Have you ever started designing a page on your website and found that some pieces of information just didn’t flow well together?

Calls to action, biographies, and social media feeds are just a few oddball elements that don’t have enough substance to warrant their own webpages, but don’t always play nicely with the content on existing pages either. Still, these elements are important for giving context to your content, enriching the user experience (UX), and converting visitors to leads.

Rather than omitting these components altogether for the sake of design, you can keep them on the page while maintaining a beautiful UX.

The solution? WordPress widgets.

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This post will go over what a WordPress widget is, their benefits, and how to add one to your website. We’ll also give you some great plugin options that help you easily enhance your widgets, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to maximize their functionalities.

You can add a widget for nearly anything from a lead form to your business’s live Twitter feed. Take a look at this chart for more types of widgets you can add to your website. WordPress automatically comes with a wide selection of widgets, but you can always add more using plugins.

  • Image Gallery
  • Social Media Feed
  • Lead Form
  • Featured Blog Post
  • Navigation Menu
  • Author Bio
  • Video
  • Email Subscribe Form

And here’s an example of what a calendar widget looks like in the sidebar of a WordPress website:

Calendar widget in a sidebar on a website

Image Source

Why Add a Widget to a WordPress Page or Post?

Adding specific, yet relevant content to a webpage is just one reason to add a widget to a page or post on your WordPress site. There are several other opportunities that your website might be missing that a widget could bring to the pages.

  • Improved navigation: You can add additional menus in a sidebar that can help your users navigate that page or the entire site.
  • Advertisement Opportunities: If you’re running advertisements on your WordPress site, you’ll find that adding a widget to your sidebar and footer specifically for this purpose is key to balancing your user experience and your ad revenue.
  • Additional Content: New blog posts, evergreen content, and limited-time offers are some examples of additional content that may have their own pages on your site, but could use some additional promotion to your readers. Adding these content types as widgets in a sidebar is a smart way to get them front-and-center without appearing distracting.

How to Add a Widget in WordPress

Widgets are a native WordPress feature, so you can add them without any additional plugins or third-party tools. There are two ways to add a widget natively in WordPress — using the drag and drop feature or selecting a sidebar or footer from the widget drop-down. Both methods are demonstrated in the gif below.

  • Go to Appearance, then Widgets.
  • Select the widget you want to add to the sidebar.
  • Drag the widget to the side bar and drop it in the box.

If you have several sidebars or footers on different pages, you can add a widget to those by selecting them from the widget drop down.

  • Go to Appearance, then Widgets.
  • Select the widget you want to add to the sidebar.
  • Click the arrow on the right side of the widget to reveal the dropdown.
  • Select the sidebar or footer you want to add the widget to.
  • Click Add Widget style="font-size: 1.125rem; font-weight: 400;">.

How to add a widget in WordPress gif

How to Add a Widget to a WordPress Page or Post Using a Plugin

Typically, when you add a widget to a sidebar, it would display on every page of your website. This content typically serves as a reminder to the visitor to engage with the additional resources that you have to offer.

However, this sidebar content isn’t always relevant to all posts and pages on your site. Instead, you want to show site visitors relevant, page-related content that provides further value, like an About Us page with a contact form widget (like the one shown in the image below) for site visitors with additional questions.

While you can use native WordPress functions to add widgets to your website, the default settings don’t allow you to display (or disable) these widgets on specific posts or pages — whether you want them there or not.

To solve this, use plugins. These custom add-ons will help you manage where widgets appear and how they look.

Let’s go over how you can use plugins to restrict widgets to different posts and pages to ensure that you’re providing your site visitors with the most valuable, relevant information.

custom form widget example showing how to add widget to WordPress page

With these WordPress plugins, you can add and remove plugins from specific pages. With an easy setup process, you can update your page in just a few minutes.

1. AMR Shortcode Any Widget

AMR Shortcode Any Widget is a popular widget for non-technical users. You can insert these widgets onto your pages with a simple shortcode.

