My 5 Favorite WordPress Widgets

The WordPress world is dominated by Themes and Plugins, these two elements are what really makes this CMS platform the undisputed king. However, this also means that Widgets just don’t get enough love even though they are oh so powerful. So I thought I’d share the main WordPress widgets that I use right now since my list of favorites definitely has evolved over the years.

Also, it is important to review the widgets you are running at least once a year. If a developer stops updating their widget for years it could contain security holes or incompatibilities that will not play nice with new versions of WordPress. One of my favorite Widgets hasn’t been updated for 2 years now so I decided to drop it a few months ago. Make sure all the Widgets and Plugins you are running are up to date and read below to learn my favorite widgets alive and well in 2013.

If you don’t know the difference between a widget and a plugin, let me quickly explain, otherwise skip this paragraph to the good stuff! A plugin is a piece of code packaged in a way that allows you to to run a specific function on your website. A widget, on the other hand, is an object you can place in different locations on your site. Widgets are actually plugins themselves but not all plugins have widgets, got it? Good, let’s do it then!

Below are my five favorite WordPress Widgets in 2013:

  1. Top Commentators Widget – there are a lot of awesome people who comment on my blog and I love to share the love with this widget. Completely free, easy to install, and a great way to give a shot out to all the people who take the time to read what you write and share with you and your audience.
  2. Personal Image Widget (In Standard Theme) – last year I switched over to Standard Theme which I’ve been really happy with. It has a nice widget called “Personal Image” which displays my photo and short bio on the sidebar. It’s simple but I think stylistically it looks a lot better than an image centered over some text in a text widget.
  3. Categories Widget – yes, this is just a normal old widget that everyone gets pre-installed on WordPress however I think it is one of, if not the most critical widget you can have. People like to search by category and the easier you make it for people to read your content, the more content they can discover.
  4. Blog Subscriptions (Jetpack) – Jetpack is one of the most badass plugins available for WordPress. It also adds some widgets to your arsenal and Blog Subscriptions is one of them. This makes it super easy for anyone subscribe to your blog.
  5. PHP Code Widget – the text widget allows you to do a lot since it happily accepts HTML code, but the buck stops there. The PHP Code Widget allows you to run PHP code in a text-like widget. This is a great way to write your own custom widget without having to learn the WordPress Plugin/Widget architecture.

These are my favorite, as always I’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite WordPress Widgets? Comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • bw January 9, 2013, 6:41 pm

    for widgets, definitely the Text / HTML and PHP Code widgets, and Facebook Like Box / Latest Tweets. For plugins, QuForm can’t be beat for web forms.

    Reply
  • Luke Summers January 9, 2013, 8:45 pm

    Thanks Morgan, the PHP Code Widget looks very useful.

    Reply
  • Morgan January 9, 2013, 10:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing @BW – good call on QuForm, that’s an awesome one!

    Reply

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