WordPress comes preloaded with several widgets. Instead of searching for plugins that could add a potential security hole to your site, be sure that you are making the most of what you already have. Several of the standard widgets can radically impact your SEO and site ranking too.
This widget is great as a placeholder. It will take up the full size of a widget-ready area. If you’ve got a new theme, and unsure where a widget-ready area will appear, the calendar widget is great for showing you the full size of the area.
Categories are one of the most powerful features of WordPress. They are like the queen in chess. Displaying a list of them in your sidebar is a great way to pique the interest of your readers and let them know what you write about.
Categories are also listed in a hierarchal structure. Google indexes your categories and loves hierarchal listings to learn more about how the content on your site is laid out.
Super widget for allowing you to highlight pages and posts that you want to draw more attention to. Beyond your sidebar, it’s great for the header and footer areas of your site too.
This is a powerful widget to help visitors see more titles of your blog posts. It also helps to increase time on site and decrease bounce rate, which is when a viewer visits one page on your site and then leaves. Both of these stats are indexed by Google.
It’s always good to help folks find more of your content. A few updates ago, WordPress upgraded the internal search feature to make this widget more accurate. A Search box in your header or footer widget areas ensures that it will be available on every page.
This is one of the most versatile and powerful widgets on your site. You can build custom widgets that include text, images, links and more. And, it can handle HTML code easily, so you can control the look and function too.
Rarely Used Widgets
There are a few widgets that have fallen out of vogue and make your site look old-fashioned.
This widget displays a list of months that are linked to corresponding date archive pages. Only a few sites that make seasonal posts can gain much benefit by displaying these links. In fact, a much better option would be a plugin that allows you to create an archives page and lists the blog post titles broken out by month.
This widget has a convenient Log in/out link, among others. But for security reasons, it’s best not to use it. And, it looks like a super rookie mistake to leave it active.
If you have lively engagement on your blog post comments with your tribe, then you can benefit from displaying this widget in your sidebar. But, if most of the conversation is happening on social media, then it looks pretty sad only having a few comments on older posts. But you may want to refrain from using a plugin that pulls in your social media engagement too, as it causes a big performance drain.
This widget has always confused folks. It’s not for the RSS feed on your site. It allows you to pull the RSS feed from other sites to display on your site. And I don’t know anybody much who wants to put links like that to run folks off their site anymore.
As previously mentioned, Categories are one of the most powerful features of WordPress. Only a few types of sites can truly benefit from also using Tags. But if you’re site is one of those, then displaying a Tag Cloud of your most popular ones might get you more clicks.
Harness the Full Power of WordPress
No matter how long they have been using the platform, most of my clients do not know the basics of WordPress and are not capitalizing on all that it can do. If you’re ready to have super site success, you can find more info in the BlogAid Video Tutorial Library where I cover the how-to and the why-to on WordPress, SEO, and more.