We love widgets. They’re a quick and easy way to pack more content and useful information into every nook and cranny of your website. Adding social links, forms, recent posts and more couldn’t be easier.
Depending on the WordPress theme you’re using you may already have a ton of useful widgets built in (our Total theme for example includes 16+ custom widgets). But if your theme is lacking the widget of your dreams, try using a plugin to add it.
We’ve collected 35 of our favorite WordPress widget ready plugins. So without waiting any longer, let’s have a look!
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Add a handful of useful plugins in one go with one of these comprehensive widget plugins. These are both a great option to add more to your sidebars with just one easy to use plugin.
Add even More Widgets (get it?) with this completely free plugin. The plugin includes 11 specialized widgets for ads, about me, business info, newsletter, social media, Facebook page, recent posts, posts slider, comments, Google maps and users. More Widgets keeps it simple and uses default styling – so there’s not code required to make the plugin look great with your theme.
SiteOrigin Widget Bundle
The SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle provides a lot of options for just one plugin. It includes widgets for Google maps, buttons, images, call to action, pricing table, post carousel, features, videos, headline and social links. Plus they are all compatible with the SiteOrigin page builder to boot.
Custom Sidebar Plugins
To use widgets you need a place to put them. Many themes include widget ready sidebars and/or footers. But what if you want different widgets on different pages?
To accomplish this you’ll need to create custom sidebars and assign them to your various posts, pages or custom post types. Don’t worry if this is a feature your WordPress theme doesn’t have – these sidebar plugins make it easy.
Custom Sidebars offers exactly what you’d think – custom sidebar areas that you can assign to any and every page, post, category, archive and post type on your website. Just create a new sidebar and globally define where it should be displayed (or assign it to a specific page).
Custom Widget Areas
Custom Widget Areas is a helpful premium WordPress plugin that makes creating and adding custom sidebars or widget areas to any post or page. Simply create your new widget area and select the sidebar you want it to replace – it’s that easy.
Getting started couldn’t be easier. Just install the plugin and it will add a new menu item for your Custom Widget Areas in your WordPress dashboard. Click to add a new area and simply name your new area and choose your settings. Once you publish your new widget area it will be added to your main widgets page where you can use it like any of your other sidebar areas.
The other great features of this plugin include 7 styles, the ability to add custom widget areas to custom post types & taxonomies, RTL support and regular updates. This is an awesome plugin, and you can find out more about it by clicking on Learn More button above.
Content Aware Sidebars
Content Aware Sidebars is one of the most popular free custom sidebar plugins on the web. With it you can create can create unlimited sidebars and widget areas, or replace existing ones! You can also choose to show or hide based on page, post type, taxonomy, author, archive date, etc. Plus there are added options for CSS/HTML customization that give you full control over widget styling.
Sidebar & Widget Manager
Use this plugin to insert any number of widgets to create the exact layout you want on a page. Further customize your website by adding custom sidebars virtually anywhere. The plugin gives you the option to insert sidebars for vertical or horizontal widgets, the sidebars can be set to appear only with specific types of content, and the sidebars also immediately and automatically recognize any custom taxonomies (great if you want one of your widgets to show posts with a certain tag or category).
Another great feature is the included shortcode to insert a custom sidebar into your post. This way you can add widgets directly into your post. You can also use the plugin to replace a sidebar that came with your WordPress theme, or even to customize the widgets in the footer. This plugin give you complete control over the appearance and visibility of pretty much all the widgetized areas on your site. With the you can show specific sidebars on any post, page, search results, archives, 404 and even your shop (products, cart, checkout and all) and forum (bbPress or BuddyPress) pages. The plugin is also compatible with WPML for easy translations.
Simple Page Sidebars
If you want a quick and simple plugin try Simple Page Sidebars. The plugin uses built-in WordPress caching to keep your admin dashboard fast, while still providing you with the ability to create and assign custom sidebars to individual pages.
Q2W3 Fixed Widgets
While this plugin does not include options for creating new sidebars, it does allow you to make sidebar widgets sticky. When you install the Q2W3 Fixed Widget for WordPress it will add a simple “fixed widget” option that you can check as you build your sidebar. This is a great way to keep important widgets in front of readers – like a newsletter signup or high performing ad.
Social WordPress Plugins
Social media is an important aspect of marketing and every business or blog absolutely needs to add links to their social profiles. The most accessible locations for your readers to find your social links is your sidebar and footer. Here are our favorite free social widget plugins from WordPress.org.
Candy Social Widget
Add a simple social widget to your WordPress theme with Candy Social. This plugin includes 25 popular social networks, plus an easy drag & drop reordering options. Customize the icon dimensions, font size, shape (square, rounded corners, or circle) and add a link target. That’s all there is to it!
