26 Widgets to Dress up your WordPress Sidebar

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.

1. Social Icons Widget

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.
Other Options:
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

2. Pinterest Pinboard Widget

Displays thumbnails of your latest pins
Another Option:
Pretty Pinterest Pins (also lets you pick a specific pinterest board)

3. WP Instagram Widget

Show your latest instagram photos
Other options:
Instagram Slider Widget
Enjoy Instagram

4. My Social Counter – $13

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.

5. MailChimp for WordPress

Create a form to sit on your sidebar for visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. Signups are added to your MailChimp list.

6. Google Events Calendar

Show your upcoming events on your WordPress sidebar by easily integrating with your google events calendar.

7. YouTube Channel Gallery

Show your YouTube channel’s feed on your sidebar. Visitors can even play your videos without leaving your site!

8. Advanced Categories Widget – $4

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 🙂

9. WP-Biographica

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

10. Ultimate Weather – $13

Show the current weather conditions in your city or a number of places.
Similar widgets:
Bonobo Weather Widget – $4
Weather Widget – $6

11. Total Control Audio Player – $6

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.

12. AK Featured Posts

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

14. Advanced Search – $11

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 😉

15. 5sec Content Scrolling Widget – $8

This plugin lets you show your content in a unique way but showing a scrolling list of your latest posts

16. Fancy WordPress Authors List

Show all your blog’s contributors in your sidebar with a thumbnail and link to their posts.
Another Option Authors Widget – $3

17. SB Popular Posts Tabbed Widget

Displays popular posts, recent posts and categories in tabs on your sidebar
Other Options:
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

18. Quotes Collection

Show some testimonials on your sidebar from your customers or clients (also check out my video on how to setup your testimonials plugins).

19. J.B.News for WordPress

Show news feeds from sites you like by linking up their RSS.

20. Twitter Trending Widget: A jQuery WordPress Plugin

This WordPress sidebar widget is pretty neat – it highlights your tweets that are most popular but getting the most shares.

21. WP Easy News Scroller – $13

Have some announcements to share? Add them to your sidebar and have this widget scroll through all your latest news.

22. Black Studio TinyMCE Widget

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!

23. JetPack’s Twitter Timeline

Easily show your twitter feed on your sidebar with this module of JetPack.

24. JetPack’s Facebook Like Box

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.

25. JetPack’s Image Widget

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.

26. JetPacks’ Subscription Plugin

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.

Photo Credit

30 thoughts on “26 Widgets to Dress up your WordPress Sidebar”

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  3. Shesings Understars

    Hi Mel,
    Lovely website, I’m having a great time looking around at all your wonderful tips. One question, I’ve installed the pretty pinterest pins plugin and the pinterest pinboard widget. I’m wondering which one you use on your website? Im not having much luck with the PPW . Thank you !!

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  7. Hi i just wanted to say thank you for this. I am still quite new to wordpress and been working on designing my website. Your articles have really helped me get a good feel and direction of my design layout. Beautiful site, keep on spreading the wisdom 🙂

  8. Hey! Love the site. Love your designs. May even buy one!

    Some of your plugins are no longer available on Code Canyon. You may want to look into that and fix your broken links, and give us some alternatives…possibly even a tutorial about how we could code our own social media counter that would match our design site.

    Question: your designs…is it possible to change the background, fonts and colours fairly easily through CSS?

    Also, wondering…are you an affiliate of Code Canyon (Envato)? I don’t see your disclosure…just wondering, since it seems, except for Jetpack plugins, all the other ones are listed there. If you can, you may want to give us some more options….they do have awesome plugins though….not a criticism so much as a hmmm….

    So glad I found you! Also discovered “Pretty Darn Cute Designs” site by one of your links…or vice versa…can’t remember….

    Definitely going to be spending some time checking things out…

    Cheers from Canada!


  9. I see your disclosure now, in your side bar. You may want to write about it in the actual post, and vary where your content comes from a bit…gosh, I sound awful!! Don’t mean to…wouldn’t take the time to say a darned thing if I didn’t like your site so much, btw.


    1. Hi Stacy!
      I see your concern but I definitely don’t list or link to plugins or themes that I wouldn’t normally suggest without being an affiliate. My approach is “since I’m going to blog about it anyway, might as well see if I can make so money” (and that money is NOT significant at all 🙂 )

      Actually, I should really update this post… I have a lot of other suggestions. If you are looking for more free plugins I actually created a ebook of 60 WordPress plugins that I’ve personally used – ALL FREE. The optin is at the top and bottom of the site.

      Thanks for your feedback. I do appreciate it!!


  10. As compare to side bar. Slider is the most important thing. If you want to create eye catching web design then you have to add good slider and i have a great solution for that. For that i would like to suggest you Avartan WordPress Slider. That have many unique and new features that you will newer find in other slider plugin. avartanslider.com

  11. Hi Mel, love*love*love* your site. I found just the inspiration, knowledge and direction I lacked earlier this evening, in my own WordPress site design efforts. Much gratitude is contained within this post… Mel, you make “pretty” even prettier! Thank you so much again!

  12. Thanks for the list. I am actually searching for a side bar news scroller that can include photos and links. Not the latest posts but alternate snippets of interest. Anyone know of anything like that?

  13. Ryan Faulkner-Hogg

    Atlas Geographica — atlasgeographica —

    Hey Mel,

    You have a lovely and elegantly designed website. Thank you for the great content. I am going to download the jetpack subscription widget right away.

    Keep up the great work 🙂

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I’m a WordPress Web Designer & Developer with over 15 years of experience making websites (including eCommerce and membership websites). If you would like a custom website, please get in touch!