Here’s how to use it:

amr shortcode plugin to add widget to WordPress page

  • Navigate to the specific page or post where you want to add the widget.
  • Insert the shortcode into the Visual Editor.
  • After following these steps, it should appear on the page or post like this:

example of adding widget to WordPress page

2. Content Blocks (Custom Post Widget)

Content Blocks is another shortcode plugin unique in that you can create custom widget content using the built-in WYSIWYG editor.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Install and activate the plugin.
  • On the left-hand side of your dashboard, click Content Blocks.
  • Then, click Add Content Block.
  • Give the new content block a title.
  • Insert this new block into the Visual Editor.

visual editor to add widget to WordPress page

  • Click Publish.
  • On the same page, scroll down until you see Content Block Shortcodes on the right-hand side.content block shortcodes to add widget to WordPress page
  • Copy the shortcode and insert it into the Visual Editor for the page or post you want to display the widget on.
  • Preview the content to see your changes, and click Insert Content Block when done.

3. WP Page Widget

WP Page Widget is a useful tool for creating widgetized page layouts in sidebar-enabled WordPress themes.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Install and activate the plugin.
  • On the left-hand side of your dashboard, go to Settings, then Page widgets settings.
  • Next to Available for post type, check Post and Page, or wherever you’d like it to be displayed.
  • Select the desired sidebars or sections of your page that you’d like to customize.
  • Optional step: select Yes to customize by default to ensure that you always have control of where widgets are displayed on your site.
  • Preview your changes if desired or simply select Save Changes.

settings page widgets to add widget to WordPress page

  • Navigate to the desired page or post where you want to add the widget and scroll down to the Page Widgets section.

page widgets section to add widget to WordPress page

  • Drag and drop the desired widgets into this area.
  • Preview the content to see your changes before they go live.

4. Custom Sidebars – Dynamic Widget Area Manager

Custom Sidebars helps you display custom widgets on pages or posts by category, ensuring that site visitors only see relevant and related content.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Install and activate the plugin.
  • Navigate to Appearance, then to Widgets. Here you’ll see a new area called Custom Sidebars.

custom sidebars plugin to add widget to WordPress page

  • You can create a custom sidebar or drag and drop the default included widgets into the section marked Theme Sidebars. You can control where the sidebar appears (in the sidebar or footer section) for both types.
  • Click the down arrow on the desired widget, then click Visibility (as shown below).

visibility of custom sidebars plugin to add widget to WordPress page

  • Click the + button to indicate when the widget will display on specific pages or posts.

filter options in custom sidebars to add widget to WordPress page

  • Save your widget settings.
  • Preview the content to see your changes.

5. Cherry Sidebars

This unique plugin can display widgets within different areas on your site and assign widgets to display on different groups of pages or posts.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Install and activate the plugin.
  • Go to Appearance, then Widgets.
  • You’ll see a new widget area labeled Cherry Sidebars underneath the default sidebars customizer.
  • Drag and drop your pre-downloaded widgets.

cherry sidebars plugin to add widget to WordPress page

  • Navigate to the specific page or post where you want to add the widget.
  • Scroll down until you see Post Sidebars on the right-hand side menu.

post sidebars to add widget to WordPress page

  • From the drop-down menu, select the sidebars you want to use.
  • Save the page or post.
  • Preview the content to see your changes.

6. Sidebar & Widget Manager for WordPress

Sidebar & Widget Manager for WordPress is a feature-rich plugin that gives you full control over displaying widgets on your site. You can select the relevant pages or posts to display your widgets and change their placements on each page.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Install and activate the plugin.
  • Navigate to Appearance, then to Widgets.
  • Click the Set Visibility button and choose the pages where you want your widgets to be displayed.

demo of how to add widget to specific pages all at once

You can also change where widgets are positioned on your pages and posts by creating custom sidebar widgets. Here’s how:

  • First, navigate to the Pages section.
  • Build your layout or select a default option from the dropdown menu.
  • Drag and drop the sidebars that contain the widgets you want to display.

demo of how to create custom sidebar widgets on wordpress page

  • Preview the post or page to see your changes.

Choosing a Plugin to Display Your Widgets

Customizing your blog posts and webpages with widgets can inspire engagement with site visitors by featuring additional content. While WordPress’s default settings may not include the features you need, the additional plugins on this list offer alternative solutions to help you build the WordPress site you want.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Use HubSpot tools on your WordPress website and connect the two platforms  without dealing with code. Click here to learn more.

 Use HubSpot tools on your WordPress website and connect the two platforms  without dealing with code. Click here to learn more.

Originally published Mar 25, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated March 25 2021

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