When you want an easy way to add functionality to your WordPress site, WordPress widgets are there to the rescue!
Without requiring any special knowledge, WordPress widgets let you add all kinds of cool functionality to various parts of your WordPress site. From a list of your most popular posts to a survey of your visitors, there’s a widget that can do it for you.
In this post, we’re going to cover all types of widgets that you can use with your WordPress site, including:
- Dedicated WordPress widgets that you can use via your theme’s widget areas (like your sidebar, and sometimes your footer)
- Generic widgets that you can use to add content to other areas of your WordPress site, like a notification bar or a slide-in.
And as a bonus, you can also use many of these widgets with a page builder plugin like Elementor or SiteOrigin for even more flexibility.
Basically, widgets aren’t just for sidebars anymore! You’ll be able to put helpful widgets pretty much anywhere on your WordPress site.
Let’s dive into the 12 best WordPress widgets for 2021.
Getsitecontrol is a WordPress popup plugin that brings a set of different widgets you can add to your site. Currently, that's:
Getsitecontrol is that second type of widget we mentioned. That is, you aren’t limited to just your WordPress theme’s widget areas.
For example, you can make your widgets appear:
- As a notification bar at the top or bottom of your website
- Via a few different types of slide-ins
- As a modal popup
You can build your widgets via the easy-to-use Getsitecontrol interface. Then, the Getsitecontrol WordPress plugin will help you display them on your site without the need to add any special code. You’re also able to control more about where and when your widgets appear, like only displaying widgets on certain pages, or scheduling widgets to run at certain times.
2. SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle
SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle gives you access to a bunch of new WordPress widgets in one fell swoop. Specifically, you get over 20 new widgets in a range of areas, including widgets for:
- Google Maps
- Contact form
- Social links
Once you install and activate the plugin, you can manage which widgets are active by going to Plugins → SiteOrigin Widgets (many of the widgets are deactivated by default).
Then, you can use any of the active widgets in any widget area on your site:
All of these widgets also work great with the SiteOrigin Page Builder, as well as other page builders like Elementor or Beaver Builder.
3. Contact Widgets
As the name suggests, Contact Widgets helps you add your contact information to any widget area. “Contact information” is pretty flexible, here. You can pick and choose exactly what information to include. Your options are:
- Phone number
- Address (including Google Maps embed)
- Social media profile links
The widget is easy to configure. And you can also rearrange the information inside the widget using easy drag and drop:
Beyond the contact details in the widget above, you also get a separate Social Profiles widget.
4. LiveMesh SiteOrigin Widgets
LiveMesh SiteOrigin Widgets is a set of widgets built for the SiteOrigin Page Builder. But don’t let that fool you! You can still use them in regular WordPress widget areas as well, like your sidebar and footer. You get access to some neat widgets, including WordPress widgets for:
- Bar or pie charts
- Services that you offer
- Icon lists
- Flat-style buttons
Like the SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle, you can control exactly which widgets are active by going to Plugins → SiteOrigin Widgets (you will need the aforementioned SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle installed, though). The new widgets will be mixed in with the existing SiteOrigin widgets:
Then, once you’ve activated the widgets that you want, you can use them in any widget area on your site.
5. Three separate review widgets for popular services
We’re going to lump a few widgets together here because they all come from the same developer. Additionally, all of them help you display reviews, just from different sources. In total, the developer — Rich Plugins — has review widgets for:
While each widget may go about things a little differently, the general idea is that they help you take your genuine customer reviews from a certain platform and display them on your WordPress site. For example, with the Google Reviews Widget, you’re able to display:
- Your overall Google rating
- A list of individual reviews
- A rotating slider of testimonials
Here’s an example of all three:
If you’re running a business that receives reviews, displaying these straight-from-the-source testimonials is a great way to build trust.
6. WordPress Popular Posts
By default, WordPress gives you a widget to display your most recent posts. But there’s no way to display your most popular posts automatically.
