Creating Custom Sidebar Widgets


Widgets, (also called modules, snippets, badgets, or gadgets) are chunks of HTML code that can be embedded into web pages to produce a specific outcome. They’re basically helpful little gizmos that perform an action separately from the rest of the site. They are usually dynamic rather than static, meaning a script within the code calls some sort of action that changes or updates periodically. Some of the early uses of embedded code chunks included hit counters and banner ads. Today widgets perform a multitude of tasks.

WordPress includes a good selection of widgets — calendar, search box, links, archives, tag cloud, and many more. Today we’re going to learn how to create a custom widget, using the Text widget. The Text widget can do whatever you want it to do by embedding a chunk of HTML code. If you don’t know how to write HTML, that’s fine, because I’m going toteach you how to create a custom sidebar widget WITHOUT having to write code. It’s a neat trick, but I’ll need to “show” you, so click the icon below to watch the video tutorial.


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#1 Tina Dee on 11.04.09 at 8:55 am

Noooooo Waaayyyyyyyy!

I knew how to use the picture gadget in Blogger for that kind of a thing, but it felt limiting somehow.

I love this information!

Okay, now can you do a ‘Grab My Badge’ gadget/widget for putting my blog icon button in my readers sidebar? One like this one on Rebecca’s site:
(a couple icons down in the sidebar on the right–hers has a flag)

Oh my, I’m pretty excited about all this info you’re giving us!

Also, while I’m being greedy and asking for stuff, can you put one of those retweet buttons up on your site so I can just click it and it will retweet the applicable post on my twitter?

Okay, I’ll leave you alone…for now…

Thanks for awesome info, great posts, Linda!

#2 Linda Fulkerson on 11.04.09 at 10:11 am

Hi Tina,

I’ll see what I can come up with for the “Grab My Badge” tutorial. I found some step-by-step instructions on how to do this on a couple of other blogs, but they weren’t in video format. I’ll make a how-to video within the next day or so and let you know when it’s ready to view.

I’ve added the ShareThis widget to my site. I had another social bookmarking plugin, but the ShareThis is better and provides analytics to site owners. You can click the ShareThis icon at the bottom of any post and it will let you Tweet or share on Facebook or a number of other social sites. I’ve seen it used on a lot of blogs that I respect, so I decided to go with it.

I appreciate you wanted to share my posts! — Linda

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