Using the sidebar Widgets gives WordPress an added layer of convenience and functionality. They can provide a wide range of functions that help users find their way around, share their content and find useful information.
Moreover, there are now more ways than ever to expand the way you use and implement widgets on your site.
Here are ten free widget plugins that you can install on your WordPress website that will enhance the flexibility of widgets and sidebars, as well as a selection of individual widgets that will be quite helpful for your users.
Widget and Sidebar Improvements
Widget Options allows you to take full control of all widgets on your WordPress Web site. Its tabbed options panel lets you conditionally display widgets based on various criteria.
Show or hide widgets based on page, post, device and more. You can also set custom alignments, as well as CSS and ID classes.
Content Aware Sidebars – Unlimited Widget Areas
One of the most common requirements of WordPress site owners is the ability to display multiple sidebars (each with its own set of widgets) depending on the page / post / category the user is viewing.
Content Aware Sidebars lets you create as many sidebars as you want and use them when needed. You can even schedule sidebars to display during specific dates.
Widget Importer & Exporter
If you have ever needed to move widgets from one site to another – it can be an incredible pain to sit there and recreate them all. Widget Importer & Exporter will help you to easily move or simply backup widgets.
The plugin also uses some clever logic to duplicate existing widgets while importing them, and, unless the new site has a separate sidebar, its widgets are still being imported but marked as inactive. This one just makes life easier.
AMR Shortcode Any Widget
Using AMR Shortcode Any Widget provides you with an easy way to add a widget to any page or post on your site. Set up your widget as you normally would, then drag that new widget to a special sidebar created by the plugin.
This is great for sites that do not use sidebars or only occasionally display widgets within page content.
CSS Classes Widget
Styling widgets is not always the easiest thing to do – especially if you only want to focus on specific widgets. CSS Classes Widget Helps by enabling you to add custom CSS classes or IDs to individual widgets in your sidebar.
It also adds classes for first, last, odd, and even-numbered widgets. That allows you to further customize the look. For example, you might want a different background color for each evenly numbered widget or the first widget on the list would stand out a little more.
Widgets That Users Will Love
Sidebars are a great place to add quick contact and information on social media. Astra Widgets provides three widgets that can help: Address, List Icons and Social Profiles. It is a simple solution to create a more user-friendly website.
Maps Widget for Google Maps
Map Widget for Google Maps makes adding custom maps to your sidebar easy. Choose from multiple color schemes and map pins to create a unique look. It is a perfect suggestion for directory listings or event pages.
Latest Posts Widget with Thumbnails
Many of the Widgets included with a standard WordPress installation are pretty basic. Adding the Latest Posts Widget to Thumbnails reinforces the standard text list by creating a visually appealing mailing list based on various criteria.
Advanced options such as setting the order, excerpt length, adhering to sticky posts, and thumbnail size allow you to customize things as you like.
FEEDZY RSS Lite Feeds
While WordPress has its own native RSS Widget, FEEDZY RSS Feeds Lite is a stronger choice. It offers aggregation of multiple feeds, the ability to display images and also includes a powerful Shortcode. Feeds can also be categorized to bring together relevant sources.
WP Tab Widget
Instead of the old-fashioned vertical or horizontal display, WP Tab Widget provides clean, tabbed navigation via AJAX. Choose from Popular, Recent, Comment and Tag widgets. Content is loaded on demand and subsequently cached, so it will not slow down your site.
The Amazing World of Widgets
The widgets themselves and the ability to use them have greatly improved compared to their messy origin. However, it sometimes feels like they have become a bit of an overlook feature. That may be changing, however.
WordPress 5.8 included some new enhancements to widgets and integrated them with the Gutenberg block editor. This opens up the possibilities of a whole new world.
So, this is a great time to get acquainted with WordPress Widgets.