Blogging 101: Spruce Up Your Sidebar

Today’s assignment: add and/or customize two widgets. If you want to write a post, try something shorter-form.

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

Remember, comments are closed on Blogging U. assignments. If you have a question, or want to share or chat, head to The Commons.

You’ve done a lot so far — published a few posts, worked on your About widget and About page, and dabbled in personalizing your theme.

Widgets are another great way to tailor your site, while providing more info for your readers, so let’s add a few. If you’re already happy with your widgets, customize the ones you have. And if you’ve already done that, write a short-form post on the topic of your choosing.

Today’s assignment: add and/or customize two widgets, one text-based and one image-based.

Why do this?

  • Because you want to make it easy for your readers to find all your content, follow you, get engaged, and get the most out of your site, and widgets add features to help them do it.
  • Because widgets are another opportunity to add a personal touch and create a consistent look and personality.

Today you’ll add two widgets: one that adds a text-based feature, and one that adds something image-based. If one of those doesn’t fit with your bloggy vision, feel free to change that up.

Get started by browsing the full list of available widgets. Feeling overwhelmed? Here are some ideas. First, a few simple-yet-useful text-based widgets:

And some image-based widgets to try:

  • The Instagram Widget displays your latest photos.
  • The Gallery Widget creates a gallery or slideshow of images, so you can add a graphic element to your blog without any graphic design know-how.

Check out other quick and easy widgetswidgets to showcase your community-to-be, and more image-based widgets. Review our tutorial series — Widgets 101201, and 301 — or take a step back and think about your overall sidebar strategy.

You can spruce up widgets even more by personalizing the titles to match the theme or niche of your blog, so be sure to explore all the options each widget offers. You can also control which widgets appear on which pages of your site — keep your home page streamlined but add the Recent Posts Widget to post pages, for example, or add a Goodreads Widget to your page on favorite books.

If you’re still a bit confused on how to add widgets, this video tutorial will help.

To add a widget, open your Customizer and click on the “widgets” tab. Click the “+” sign to add a widget to you sidebar and/or footer (depending on your theme, you might have multiple sections). You can also re-arrange the order in which existing widgets appear on your site by dragging-and-dropping.

If you also want to publish a post today, we suggest a shorter-form post — a post of under 400 words; under 200 if you can.

Questions? Ask away! Head to The Commons to talk widget with your co-bloggers.

Close Comments