We’ve all heard of widgets for our mobile phones but what are widgets for our websites? WordPress is the largest and most common platform for creating a website. So what is a WordPress widget?
Let me explain and show you how to add them to your website.
What Is A Widget In WordPress?
You will notice on most websites, an area designated to one side of the content area allocated to various types of functioning blocks. It’s known as the sidebar and is most commonly set to the right had side of the pages or posts.
This post for instance has the sidebar or the right with some adverts and a table of where my visitors come from. I also have my social buttons at the top. Each of these are individual widgets.
Widgets can be used for a multitude of things that can enhance your website. Do not get carried away though as they can also detract from your website if used incorrectly.
What Are Widgets For?
Widgets can be used for many types of functions. Here’s a list of some of the more common ways widgets are used.
- Recent Posts/categories
- Social Media Buttons
- Sign up Forms
- Member Login
- Image Gallery
- YouTube Clips
There are many, many more widgets that can be used in your sidebar. You can have a lot of fun experimenting with these.
Particular organizations invent their own widgets that can sometimes be implemented on your website. For instance, I used to run a sports website. I noticed that the official golf PGA website has a widget for the top 10 players in the world. They encourage anyone to use it on their own sites which I took advantage of. As they maintain the widget, the top 10 players were always up to date, I didn’t need to do anything.
When it comes to affiliate marketing, adding adverts to your website is crucial. I’ll explain below how you can add affiliate links to your widgets. It’s easier than you think!
Here’s a simple WordPress widget tutorial so you can learn how to add widgets to your sidebar with minimal fuss. Be aware that depending on your theme, the images shown may look a little different. The majority of WordPress themes are widget ready. If there is no widget section, it means your theme does not supports widgets and therefore you may have to change theme.
General Widget Set-up
The general set-up for adding a WordPress widget is shown below.
- Go to Appearance>Widgets
- On the left side of the Widgets screen, you’ll notice the default WordPress widgets. On the right side of the screen you’ll see the default sidebar.
- Simply drag and drop the widget into the sidebar. Use the ‘Text’ widget as an example. Drag the Text widget to the sidebar, the text dialog will open. Fill out a title and some text into the content area of the widget. Click Save/Update. (This example shows the ‘Recent Comments’ widget being dragged to the sidebar).
4. Refresh your website and you’ll see your new widget appear.
Adding a Widget With Affiliate code Code
In this tutorial, I’ve assumed you’re already signed up to an affiliate program and have your affiliate code.
- The text widget can be used for many of the functions required in your sidebar. We’ll use the text widget for this affiliate code widget. Drag the text widget to the sidebar as in the above lesson.
- Grab your affiliate link from your affiliate program. For this tutorial I’ve grabbed my code from Amazon Associates. Place the code directly into your text widget content area as shown in the image below.
3. You can give it a title if you so desire.
4. Don’t forget to hit the save button.
5. Refresh your page and check out the result. In this instance I get the Amazon image to the right. Now if somebody clicks on this image, they will be taken to the Amazon website to buy the product. This is where I will make my commission.
How to Add a Google Map
- Find your selected area on Google maps. Choose whether it will be ‘Map’ or ‘Earth’ view. This is done in the bottom left corner of Google maps.
- Go to Settings in the bottom right corner and choose ‘Share or Embed’.
- This dialog box will appear, click ‘Embed’.
- You’ll now be given an option for the size of the map you want to insert, see below. Click on custom size. You will need to find out the width of your sidebar, this varies by theme.
- The width for my theme is 250px so in the dialog box below I’ve entered 250x250
- Now it’s simply a matter of inserting the code into your text widget content area and presto, refresh the page and your Google map will appear in your sidebar.
If your just beginning out with starting a website, don’t be scared of widgets. They’re can actually be pretty fun to play around with.
As you can see, the WordPress widget area is made for anyone to use, not just techno guru’s. You will not have to use any HTML coding to have a great looking sidebar. The only coding you need is for your adverts and affiliate links, which are generated for you by the affiliate program or Adsense.
So get involved and check out the different types of widgets that can be added to your sidebar. Every website is different so don’t just limit yourself to the common types of widgets. Enjoy!
I hope you’ve learnt something here and if you have anything to add, please leave a comment below.