The Ten Most Interesting Widgets for Your WordPress Website

It is not least its versatility that makes WordPress so fascinating. WordPress websites are unique – at least if you want them to be. But what people often forget is that high individuality and functionality can already be achieved by using the right sidebar widgets. They’re like the icing on the cake and can add spice to your website. Therefore, we want to show you the 10 most interesting widgets for your WordPress website. Start clearing the sidebar…

The Ten Most Interesting Widgets for Your WordPress Website

WordPress Widgets – Here We Go!

1. Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails

recent-post-widget-with-thumbnails

The Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails is a simple, however, very useful plugin. It displays the most recent postings along with a thumbnail which is either generated from the featured post image or the first image in the post. It also displays the title linked to the postings. There’re only few settings that aren’t self-explaining. The result is a nice and useful add-on for your website which encourages your visitors to read more articles on your WordPress website.

screenshots-recent-post-widget

The finished widget and its settings – © Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails

  • Developer: Hinjiriyo
  • Continuous development: Yes
  • Latest version: 09/06/2014
  • Price: Free on WordPress.org
  • License: GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
  • Incompatibilities with other plugins: Not known
  • Developer’s homepage: None

2. Simple Social Icons

The Simple Social Icons Plugin by the renowned WordPress theme provider Studiopress creates a widget with pretty social network icons that can be inserted in any widget area. You can customize the color and size, and align them to the left, right, or center. It’s easy to use and the result is simply stunning.

  • Developer: Studiopress, Brian Gardner
  • Continuous development: Yes
  • Latest version: 04/23/2014
  • Price: Free on WordPress.org
  • License: GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
  • Incompatibilities with other plugins: Not known
  • Developer’s homepage: Studiopress.com

3. Google Maps Widget

google-maps-widget

This tool creates a freely adjustable Google map within a widget that can be integrated in any widget area of a WordPress website. Clicking on the map opens a large map in a lightbox. What you should keep in mind is that the Google Maps widget really is only a widget and, therefore, can’t be added to other areas which are not explicitly defined as widget area. Despite its extensive adjustment options, the widget is easy to use. Here are the options:

Map options

  • Map size – width & height
  • Map type – road, satellite, map or hybrid
  • Pin color
  • Pin size
  • Zoom level
  • Link type – lightbox, custom URL or disable link
  • Map color scheme – new & old
  • Text above map
  • Text below map

Lightbox map options

  • Map size – width & height
  • Map type – road, satellite, map or hybrid
  • Zoom level
  • Skin – light & dark
  • Show/hide address bubble
  • Show/hide map title
  • Header text
  • Footer text
screenshot-2

The Google map in a lightbox – © Google Maps Widget

  • Developer: WebFactory
  • Continuous development: Yes
  • Latest version: 09/22/2014
  • Price: Free on WordPress.org
  • License: GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
  • Incompatibilities with other plugins: Not known
  • Developer’s homepage: Google Maps Widget Homepage

4. Image Widget

image-widget

This is something for friends of photography but it’s also a quick solution for creating a simple “About me” widget. The widget is user-friendly and mostly self-explaining. It uses the native WordPress media manager to add and/or select images. Size and alignment of the image can be adjusted. The image description handles simple HTML like an added link.

image-widget-screenshot-1

Image Widget settings – © Image Widget

image-widget-screenshot2

The Image Widget output – © Image Widget

  • Developer: Modern Tribe Inc., Peter Chester
  • Continuous development: Yes
  • Latest version: 05/05/2014
  • Price: Free on WordPress.org
  • License: GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
  • Incompatibilities with other plugins: Not known
  • Developer’s homepage: None

5. Authors Widget

authors-widget

This widget shows a list or tag cloud of the website’s authors in the sidebar. It’s a great tool for websites with more than one author because it displays not only the names but also, for example, links to the authors’ feeds – all in all, a practical and user-friendly solution.

screenshot-7

Authors Aidget settings – © Authors Widget

  • Developer: flocsy
  • Continuous development: Yes
  • Latest version: 06/10/2014
  • Price: Free on WordPress.org
  • License: GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
  • Incompatibilities with other plugins: Not known
  • Developer’s homepage: None

6. Youtube Channel Gallery

youtube-channel-gallery

This widget shows a small YouTube video gallery in the sidebar. One video can be directly played whereas the rest of the gallery consists of video screenshots. This makes it very useful for those operating a YouTube channel and offers additional value for visitors of a website. If you click on one of the screenshots, the video will be played above the image gallery.

screenshot-1

The settings of the Youtube Channel Gallery © Youtube Channel Gallery

screenshot-5

A design option – © Youtube Channel Gallery

  • Developer: PoseLab
  • Continuous development: Yes
  • Latest version: 03/13/2014
  • Price: Free on WordPress.org
  • License: GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
  • Incompatibilities with other plugins: Not known
  • Developer’s homepage: None

7. OptinMonster – Premium

optinmonster-plugin-widget

Although, OptinMonster is primarly a premium theme providing only some widgets, it still needs to be mentioned in this article because it has one of the most important widgets ever. If you want to make money with your blog (or are dependent on it), such a plugin is almost a must-have. OptinMonster helps converting visitors into subscribers and customers, depending on what the OptinMonster forms are for. Basically, this plugin helps you getting new subscribers for newsletters or encouraging visitors to buy something. Experience has shown that about 70% of the website visitors won’t come back, so this plugin can be a mighty tool to increase website visits and promote customer loyalty.

