The sidebar is an integral part of a WordPress blog. But a lot of bloggers ignore it.
When I started blogging, I used to add a lot of widgets on the sidebar. It seemed cool to me. But I was not getting the results that I wanted from the sidebar. That’s because I was not using the proper widgets.
Proper widgets can help you to make your sidebar work for you. But the problem is, it’s not easy to find the right widgets from thousands of WordPress widgets.
To make things easier, I am going to share a list of different types widgets for WordPress sidebar. This list will help you to find and add the right widgets for your WordPress blog.
Before going further, I’d recommend you to check your existing widgets. Because WordPress Installation comes with some default widgets. And if you are using a premium theme, it might add some widgets too. You should check if there is a same kind of widget before adding a new widget. Just go to WordPress Admin Panel > Appearance > Widgets.
Now let’s see the must-have widgets for your WordPress Blog.
1. Email Subscription Widget
The Sidebar is one of the best places to add opt-in form. It converts well. And it gives a professional look to the blog as most of the pro bloggers use it. Whether you are offering freebies or just ask your readers to subscribe, you should add an opt-in form in the sidebar. Here are some plugins you can use to add opt-in form in the sidebar.
- Thrive Leads: Thrive Leads is all in one solution for list building. It has everything to build an email list quickly. I am using this plugin on my blog.
- OptinMonster: This is another popular plugin for list building. It is created by the popular blogger Syed Balkhi.
- WP Subscribe: It’s a free plugin, created by MyThemeShop. It’s a good choice when you don’t offer freebies.
2. Social Media Widget
Social Media is the best way to connect with your readers. Having social media widget in the sidebar means your visitors are just one click away to connect with you. However, there are several social networking sites. You need to figure out which networks suit your blog. You can add a single network or a bunch of networks widget in the sidebar.
- Easy Social Share Buttons For WordPress: It’s a social sharing plugin with tons of features. It has sidebar widget to show follower counters. Before using Thrive Themes, I’ve used it on my blog.
- Monarch Social Sharing Plugin: It’s mainly a social sharing plugin. But it allows you to add social media widget to the sidebar. It’s a complete solution for social media.
- SocialBox – Social Profile Showcase: SocialBox enables you to showcase your social media profiles on the sidebar in an attractive way. It supports several social networks with YouTube and Vimeo channel subscription.
- Social Media Widget: It’s a free plugin that adds links to all of your social media profiles on your sidebar. It offers tons of icons for different sizes and styles.
- Metro Style Social Widget: As the name suggests, it displays Metro Style Social network icons in the sidebar. It’s a good solution when you are going to add few profiles.
- YouTube Channel Gallery: It shows a YouTube video and a gallery of thumbnails for a YouTube channel.
- Facebook Like Box Widget: Learn how to add Facebook Like Box widget to WordPress manually.
- Instagram Slider Widget: If you want to show your latest Instagram images on the sidebar, use this plugin.
3. Posts Widget (Recent/Popular)
You can showcase your recent or popular posts on the sidebar. This way visitors can easily find your best posts or recently published posts. By default, WordPress has a widget for recent posts. However, some plugins allow you to show posts with thumbnails or posts arranged by tabs.
- WordPress Popular Posts: It’s a highly customizable widget that lets you display most popular posts on the sidebar,
- Recent Post Widget: It allows you to show recent posts with thumbnails. It’s created by Theme Junkie.
- WP Tab Widget Pro: It’s a fantastic widget that lets you display posts arranged by tabs. You can also show tags or categories. It offers 21 predefined layouts, 29 new pagination styles, and 6 unique AJAX loaders.
4. Author Widget
Visitors always want to know who’s behind the blog. That’s why About page is one of the most visited pages of your blog. We add Author bio box under the blog posts or footer. But it gets more attention when you add it to the sidebar. While you can add Author Bio by using the text editor, you can consider using a plugin to make the box more attractive.
- Fanciest Author Box: This is the most famous Author Box plugin for WordPress. It offers a widget that allows you to add an Author box on the sidebar. You can also show your social profiles on different tabs.
- WP – Author Box: It’s another cool plugin for Author Box. It offers 6 predefined skins.
5. Login Widget
If you are running a multi-author WordPress site, you should add a Login widget on the sidebar to make login easier for your authors. Some impressive WordPress plugins allow you to add simple and attractive Login/Registration Form in the sidebar.
- Login Widget With Shortcode: It’s a simple plugin that allows users to login to the side from the frontend.
- Social Login: This plugin allows your visitors to login with social networks like Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, LinkedIn, Google, etc.
- Tabbed Login Widget: It’s a beautiful tabbed login widget that allows users to login, register, and retrieve forgotten password from the sidebar.
6. Search Widget
Adding Search widget depends on the amount of posts you have on your blog. There is no reason to add a search box widget to a new blog. It will disappoint the visitors who search. If you have a decent amount of blog posts on your blog, you can consider adding a search box. WordPress has a default widget for a search box. But it doesn’t show the accurate result. Here are some alternatives you can try.
- Google Search Box: It shows more relevant results than the default search. And it does not have any impact on server resources.
- SearchWP: It’s a premium plugin that shows relevant results than the default WorPress Search.
- Relevanssi – A Better Search: This plugin replaces the default search with a better search that shows relevant results.
7. Testimonial Widget
One of the easiest ways to increase the credibility of your blog is to add testimonials. Having testimonials is must when you are offering services/products. It will increase your conversion rates. You can easily add testimonials by using a text widget. But if you want more functionalities like collecting testimonials, you need to use a plugin.
- Testimonial Widgets: It lets you show testimonials on the sidebar randomly or selectively. You can insert testimonials via shortcode or widget.
- Easy Testimonials: It’s an easy-to-use plugin for adding testimonials to your WordPress sidebar.
- Testimonials WordPress Plugin: It’s a premium plugin for showing testimonials. It offers responsive layouts, group testimonials by category, shortcode/widget, several style options, etc.
9. Ratings/Poll Widget
Ratings Widget is a must-have widget for product/review based blog. Even if you are not running a review based blog, but you write a lot of reviews on your blog; you can showcase your reviews on the sidebar. Another important widget is Poll widget. It’s the best way to run quick surveys on your visitors.
- WP Rich Snippets: This plugin makes your reviews attractive and helps you to get star ratings in Google. It also lets you showcase reviews on the sidebar.
- Rating-Widget: Star Review System: It has a “Top Rated” widget that will allow you to place the widget in your sidebar. The widget will show the top rated posts, pages, and comments.
- TotalPoll Pro: It lets you create and add polls easily to your sidebar. It’s very easy to use.
- Polldaddy Polls & Ratings: It allows you to create and manage polls from WordPress dashboard.
There are some others widgets you can consider adding to your sidebar. But it depends on your needs. There is no reason to slow down your blog by adding unnecessary widgets.
- Google Calendar Events: It has a widget to display your Google calendar in the sidebar. It will beautifully highlight your events in the calendar.
- Google Maps Widget: It lets you add Google map to your WordPress sidebar.
- Alexa Ranking Widget: You can show Alexa ranking widget on the sidebar by using this plugin.
- DMCA Protection Widget: It protects your blog from content thieves.
[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=””] Note: If you are wondering which widgets I am using at RoadToBlogging, here is the answer for. We use default widgets offered by Thrive Themes.[/thrive_text_block]
- How to Show or Hide Any WordPress Widget on Certain Pages
- How to Make Any Sidebar Widget “Sticky” In WordPress
So these are the widgets that you can use on your blog. But remember that, using unnecessary widgets may slow down your blog.
Now I’d like to hear from you. Let us know which widgets are you using right now on your blog.
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