Tips on activating the Archives, Category Cloud, and About.me Widgets.
We’ve talked about widgets before, in “Widgets 101” and “Widgets 201,” so let’s learn how to use them to direct your visitors to different places — and to add texture and color in your sidebar with little effort.
To follow along, head to the widgets section of your Customizer (My Site → Customize → Widgets).
In this post, we show examples of widgets on various themes. Note that each theme displays widgets differently. The site sections that appear when you’re customizing a widget — sidebar, footer — change depending on your theme.
A simple way to direct readers to older posts on your blog is with the Archives Widget. This widget lists links to previous months, as shown in the widget below (displayed on the Libre theme). When configuring the widget, you can opt to display a dropdown menu instead, as well as show the number of posts within a particular month.
Get creative with the title! Instead of naming it “Archives,” use a phrase that matches your blog’s theme, or shows some personality. If your blog is all about travel, how about “The Wanderlust Files”?
The Category Cloud Widget shows your most used categories in a “cloud” format. While still text-focused, a category cloud is an alternative to a list of categories and adds a bit of visual texture to your sidebar or footer.
You can see it in action on the left, as it’s displayed on the Pachyderm theme. Your most used categories appear in bigger size (which you can control under “maximum font percentage” when configuring the widget).
For more information on categories and sub-categories, visit the Support page. A default category (“uncategorized”) is assigned to your posts if you don’t specify one. You can change the default category by going to My Site → Settings → Writing.
Sometimes users write in to ask how they can display ready-made social media icons in their sidebars. Some themes have these options built in, while others do not. We take you through the steps to create custom images in “Widgets 201,” but if you don’t want to make your own, consider enabling the About.me Widget if you already have an About.me profile.
This widget pulls the information from your About.me profile and displays it nicely on your blog. There are a number of customization options: you can display your photo, headline, biography, and social/app icons, and adjust the size of your name (or delete it altogether).
Above, I’ve configured this widget on Goodz Magazine, a clean magazine-style theme. My name, headline, and app icons are displayed so my readers can connect with me elsewhere on the web.
It’s a quick way to add social media navigation on your site.