It is no secret that the power of the internet has made it easier than ever to get your voice heard or your business started. WordPress has understood this very well which is probably why it is one of the most popular blogging and website hosts out there. Its flexibility and easy-to-use building tools make its users able to customize their pages without needing to learn how to use complex coding elements. People who are committed to making the best possible websites have come to rely on nifty widgets and plug-ins to provide cool features and make posting and page-building better.
There are tons of small tweaks and changes to the basic WordPress themes. Users can take advantage of these elements to customize their blogs and websites. In many cases however, changing the appearance is difficult because the themes are very structurally organized. This structure is great for amateur pages but not as ideal for professional website builders. Utilizing some of the following widgets makes appearance customization a piece of cake:
- Widget Customizer – The basic WordPress widget customizer in not something that users must download and install themselves; it comes standard as part of the WP program itself. Mastering this system is essential for those who want to take their sites to the next level with the help of additional widgets.
- Custom Menu Wizard – If you want to create unique menus for you website, this program provides a boost to the standard menu organizer.
- Responsive Columns – This little plug-in is all you will ever need when it comes to organizing you other widgets, especially if you want horizontal menus. It provides more than a dozen arranging features.
- Custom WordPress Sidebar – Another great option for controlling the appearance of your sidebar widgets is this customization tool. The results are especially beautiful and professional looking.
- Restrict Widgets – If you would like to have control over when and how your favorite widgets are displayed on each and every page, this is the device for you. Restrict Widgets provides minute control and allows you make sure your pages never display the same data from multiple sources.
- Q2W3 Fixed Widget – This plug-in is also called Sticky Widgets and lets you pick one table, gallery, or other menu item that you always want to be displayed on the page. This is perfect for making sure your readers can always access essential information, not matter how far they scroll down a page.
- Advanced Categories – This affordable tool allows you to get the final say in category display options. Using it, you can exclude categories based on specific parameters, select category thumbnails, and optimize the meta text that goes along with each menu item.
One of the most important concepts to keep in mind when designing any website is engaging the reader. Whether you are selling a product or simply sharing useful information, reader interaction is a key element to overall success. These widgets provide great ways to involve visitors to your site and encourage people to bookmark your page for daily viewing:
- Better Recent Posts – This allows your readers instant access to your recent posts in an easy-to-use and read manner. It lets you to display only posts that are relevant, or those based on popularity, comment counts, and many other parameters.
- Rating Widget – There are several ratings devices out there, but they all provide a great interactive quality to each of you new posts. Using the star-rating system, readers can rate your work, allowing you to improve your own content as you go.
- Hello Ajax Tabs – This cool widget allows you to make menu tabs out of all your other widgets. This is perfect for people who have way too little space on the face of their website and lots of awesome categories.
- WP Easy News Scroller – Everyone loves a news ticker, which is one of the reasons this widget is so awesome. It creates a news scroll out of your popular posts.
- UDSSL Now Reading – If you have ever wondered when your posts are read most often, this tool is for you. It allows you to check in real-time when your site is visited.
- Top Stories – Most Viewed / Recent Posts – Newcomers to you website need help finding your best work, which is why a top stories widget is a must-have.
- YouTube Channel Gallery – If you post lots of videos, consider adding a YouTube menu to your sidebar for easy access to all of your best uploads.
Randomly Useful and Grouped Widgets
There are so many different tools out there to help both the beginning and well-established blogger/website administrator. Here are some tools that are extremely useful, but may get left out because people do not know they need them yet. The grouped widget packs contain some of the previously mentioned plug-ins, but combined with other related or useful widgets:
- WordPress Converter for PDF, PNG, and JPG – One of the annoying things about creating posts using multiple file types is compatibility. This widget allows you to easily convert images to be usable for you blog or website.
- Advanced Widget Pack – For more bang for your buck, consider purchasing this pack of widgets, containing 15 of the most useful and popular apps available.
- Gabfire Widget Pack – This pack is free for all WordPress users and also has several awesome widgets that help make your sites better.
- Opening Hours – If you run a business or have special office hours, post them on your website. This widget makes it easy to make sure your readers know when you are open for business the day they check and in the future.
- Ultimate Weather – The more traffic you get, the more opportunities to share your content with faithful readers. If your website is geared toward the local community, add this weather app to provide even more useful information to your site’s visitors.
- Dexs Navigation Tree – This automatically generated site-map makes navigating your pages easier than ever before for your readers.
Get Widgetized Today!
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed with the huge selection of widgets out there, do not worry. Start small or go ahead and install some free apps and experiment with them first before diving in. Make sure to check out you favorite WordPress websites and feel free to ask the administrators about features you like from their designs. Using these and other plug-ins, your website will be made better as well as more efficient and interactive for you and your readers.
Top image ©Rube Goldberg