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3.5 Working With WordPress Sidebars and Widgets

Welcome to this lesson, where we’ll talk about WordPress sidebars and widgets. These represent a very simple way of customizing the look and functionality of your website. They’ve been around for a very long time, and they’re actually super easy to work with.

In this lesson you’ll learn what WordPress sidebars and widgets are all about and also how to add and remove widgets from your website. Let’s begin.

3.5 Working With WordPress Sidebars and Widgets

Welcome to lesson number nine, where we'll talk about sidebars and widgets. The use of these represents a very simple way of customizing the look and functionality of your website. They've been around for a long time and they're super easy to work with. In this lesson, you'll learn what sidebars and widgets are all about, and also how to add and remove widgets from your website. Let's begin. We're gonna start in the front end, where I'm gonna show you what a sidebar looks like. And it's this one right here, actually, this entire area is considered a sidebar. And each individual section, where it says recent posts, archive, recent comments, categories, meta, all of these are widgets. Now the way a sidebar and widgets look like depend on the theme, right, it depends on the theme that you have installed. When you say sidebar, you think of something on the side, right? Maybe something that would be right here, and in most cases a sidebar would be positioned on the right side. You would have the typical page layout with content on the left, probably around 75% of the page, and the rest of the 25% is dedicated to the sidebar. But there are cases when the sidebar looks like this. In other situations there are sidebars in the footer, where you would see those columns. That's also considered a sidebar, even though technically it's not on the side of the page, and it's on the bottom of the page. But in the backend of WordPress, we also define that as a sidebar. So, now that we know what it is, let's see how we can work with it. You can access sidebars and widgets by going to Appearance > Widgets. And here the first section is for available widgets, which means all the widgets available in your theme. And here on the right, we can find the sidebars, in this case footer is the name of the sidebar. And this one is a little description. So the widgets that you see here, are being displayed here in the front-end. For example, if I want to remove the categories widget, all I got to do is click this and delete it. And that's it, it's automatically saved. Now I can go back here, do a refresh, and you'll see that that widget is now gone. To add the new widget, all I got to do is simply click and drag from my list here, from my list of available widgets onto my sidebar. So, for example, let's add a calendar. Click and drag, and position it anywhere I want. Then I can give it a title. I can say My Calendar, and I can click Save. And now the front-end will display that calendar. Customizing widgets is really simple, you just have to open these. And depending on the widget, you might have a couple of different options. For example on this recent post widget, I can edit the title but also how many posts to show and also whether or not to display the post date. On the recent comments, I can only define the title and the number of comments. On the meta, I can only define the title. So, the options depend from widget to widget. Now if at some point you decide, okay, let's go without this recent post widget, okay, and let's actually name this, My Posts. Let's go without this for a while. And you don't wanna delete it, because deleting it will also delete its settings that we just changed here. So, if you wanna make it inactive, all you've gotta do is grab it and drag it down here where it says Inactive Widgets. So that actually removed that widget from the front-end, from the sidebar, but it kept all of its settings here, okay? So now if at any point I decide, okay, I want this widget back on my sidebar, I can simply drag it from here and I can put it back in the sidebar. So now, That widget is back. And that's all there is to it really. As I was saying, the location and also the number of sidebars depend from theme to theme. You can have as many sidebars as you want. And in those sidebars, you can have as many widgets as you want. As we'll work with multiple themes later in the course, you'll see that some of these sidebars will change. We'll have more of them, they will be named differently. But for now, know that this is the simplest way to work with widgets and sidebars. Now, any website has some sort of navigation that allows users to open different pages, WordPress is no different. So in the next lesson, you'll learn how to create and edit a menu, and then use that menu in your website. See you there.

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