As the name suggests, WordPress Popular Posts fixes that with a simple widget that lets you display a list of your most popular posts. The neat thing is that it also gives you a few options for choosing what makes a post the “most popular”. You can rank popularity by:
- Total page views
- Average page views per day
And you can also choose how long a timespan to calculate popularity, including over the last:
- 24 hours
- 7 days
- 30 days
You can also include multiple widgets with different settings! So you could have one widget for your most commented posts and a different widget for your most viewed posts.
Finally, you can opt to include a thumbnail of your posts’ featured images in the list, which adds a nice visual touch.
7. WP Instagram Widget
You can probably guess where this one is going! WP Instagram Widget helps you display any Instagram profile’s picture feed via a simple widget. This could be your own profile — or it could be someone else’s profile (or even the feed for a hashtag!).
It’s super easy to use — just add the new Instagram widget that the plugin gives you. Then, enter the username or hashtag you want to pull content from, as well as some settings about how the images should look:
Then, your feed will show up right away!
Bibblio is a smart related posts plugin that uses AI algorithms to generate content recommendations. As part of that, it includes a WordPress widget that lets you display related posts in any widget area.
These related posts will be unique to each piece of content on your site, so they’ll change depending on which post a person is browsing, which is a great way to keep your visitors engaged with your site:
While you will need to register a Bibblio account to use these WordPress widgets, the account is free for most websites (super high traffic sites might need a paid plan, though).
9. Meks Smart Author Widget
Meks Smart Author widget helps display more information about you or the authors at your site. If you’re the only one creating content, you can just have it display your:
But if you have a multi-author site, the widget can smartly display information for the actual author of each post:
The widget automatically pulls in information from the author’s WordPress profile, so that’s where you’ll need to add the author name, biography, and image:
Basically, it’s a stylish way to give your readers more of a connection with the person behind each post, whether that’s you or a different author.
10. Ad Inserter
As the name suggests, Ad Inserter is a popular plugin that helps you manage your ads and insert them on your site. It includes lots of different ways to insert ads, but one of them is…you guessed it — a widget!
If you display multiple ads on your site, it will make it a lot easier to keep track of them. You’ll be able to activate, deactivate, or change ads with just a few clicks:
And it also includes helpful functionality that lets you automatically rotate which ad(s) display in your widget. For example, you could display Ad A 50% of the time and Ad B the other 50% of the time. This lets you see which ad generates more money for you.
Finally, it also lets you create a “sticky” widget that stays visible even as a user scrolls down the page.
11. Feature A Page Widget
You’ve already seen a widget that helps you display your most popular posts automatically. Now, let’s cover a widget that helps you promote a specific post.
For example, maybe you’ve recently published a huge guide that you want to promote to every single visitor. The Feature A Page Widget lets you showcase any WordPress post, page, or custom post type in an eye-catching format. You can choose:
- From 3 different layouts
- What information to include (like the page title, excerpt, read more, etc.)
It’s also easy to change what content you feature in the future, as the widget lets you search for each post by name:
12. Content Aware Sidebars
Finally, Content Aware Sidebars isn’t a widget by itself. But it does help you a lot when working with many of the cool WordPress widgets that you’ve seen above. Basically, Content Aware Sidebars lets you display different sets of widgets depending on what content a visitor is viewing.
For example, you could display one sidebar for posts in the Travel category, and another sidebar for posts in the What I’m Reading category (or lots of other different rules!):
This lets you match which WordPress widgets you use to the type of content that your readers are interested in, which is a great way to make your website more personalized!
Get more control with these WordPress widgets!
Whether you want to add new content to your sidebar or anywhere else on your site, these 12 WordPress widgets will make your life a whole lot easier.
Give them a try today and enjoy a better WordPress site!
Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer with a background in SEO and affiliate marketing. He helps clients grow their web visibility by writing primarily about WordPress and digital marketing.
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You're reading Getsitecontrol blog where marketing experts share proven tactics to grow your online business. This article is a part of Customer engagement section.