Looking for things to put on your blog’s sidebar? Well one of the best things about a self hosted WordPress blog is it’s bevy of widgets that you can easily add to your sidebar!
Your sidebar is a great opportunity to keep engagement by highlighting your own content or provided some complimentary content ie: showing your popular posts, adding a banner link to a category page, showing weather for a local blog etc. It also serves as a great way to capture visitors (ie: newsletter signup, social media links, etc).
Adding new widgets to your sidebar is dead easy. Once signed into your WordPress dashboard, navigation to Plugins and click “Add New”. Simply type in the name of the plugin I list below and hit install. Then, when you to to your sidebar area (Appearance > Widgets), you can drag and drop your new widget!
Without further ado, here are 26 widgets you can use to spruce up your WordPress sidebar and really, get your site to perform better.
Display links to your social media sites in your sidebar. This plugin is very straight forward and should have the social media site your are looking for (comes with 26 different icons).You can upload your own icons too.
Social Media Widget by Acurax (but you are limited to Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, RSS and can’t upload your own icons).
Web Font Social Icons Widget & Shortcode $6
Simple Social Icons
Displays thumbnails of your latest pins
Pretty Pinterest Pins (also lets you pick a specific pinterest board)
Want to show off how many followers you have? This plugin lets you display your social media links and a count of how many followers you have for each. An alternative is Social Buffs – $11
or Social Count Plus for free.
Create a form to sit on your sidebar for visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. Signups are added to your MailChimp list.
Show your upcoming events on your WordPress sidebar by easily integrating with your google events calendar.
Show your YouTube channel’s feed on your sidebar. Visitors can even play your videos without leaving your site!
Highlight posts on your sidebar. This plugins also lets you display post snippets from a category or simply a list of categories. You are also given a number of display options such as: thumbnail size, order, includes/excludes, gallery view, etc. Best to just look at their demo for a quick idea of how it works 🙂
Add your bio to your WordPress sidebar with a thumbnail image and links to your social media. An alternative is the Profile Card Widget – $7
Add a playlist of songs to your WordPress sidebar. This audio player lets pause, play, shuffle and skip through selected music tracks with support for different browsers and mobile devices.
Select the posts that you want to be featured on your sidebar.
13. Pollify – $12
Slick looking poll widget that lets you vote and then shows you the results. A popular but not as good looking alternative is the Polldady Polls & Ratings Plugin
The default search you are give by WordPress is very limited. It does a simply string match and searches ALL content (posts and pages). It often makes sense to upgrade your search on your site with some kind of plugin 😉
This plugin lets you show your content in a unique way but showing a scrolling list of your latest posts
Show all your blog’s contributors in your sidebar with a thumbnail and link to their posts.
Another Option Authors Widget – $3
Displays popular posts, recent posts and categories in tabs on your sidebar
WordPress Popular Posts that will show just your latest posts as a list with links to comment and view
JetPack’s Popular Posts Tabbed Widget (most popular posts, latest comments and most recent posts in a tabbed display)
WP Tab Widget
Hello Ajax Tabs
Show some testimonials on your sidebar from your customers or clients (also check out my video on how to setup your testimonials plugins).
Show news feeds from sites you like by linking up their RSS.
This WordPress sidebar widget is pretty neat – it highlights your tweets that are most popular but getting the most shares.
Have some announcements to share? Add them to your sidebar and have this widget scroll through all your latest news.
Allows you to display your own content with the use of the WYSIWIG editor
Note: The JetPack plugin is automatically installed with new installs of WordPress so all you need to do is activate the plugin and activate the module!
Easily show your twitter feed on your sidebar with this module of JetPack.
Allow visitors to your site to like your facebook page with a Facebook Like box that can show thumbnails of your “likers” and also your latest posts to your fb page.
A dead simple way to display a linkable image on your sidebar (ie banner ad, link to another page on your site, etc). An alternative is this Image Widget.
A quick and easy way to start collecting subscribers to your WordPress site. Your subscribers will be emailed once new posts become available on your site.