standard WordPress Widget Options

Whenever you install a new blog, and you look at it, you’ll notice that the sidebar has some default items in it. Yet when you log into your dashboard and look at the widgets, there’s nothing showing up in the sidebar.

You can get rid of those default items and leave your sidebar blank just by adding a text widget and leaving it empty. As soon as anything is added into the sidebar manually by you, the default items disappear.

Log into your dashboard and click on Appearance and then Widgets. This is where you can add items into your sidebar area. And you may have more than one depending on the layout of your theme (like one sidebar on each side of the content for a three-column theme).

You’ll find a list of 15 widgets you can add to your site’s sidebar. First is the AddThis widget. When you drag it into your sidebar, you’ll need to customize it to show the social networking sites the way you want them to be shown and then save and close the widget.

The Calendar widget lets you place a calendar on your sidebar that hyperlinks the days when you made a blog post. The visitors can hover over the day and see what the post title is so they know if they want to read it or not.

You can create a Custom Menu in a widget that showcases whatever elements of your blog you want. You can drag the Pages widget over to highlight the pages if you’d rather they show up here than below the Header. You can sort them and exclude certain ones, too.

The Recent Posts widget lets you choose how many posts are shown. It defaults to five. A Search widget will let your visitors search for blog posts based on certain keywords. A Text widget allows you to place text or HTML code (hyperlinked images, for example) in it.

An Askimet widget just tells people how many Spam comments have been blocked. This may deter spammers from attempting to post comments to your blog. The Archives widget lets you create a drop down menu that shows the month and number of blog posts made during that time frame so visitors can see past blog posts.

The Categories widget does something similar. Visitors can see how many posts are in each category and click through to visit them. The Links widget lets you showcase your blogroll and even the rating you give the links, too.

You may want to add a Meta widget so you can log in from the site’s home page, or showcase participation through the Recent Comments widget. You can also add an RSS widget for subscribers and a Tag Cloud widget to see what’s popular on your site.

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