finish off the inside. Let’s move on to Building Block 7.
This article was updated on July 8, 2022.