What are WordPress Widgets? (A Simple YouTube Video Explanation)

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By using WordPress widgets, you can add a LOT of new features to your WordPress-powered website: whether you’re looking to customize or add to the sidebar, the header or footer, widgets can help! But what are WordPress widgets? Are they the same as plugins? Spoiler: no, they’re not! And where you can you get new ones?

Fear not! Here’s a quick video on all you need to know!

What are WordPress Widgets:

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– (note: video credits to Topher DeRosia – creator of HeroPress)

Video Transcript:

Hi! This is Topher with WinningWP. In this video we’re going to answer the question “What are WordPress Widgets?” WordPress widgets are small pieces of WordPress that do simple specific things. Let me show you some examples. I’m looking at a default WordPress install here, I’ve done nothing to it. Here on the left we have a search box. THAT is a widget just by itself. Beneath it we have a recent posts section and it’s showing one recent post and that is a widget. That’s all it does is show recent posts. And then there’s recent comments and all it does is show recent comments. Archives, categories, and then there’s a meta widget which basically gives links to important things inside WordPress. Now each of these is a very simple small thing and you’ll note that I have it here in a sidebar. Widgets must go in a sidebar or a widget area. Originally sidebars were the only place that anyone ever put widgets but people began to think that it might be a good idea to put them in the footer as well or the header or any number of places. So these days sidebar really means widget area, and you could find them down here in the footer or up in the header or anything like that. WordPress comes with widgets built in. This is a small sampling of them but if we go into the admin area under appearance widgets you can see here all the widgets available. And sticking with tradition of being small and simple each one does pretty much one thing. The audio widget displays an audio player, that’s it. The custom menu widget shows one menu. The text widget allows you to put in some arbitrary text but that’s it. Now over here on the right we have a widget area. “Add widgets here to appear in your sidebar” So these are the widgets that we saw on the front page and they can be organized as simply as dragging them. So now Search is not on top anymore. You’ll note that I didn’t hit save. I didn’t do anything I just dragged it. And now if we reload our homepage you’ll see that search moved. And so if you want a new widget, for example a text widget, you simply drag it in there. And you can see you have some very light HTML tools to make things bold italicized etc. Now let’s look at our home page; and there’s my text widget. Now more widgets can be created by themes or plugins. For example if you get an e-commerce plug-in and start selling things in your site you’ll probably get a cart widget, and that’s where when people add a product it lists how many products they have in their cart. and it follows them around the site and they can click it to check out. There are thousands and thousands of widgets available on WordPress.org in the plugins section. You simply go to WordPress.org click on plugins and search for widget and you will get hundreds and hundreds of results. pages of results. There’s a Google Maps widget, a category posts widget, contact widgets; nearly everything you could imagine will be here. If you’re interested in reading more about widgets on a blog post check out the link in the video description below. If you’d like to learn more about WordPress check out WinningWP.com.

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