Users are not only provided with widgets but also forms which open up after a predefined time in form of a lightbox on top of the content. This grabs your visitor’s full attention. Thanks to the integrated design builder, form and widget creation is easy and fast. License costs range from $49 for one website to $349 for an unlimited amount of websites. You only have to pay once.

optimmonster-preise

  • Developer: Retyp, LLC.
  • Continuous development: Yes
  • Latest version: Not known
  • Price: from $49 to $349
  • License: Special premium license
  • Incompatibilities with other plugins: Not known
  • Developer’s homepage: OptinMonster

8. Tabbed Login Widget

tabbet-login-widget

The Tabbed Login Widget allows you to add a login form to the sidebar of your blog or website. In addition, this elaborate and pretty form offers the possibility to register and request a forgotten password. Your visitors don’t have to be forwarded to the website’s administration interface but can easily log in and register on the homepage. This tool is ideal for websites that require visitors to log in.

das-tabbed-login-widget

The widget showing the login and register form – © Tabbed Login Widget

  • Developer: Vivec Maracana
  • Continuous development: Yes
  • Latest version: 03/04/2014
  • Price: Free on WordPress.org
  • License: GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
  • Incompatibilities with other plugins: Not known
  • Developer’s homepage: None

9. Social Count Plus

social-count-plus

Social Count Plus is another plugin that focuses on social networks. What makes it special is that it doesn’t only display the icons of the social networks but also the number of followers, subscribers, comments, and likes. The following networks are supported: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Youtube, Instagram, Steam, and SoundCloud (amount of posts and comments). You can use these functions with a widget, or display them via shortcode and PHP tag anywhere you want.

screenshot-social-count-plus

Social Count Plus settings – © Social Count Plus

  • Developer: Claudio Sanchez, Felipe Santana
  • Continuous development: Yes
  • Latest version: 09/06/2014
  • Price: Free on WordPress.org
  • License: GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
  • Incompatibilities with other plugins: Not known
  • Developer’s homepage: None

10. Google Calendar Events

google-calendar-events

This plugin creates an event calendar using Google Calendar. It can display events in list form which is sometimes useful, especially in terms of clarity. Besides using it in a widget, you can also display the calendar in a posting or on a page. This gives you some design freedom because you’re not tight to only one display option. Above all, this plugin is extremely versatile. The target group could include entrepreneurs, doctors, and real estate agents.

screenshot-01

Example of an event calendar – © Google Event Calendar

  • Developer: Phil Derksen, Nick Young, Ross Hanney
  • Continuous development: Yes
  • Latest version: 09/20/2014
  • Price: Free on WordPress.org
  • License: GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
  • Incompatibilities with other plugins: Not known
  • Developer’s homepage: None
  • Documentation: Google Event Calendar Documentation

Conclusion

Only the right widgets make a WordPress website complete and interesting. Finding them, may feel like looking for the needle in the haystack with all the widgets and plugins provided in the public WordPress plugin directory. But it’s definitely worth the effort. Widgets make a website pretty, user-friendly, unique, and elaborate. So, look for the needle…

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Andreas Hecht

Andreas Hecht is a journalist and specialist for WordPress and WordPress Security. He roams the web since its inception. He has published an ebook on WordPress Security, which you might want to take a look at.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Sajid
Guest

The related posts widget in wordpress is really great as it helps readers engaged and bounce rate gets low thus increased traffic for the website.

Tim
Guest

Some of these say continuous development: yes, but they haven’t been updated in over a year.

Tim
Guest

Additionally, there are no links to any of the widget pages. That would help.

Owen
Guest

This is a cool list of widgets, certainly looking to add some flare to some of my websites with these, thanks for the widget tips.

Saleena Bright
Guest

Is there any research concerning this plugin’s compatibility with wordpress 4.0+? Currently I’m getting an error message:
Fatal error: Cannot use object of type WP_Error as array in /Applications/AMPPS/www/ubc/wp-content/plugins/youtube-channel-gallery/youtube-channel-gallery.php on line 556

Or maybe this is a compatibility issue with youtube API? Any thoughts?

Tim
Guest

Apparently authors never comment back on articles here, Saleena. Best to search the WordPress forums, as they will be more helpful.

chawki trabelsi
Guest

Wonderful wordpress plugins!

Aaron Jones
Guest

Almost on all WordPress projects i use the standard recent posts widget but i always have to use a third party widget to display popular posts. I think it would be nice to have this widget in a standard WordPress install. From your list i usually use the recent posts with thumbnails and the social count widgets.

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