You see these on every WordPress website. They’re on the side bar, in the footer, and some WordPress themes even allow for widgets in the top or header area of your site. Your theme will drive where you can put widgets. It is also more and more common for WordPress themes to have theme-specific widgets. Widgets can be used for a number of things. In my previous post on WordPress Pages vs. Posts, you saw me browse by category widget. Also, the ads I put on my site – those are text widgets. Text widgets allow you to use HTML. It is useful to learn a little bit of HTML, so that you can configure a widget like this. It’s VERY easy.

I keep a note in Evernote that I use every single time I need to configure a text widget with an image linked to something: HTML Tips Image tag with link.

Replace what is in brackets, with the link, and the image URL, and your text widget becomes an ad for anything you want to advertise on your website – your own products and services. The text widget is probably the best one, because you can do anything you want with it.

Every theme comes standard with the basic widgets, such as recent posts and various social feeds. What really makes one theme stand apart from another, when it comes to widgets, are the options in terms of placement.

Another reason I love the Extra Theme, is that you can create custom widget areas. Once you create a custom widget area, you’ll find a drop down on any post, page, or category layout, in which you can choose any of these. This gives me the most extreme flexibility with respect to widget placement. I can have a different view for any one post, page, or category layout.

This is how I was able to set up the Smartsheet Page on my website. It’s a category layout based on the Smartsheet category, with a custom widget area, that I created just for Smartsheet.

With this kind of power, and flexibility, I can build out any kind of resource I can imagine. This is especially useful in targeting specific audiences. Case in point, check out the Real Estate Section on my site.