One of the reasons WordPress is such a good way to create a website is because it’s easy to customize. Take Widgets, for example, which make adding new features to your sidebar and other areas of your site as easy as dragging and dropping a few boxes around.
The kind of things you can add to your website or blog with widgets include:
* Search boxes
* Newsletter subscription forms
* Automatically updating lists of recent posts
* Google AdSense / banner ad code
To see a complete list of all widgets available for use with your WordPress theme, head over to Appearance > Widgets in WordPress admin.
The widgets you can use are in the wide, central column called Available Widgets. The panels in the column on the right are the areas of the theme that can have widgets added to them.
Available widgets vary from theme to theme, as do the areas where you can use them. In the case of the default theme (Twenty Twelve), there’s a Main Sidebar, and two widget areas for the front page.
Take a look at the video below to see how easy it is to add widgets and customize how they appear on your website.
Smart tip #1: If you want to remove a widget but keep the settings you’ve made to it, drag and drop it to the Inactive Widgets panel (under Available Widgets) instead of deleting it. When you want to reuse it, just drag it back to the sidebar panel – it’ll reactivate with the saved settings.
How to add more Widgets
Because widgets are a form of plugin, you can find new widgets by going to Plugins > Add New within WordPress Admin or searching the widget section of WordPress.org.
To add an AdSense unit, drag a Text widget to the widget area where you want AdSense to display. Then copy the ad code from your AdSense account and paste it into the Text widget and click Save.
Smart tip #2: When adding advertising or programming code in a widget, make sure that Automatically add paragraphs at the bottom of the widget isn’t checked, as that may break the code and cause it not to run correctly.
Need more help learning WordPress?
Take a look at my best-selling Kindle book, WordPress Websites Step-by-Step, which one Amazon reviewer called “An amazingly complete guide to creating and maintaining a WordPress site”. It’s full of tips to guide you through creating a professional WordPress website in a couple of hours.