Managing Widgets and Menus

Up to now, you've worked with content that appears in the main body of your website, but WordPress makes it easy to control the content in the sidebar and other areas of the layout, without having to know HTML or other coding. That's the purpose of what are called widgets. In this lesson, I show you how they work and how they can work for you.

WordPress recently added a menu system which makes creating and managing navigation areas as simple as using widgets and widget areas. In this lesson, I'll show you how to create new menus and then manage the items on those menus.


Widgets can be described as elements on a web page that users can easily add, delete, and move around. A widget might produce a list of all your blog categories, another might be a text box where you can update all your contact information, and yet another could contain the coding your mailing list manager provides for inserting a sign-up form.

The great thing about widgets is that although they can perform some pretty complex functions, they appear in your administration screen as a simple box that you just drag and drop. You drop them into what are called widget areas that are coded into your theme files.

Widget areas began life in the sidebar of WordPress themes, but these days, you'll find them anywhere — in the header, the footer, the content area. If you customize your theme, you can place widget areas wherever you'd like.

Some basic widgets come with WordPress, ...

Get WordPress® 24-Hour Trainer, Second Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.