WordPress.com widgets are a great way to add new content such as your Twitter stream, or to display del.icio.us links, a tag cloud and/or a calendar to your blog, either in the sidebar, header, or footer of your site.
To see the widgets you have available to you, log in to your WordPress.com dashboard and click on Appearance > Widgets. To add a widget, simply click on it and drag it up and over to the right of the widget screen, into the Default Sidebar, Header Area, or Footer Area section of your site. If you choose to use several widgets in your sidebar, for example, you can click and drag them to order them as you see fit.
Here’s a bunch of my favorite widgets:
- Text: Text widgets allow you to enter some custom text, say for a short “About” statement in your sidebar. Text widgets also accept basic HTML, so you can add headings, paragraph breaks, and links if you wish.
- Image: Just as the name implies, the image widget allows you to add a image to your sidebar.
- Tag Cloud: The tag cloud widget shows your most-used tags in a cloud format. The larger the type size for the tag, the more often it’s used on your site.
- Milestone: The milestone widget puts a countdown box on your site, that tells you how many days are left before the big event — you might use it to countdown to a product launch, to your wedding, your birthday, or a graduation, just to give you a few ideas.
- Goodreads: The Goodreads widget connects to your Goodreads profile and displays the covers of your recently read books.
The five widgets I’ve listed here are just a start — there’s many to choose from, and we’re just getting started. This week, Michael Pick brings us a new piece you’ll love on branding and how you can use image widgets to make your blog’s look unique. Additionally, Cheri Lucas will take us a bit deeper on how to use widgets to add your own personal design flair to your site. In the meantime, take a minute to peek at your widgets and drag a few to your sidebar — it’s never too early to start experimenting.