Widgets are components, gadgets or elements which allow content to be added to the site without having to write the code. Widgets thus act as a programming shortcut. You drop a Widget into a widgetized area, or a defined area where Widgets can be inserted. You then check a box (if directions are included) or add the required information, location or code. Your intended information is displayed on the site once your save. This information can be text (written), a photo, a social media site, hyperlinks to other Web sites, an alphabetical list of pages, etc.
You need to understand the concept and functionality of Widgets. They are very important. Widgets impact how your Web site appears since different themes have different Widget areas as part of their layout.
When I discussed the Dashboard I introduced the concept of a sidebar. This page displays a single column with no sidebar. The “Comments” page, on the other hand, has a right hand sidebar. You can tell because the copy or text is on the left and a “Search” box is at the top of the sidebar.
Find ‘Widgets’ in the ‘Appearance’ pull down (right).
When you click on ‘Widgets’ the dashboard (below), or Admin area opens.
As you can see to the above right, the Primary Widget area has five (5) pre-installed ‘Widgets’. These are ‘Search’, ‘Recent Posts’, ‘Archives’, ‘Categories’ and ‘Meta’.
This is what those five ‘Widgets’ (left) looked like on the default home (landing) page where blog posts would normally have been entered. It is what your WordPress.com site will look like with this default Theme.
Drag and drop a ‘Widget’ into the area and in most Themes, that action overrides the default setting and replaces all the ‘Widgets’.
I did so on the ‘Comments’ page by dragging and dropping the ‘Search’ ‘Widget’ into the ‘Primary Widget Area’. Likewise, to deactivate the ‘Widget’ and delete their settings, drag widgets back to the admin area.
The Theme Twenty Ten allows for five other ‘Widget’ areas. The secondary widget area is directly below the primary on the right sidebar. The four Footer Widget Areas divide the footer area (across the bottom of the site) into four separate widget areas.
There are about 30 Widgets included with The Twenty Ten Theme. Familiarize yourself with them before selecting a new Theme.
Changing Themes in WordPress is really quite easy and I will handle next, in Themes. But since all Themes come with a default setting, if you change the Theme you will have to change whatever previous Widget settings you made. The information does, however, remain in a folder.
This is why I want you to have a feel for this information prior to writing pages and uploading information. You must be familiar with the concepts and pre-select the Theme or layout of your site. Before looking at selecting alternative Themes, I want to point out some of the Twenty Ten Theme options.