how to manage your wordpress widgets

What the heck is a WordPress widget, and what do I do with it?!  Wordpress plugins and widgets are at the heart of custom blog design.  They are also a great way to further customize your blog design template.  Most commonly, particularly if your blog designer is Little Blue Deer, your widgets will appear in your blog sidebar.  They may also appear to the left or right of your blog header or in the blog footer.  You may want to change or add widgets at some point, so here is an easy tutorial that shows you how to locate and manage them.

Step 1:
Step 1 Blog Designer TutorialsTo access your widgets, in your blog dashboard go to Appearance > Widgets

Step 2:
STEP 2 Blog Designer Tutorials

This will bring you to your widget areas.  The main widget area on a blog design template is the Primary Sidebar.  This is the sidebar of your blog (if you have a website and you have a blog page, your sidebar will appear here.  Sometimes there are also widgets in the blog footer.  Here are 2 examples of where the widgets appear on your live blog:
Primary (and Secondary – optional) sidebar widgets:
STEP 4 Blog Designer Tutorials

Footer widgets (optional):
STEP 5 Blog Designer Tutorials

So, how do you add a new widget to your sidebar?

Step 3:
STEP 6 Blog Designer Tutorials

Adding new widgets is easy.  Simply select the widget you want to add from the list of available widgets in the 2 left columns.  Click on it, and drag it into place.  To reorder widgets in the selected widget areas, just drag and drop the widgets up or down.  To remove a widget from the sidebar, simply
drag it back into the Available Widgets column, off of the widget area.  You can repeat this process for any widget area (Primary Sidebar, Secondary Sidebar, and Footer Widgets).

Step 4:
Blog Designer Tutorials

Now, to change the settings of a widget (eg. add a title, change how the widget is displayed, etc.), simply click on the arrow next to the widget name and fill in your desired information, or change its settings.  When you are done, be sure to click the blue Save button.  You will see any changes you made to your widget when you go back to your blog.

Now, widgets (and plugins which will be discussed in another tutorial) are a very important part of your blog.  But here’s the thing.  One of the major reasons to hire a blog designer is that he or she will customize your widgets so that they match your blog design template.  On a custom blog design, you are definitely paying for more than just the header and background graphics.  A good blog designer will do things like style your sidebar widget titles so that every time you add a title to a widget, it will appear with a font and background that matches your custom blog design.  Also, a blog designer will do things like make sure that the color behind a search or submit button (the default color is usually black) will match the colors of your custom blog design.  A good blog designer has a firm handle on which widgets work best with each blog design template, and will know how to manipulate the code of your blog designs so that each widget is functional and attractive.  Widgets are a fun way to personalize your blog, so feel free to experiment with them, you can always easily deactivate the ones you don’t like or use!