A widget is a general term used when referencing a small gadget or mechanical device that has an unknown or unspecified name. So, a WordPress widget is the term used to describe a small area on a website that is used for a specific function.
What that means in plain English, is that:
- A widget area is like a container for different types of content, and
- A widget is a smaller container for a specific type of content inside the big container
Widgets were originally designed to provide a simple and easy way to give more control to the website owner over the design and content, and today they are used to add specific types of content and features to a site.
Widgetized WordPress Themes
Widgetized WordPress themes, are themes that use widgets to display different types content and perform different types of functions.
While most WordPress themes support widgets, not every theme uses them the same way or in the same places, and some themes use a lot of widgeted areas, and other use almost none.
Available Widget Areas Are Specific To Your Theme
Most often we see widgets used in unique home page designs (widgeted home pages), in website sidebars, in footer widget areas — and in other parts of the theme like the right side of a website header, or at the end of a blog post.
In a widget-enabled section of your website, like the sidebar, you can simply drag and drop the widgets you need, or drag and drop them to change the order they appear.
Three Core Types of WordPress Widgets:
Keeping in mind that a widget is a content container inside a larger pre-designated widget area, there are different types of widgets available to you with WordPress, including:
- WordPress Widgets: By default, WordPress has several types of widgets built in, including text, categories, tags, custom menu, search, recent posts, etc.
- Genesis Widgets: WordPress websites powered by the Genesis Framework (like the sites we build) have additional widgets available like the user profile, featured page, and featured post widgets. Plus, there are Genesis specific WordPress plugins that have been developed by third parties, like Genesis Latest Tweets.
- Plugin Widgets: Many plugins add their own widgets to your website to give you more control over how the plugin functions are displayed — like Jetpack and Soliloquy.
What About You?
Do you have a widgeted Home page on your website? Do you find widgets easy or difficult to use? Do you have a favorite plugin that adds a widget to your site? Did you learn something new? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!
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