Useful WordPress Widgets for Your Sidebar

Useful WordPress Widgets for Your Sidebar

Widgets and sidebars are one of the most popular features of WordPress. There really is no restriction on the type of content you can add to your site using a widget. Those widgets can then be displayed in your site’s sidebar, other widgetized areas, or even directly into your posts and pages.

While WordPress comes with a set of useful widgets, there are countless others out there just waiting to be added to your website. To help you find some widgets that can enhance your website and make life easier for your readers here is a selection of plugins that add interesting yet useful widgets to your website.

Awesome Weather Widget

Weather Widget

This free plugin for WordPress allows you to display the weather in your sidebar. While there are other plugins available which allow you to achieve this feat, this one does it with a large amount of style and panache.

The widget looks really cool and uses the very popular flat approach to design. The colours actually change in line with the temperature that is being reported. While this is a very easy to use a sidebar widget, the Awesome Weather Widget plugin also comes with a handy shortcode for inserting it into posts.

The data is sourced from the http://openweathermap.org/ website and is cached for one hour, meaning the reading on your site should be pretty accurate.

When setting up the plugin, you have to specify the location of where you want the forecast to cover. There are a few other settings too which can help you customise the amount information this plugin presents to your readers.

This free weather widget has been downloaded over 70 thousand times and has a very positive user rating of 4.7 stars out of five.

For those that would like the widget to display the weather based on the location of their readers, the pro version provides that functionality and a few other features for a modest fee.

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YouTube Channel Gallery

YouTube Widget

If you want to display videos from a YouTube channel or playlist in the widget areas on your website, then this is the plugin for you.

It’s a free and easy to use option that once installed on your site adds a new widget. This widget gives you lots of options governing how the videos are shown on your website. These options include the ability to display videos uploaded by a particular user, or those from a playlist. You can also set the videos to play automatically, choose what aspect ratio they are displayed at, plus other settings. The widget gives you the opportunity to add a link to a YouTube profile where your visitors can find more video content.

With lots of options and an easy to use interface, the YouTube Channel Gallery plugin is the simplest way to display videos in your sidebar and other widgetized areas.

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WP Taxi Me

WP Taxi Me

This free plugin by Winwar Media, a team of website developers, makes it very easy for your customers, clients, or other visitors to make their way to your place of business.

The WP Taxi Me adds a widget to your site which can then be added to your sidebar or inserted into your posts using a shortcode. By using this widget your visitors can then book a taxi via Uber making it as easy as possible for them to visit you.

WP Taxi Me Widget

The widget simply includes a ‘book a taxi here’ button and an optional ‘register for Uber’ button and a link back to the developer. The title and text of the widget can be customised to meet your needs.

Cleverly, the plugin only displays the widget to mobile users so that those trying to find your location can quickly use their phone to hail their ride, without distracting desktop users.

To use the WP Taxi Me plugin on your site, it’s just a case of entering your address and then displaying the widget somewhere on your site.

By adding this feature to your site’s sidebar or contact us page, you can increase the chances of your site visitors becoming real visitors.

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Google Maps Widget

Google Map Widget

If you want to make it easy for your visitors to find where you are based without the need for them to use a taxi service then the free Google Maps Widget plugin is a good alternative.

Once you’ve entered the location details into the widget settings, the localised map will be displayed to your visitors in the widget-enabled location of your choice. Once the map is clicked on, a larger version will open in a lightbox window where users can then explore the area further.

Whether you want to make it easy for visitors to find your location, display the markers on a personalised Google Map, or show some other geographical information, this plugin is a simple and effective choice for adding Google Maps to your WordPress site.

Get Google Maps Widget

Metro Style Social Widget

Cool Stuff Metro Social

This social sharing plugin for WordPress features an attractive flat Metro style design. Through the settings you can choose which social networks you want it to work with, and Facebook and Twitter are enabled by default.

It looks really good which is why it gets a mention here and should help your social sharing buttons stand out from the crowd. The design and layout is fully responsive so it will adjust to fit the width of your sidebar area.

Get Metro Style Social Widget

Display Widgets

Display Widgets

If you want more control over which widgets are shown in the sidebars of certain posts or pages, then the free Display Widgets plugin is for you.

The plugin adds a set of options to each widget on your site. Once a widget is added to a sidebar location, you can then use these options to determine which posts, pages, and other parts of your site it should or shouldn’t be displayed on.

You can also set the visibility of a widget so it is only shown to either logged in or logged out users.

There are plenty of custom sidebar widget plugins out there but this one makes things a bit easier as you no longer have to create multiple sidebars and decide where to show them, but can instead just set the visibility of the individual widgets on the default sidebars of your theme.

This with nearly half a million downloads and a solid 4.8 stars out of five rating this is a tried and tested plugin you can rely on.

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Black Studio TinyMCE Widget

Widget Editor

This is another free plugin which can be used with great effect to enhance your sidebar widgets. This time the plugin upgrades the text widget that is a core feature of WordPress and adds a WYSIWYG visual editor to it.

While by default you can add any content to this widget using HTML, once the Black Studio TinyMCE Widget plugin is active you your site, you can add any content to the widget using the same visual editor that is available on the post editor screen in WordPress.

If you are using a theme with a widgetized homepage, including one of the many child themes for the Genesis Framework, then you can use this plugin to easily add lots of great content to the widget areas on your homepage for an eye catching design.

If you want to display rich content in your sidebars then this plugin makes it very easy to do so. Black Studio TinyMCE Widget has been downloaded over 800 thousand times and has an impressive 4.8 out of five star rating from users.

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WP Tab Widget

WP Tab Widget

The free WP Tab Widget plugin from MyThemeShop allows you to display multiple sets of content in one widget using the tab interface.

There are four tabs to choose from when it comes to configuring this widget:

  • Popular posts
  • Comments
  • Recent posts
  • Tags

As well as being able to enable any of the tabs, you can also set the order in which they are displayed, as well as the number of items to display under each tab. Other options include displaying thumbnails, showing the post date, including the excerpt, and a few other useful settings.

The plugin uses AJAX to load content on demand, rather than unnecessarily loading all the content from each tab each time the page loads. This lightweight approach will minimise the resources your site uses and also help prevent an increase in page load times.

The design of this fast loading five star rated free plugin is very pleasing on the eye making it a great choice for fitting more content into a single widget area.

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Conclusion

Hopefully at least one of these plugins has highlighted a useful widget that can be added to your website.

If there are any other widgets or plugins you use to add useful content or features to your website, please let us know in the comments below.