WordPress Widgets are the small blocks which perform some specific actions according to the user’s needs. WordPress widgets are created to perform some specific actions with the structure and design defined by the theme in an easy and simple manner. Widgets allow you to add contents or features to the widgetized areas of your theme. They can be dragged and dropped to specific areas called widget areas. The widget areas are defined by the theme, most commonly the sidebars are the most used widget areas in WordPress.
There are thousands of widgets available for the WordPress CMS. You can select from a wide range of widgets to apply to your website. Categories, tag cloud, navigation menu, calendar, search, recent posts, etc… are some default WordPress widgets which built in with the WordPress. They are some basic ones which help you to do some basic operations. There is a wide range of plugins and contents available to add to your widget areas. You can add almost any plugins or files available on your website to the widget areas.
The theme must support the widget areas to add your widgets to the specified places. You can go to Appearance > Widgets section in your WordPress dashboard to know more about the widgets of your theme and their areas. If you are unable to find any widget areas there. It means your theme doesn’t support widget areas of its own. In such a situation or if you want to add additional widget areas to the theme, you must edit the function files of your theme and add some codes to them as per your requirements.
Note: Editing the theme files is an option for the programmers or someone who knows the basic coding languages like HTML, CSS, PHP, etc… misconfigurations of these files may cause serious problems to your theme. So, don’t edit them unless you are aware of what you are going to do.
What is a widget area?
A WordPress widget area is a placeholder where you can use WordPress widgets. The widget areas can be created by the theme or by custom code in the functions.php or any other plugins. If you want to use a widget in WordPress, you should have a widget area which it can be placed in. There are many widget areas available in WordPress by based on the theme that you are using.
For example, you can place a navigation menu in the header widget area, The social media icons in a footer widget area, or a tag cloud in the sidebar widget area. Multiple widgets can be added to the same widget area and can be ordered by dragging and dropping them. Widget areas make it extremely easy to add widgets to almost anywhere on the website.
Uses of WordPress widgets
WordPress widgets can be used for many things. Mostly, they are used for displaying certain functionalities in a certain area of your website. Here are other important uses of WordPress widgets –
- Widgets can be used to displaying content or functionality anywhere in your theme.
- They can be provided as a way for the users to manage their account or profile.
- Webmasters can also use widgets to let users control the appearance of their website.
- They are very easy to add/remove, making them extremely flexible compared to placing/removing code.
How can you add additional widgets?
Widgets are usually provided by the theme or plugins you are using. For example, if you are using an advertisement plugin, there will be multiple ad placeholders which you can drag and drop to certain locations in a widget area. In addition to that, you may also create additional widgets using custom code, which can be placed anywhere in your WordPress theme files.