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Enhance your site with widgets

Widgets are some of the handiest features on WordPress.com. They are free built-in tools, accessible from your dashboard, that allow you to add custom touches to your sidebar or footer. You can display important information more prominently, direct readers to content you want them to see, and reinforce your site’s design. With widgets, you can add a bit of flair and personalize your site with a few clicks.

Since the release of the Block Editor, widgets got even more powerful, as you can add any regular block that you like to your available widget areas, rather than being limited to a dedicated set of widgets.

It’s important to note that widget areas are only available for Classic and Hybrid themes. The reason for this is that with Block themes you have full control over the templates used for your pages and posts. You’re not limited to theme defined sidebar or footer widget areas. Instead, you can create these areas within templates as desired. Learn more about working with Site Editor through our support documents, or take the Create Your Site course for an introduction to the basics.

Widget basics

If you are using a Classic or Hybrid theme, you can add widgets from the Customizer: go to My Sites → Appearance → Customize, which will open up the Customizer and you’ll see an option for widgets in the left sidebar.

But you may find it easier to manage your widgets from: My Sites → Appearance → Widgets as this section will give you a larger screen area to work with.

As you’ve discovered, each theme is different: some themes have a left or right sidebar, some may have a footer section at the bottom of your blog, and some themes have hidden widget areas that pop out with the click of a button. So, the placement of your widgets will depend on your current theme.

In either location, to add a widget, first click on a widget area. This is where the fun begins! Because of the Block editor features, you can click the + sign to chose from any of the blocks available and add your content exactly the same way as you did with your pages and posts.

After making your changes click on the Update or Save button at the top of the screen.

Quick advice on adding widgets

Add wisely. You can add as many widgets (blocks) to your sidebar or footer as you’d like, but choose carefully — the key is to display additional content that enhances your site, rather than detract attention from your main content.

Starting out and not sure what to add? We recommend spending some time browsing other websites in your niche. Take a look at what additional information they include and then decide on what you feel is best for your site and audience. Remember, widgets are just regular blocks that will appear on all your pages or posts that display the widget area. You can add any type of block that you want, but try not to overdo it.

You’ve spent the past several sessions customizing your site — it’s coming along! Next, in Get Connected, we’ll switch gears and talk about ways to connect with others and get your site noticed. You’ve worked so hard to make it your own — now it’s time to show it to the world!