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Understanding WordPress Plugins and Widgets


Plugins are small specialized programs written for WordPress to add additional functions to your site. 


The Basic WordPress installation is a simple structure for publishing pages and posts and managing comments.  Plugins give you the ability to expand your site in a customized manner without bogging it down with features you do not need or use.  

Plugins are added by simply clicking on the plugin link in your admin dashboard.  At the bottom of the page you will see a link to Get More Plugins:

  • click link
  • enter search terms or pick tag  
  • find plugin you like
  • click install plugin 
  • click activate plugin. 

Most plugins have settings and options.  Once the plugin is activated a new tab will appear for the plugin either in the main tab menu to the left or under the settings or tools menu – usually the plugin will tell you where to set the options when you install and activate it. 

Examples of plugins:

  • Photo Gallery
  • Event Calendar
  • Contact Form
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Network Linking 
  • There are plugins for almost every function you can think of or would need on you site.



Widgets are small specialized additions to your theme sidebars.  (Many plugins create a widget for you to place in your sidebars.)

WordPress comes with a standard set of widgets – some plugins will add widgets to this list.   To add widgets to your theme:  click the Appearance Tab – then  Widgets ,  this will take you to a screen with all your available widgets listed to the left and a drop down menu listing what widgets you are using in each of your sidebars (if your theme supports widgets and has sidebars).  To add a widget select which sidebar you wish to add it to then click show,  click the add link next to the widget you want to add – it will then display under your sidebar widgets.  You can change the order of the widgets by clicking and moving up or down.  Once your are ready click the update.  If you do not update the widget will not display in your sidebar. 

Most widgets have some limited settings – to change settings click the widget in you sidebar list and make the changes available – once finished click update.

Examples of Widgets:

  • Text Area
  • Posts Calendar
  • Recent Posts
  • Recent Comments
  • Popular Posts
  • Categories – the category menu
  • Blogroll – your links etc…


Comment Pages

There are 2 Comments to "Understanding WordPress Plugins and Widgets"

  • Saurooon says:

    Hi, Amazing! How offen are you updating your

  • graye says:

    Saurooon –
    Thanks for visiting the site. Since I’m using a static homepage it isn’t always obvious how often I update the site. I’ve been trying to add something or addon to an existing post everyday. Graye