Social Icons Widget by WPZoom
This handy plugin ads a widget for your social links. With support for 80+ social networks as well as 400+ icons to choose from this is a great option for adding simple square, rounded, circle, plain or labeled social icons to your sidebars.
Meks Smart Social Widget
The Meks Smart Social widget includes simple options for 40 social icons each with 3 different styles to choose from (square, circle and rounded corners). Simply insert the widget then add a bit of intro text, select an icon shape and pixel size then add your links. Easy!
AccessPress Social Icons Plugin
If you’re looking for a widget plugin with a bit more flair then AccessPress might be right for you. This plugin includes 12 unique built-in icon themes (including hexagons, outlined icons and even paper planes), the option for horizontal or vertical display layout, tooltips, hover animations and much more.
Social Photo Feed
With the free Social Photo Feed plugin it’s easy to display a responsive layout of any number of Instagram photos from a single (or multiple) Instagram account. There are tons of options for customizing your grid such as image width, height, count, columns, background, spacing an more. Just format your feed and paste the shortcode in a sidebar text widget.
Social Slider Widget
Want to a a basic feed grid, or perhaps even a slider? Try the Social Slider Widget plugin. It displays the most recent photos from a user account or hashtag with added options for ordering (date, random, etc), slider navigation, slide animation and more.
Don’t miss the chance to turn one time visitors into return readers! Adding a newsletter widget is an easy (and non-invasive) way to get your website visitors to stay informed about your website. Here are a few of the widget ready newsletter plugins we like.
WP Subscribe integrates with aWeber, MailChimp and Feedburner so you can add a newsletter subscription box to any widget ready area. There are easy options for adding your signup box labels, success message, error message and customizations can be added with CSS.
MailChimp for WordPress
If you’re using MailChimp, then the MailChimp for WordPress plugin is a superb option. The plugin adds options for creating a simple subscription optin for your sidebar or footer, in addition to a newsletter subscription options for comments, BuddyPress registration, bbPress, EDD or WooCommerce checkout.
If you want to send newsletters on your own without a third party service then have a look at MailPoet Newsletters. This plugin uses your email provider, web host or even Amazon to send newsletters that you build right in your WordPress dashboard. And it comes with a simple signup widget that you can insert into any sidebar.
Recent & Popular Posts Widgets
Share your best posts with your readers to get more views and shares by simply adding your posts to your sidebar or footer. These helpful free plugin make it easy to add recent or popular posts with a widget.
Recent Posts Widget Extended
The Recent Posts Widget Extended makes it easy to display your recent posts with thumbnails, excerpt, taxonomy and more in any widget ready area. There are tons of options so you can limit the results by category, tag or even post status.
WordPress Popular Posts
To display your most popular posts try the WordPress Popular Posts widget plugin. Select whether to show your top posts, pages or even custom post types based on page views. Plus there are options to choose the time period so your can show your popular posts of the day, week, month or even all time.
WP Tab Widget
For a more unique look you could add a tabbed posts widget instead. The WP Tab Widget uses recent posts, popular posts, recent comments or your tags to create tags. Plus there are simple options for tab order, pagination, number of posts to show and thumbnail size.
Recent Posts Widget with Thumbnails
The Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails plugin is just what it sounds like – a simple widget to add your recent posts to your sidebar. But don’t be fooled, there are still many options you can use to customize your recents posts. Add a custom title, show post meta, definite thumbnail size, set the excerpt length, open links in a new tab, etc.
Sidebar Polls & Surveys
If you run a blog or online business you might want to find out what your readers think at some point or another. The easiest way to get instant feedback is with a poll or survey, and these plugins make adding a feedback form to your widget areas simple.
WP-Polls is a simple Ajaxed poll that you can insert into any post, page or sidebar. Customize your polls with templates and CSS once you’ve created them, and then insert them into any widget ready area by selecting your lasted poll or a specific one.
Poll, Survey, Quiz & Form by OpinionStage
OpinionStage offers a more feature rich option with their Poll, Survey, Quiz & Form plugin. This is a great way to boost reader engagement by asking for reader input (or even using the poll for a giveaway). Plus it’s easy. Just create the poll and add it to your widgets.
Quiz & Survey Master
The Quiz & Survey Master plugin includes options for creating simple quizzes and surveys using true false, multiple choice, open answer, checkboxes, fill in the blank and number questions. Plus it uses a simple shortcode, so all you have to do is paste the short code into the text box, post or page where ever you want it.
Contact Form Widgets
Sidebars and footers are great spots to place simple contact forms and information. Whether you want a form or just an easy way to list your contact information, here are our favorite plugin options.
Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is one of the best free contact form plugins on the web (in fact, it’s the plugin we recommend to all of our Total customers). No does Contact form 7 make it easy to build custom contact forms but you can insert your forms anywhere using the shortcode for your form (just paste it into a text widget to add it to a sidebar or footer).
WPForms Lite is a drag and drop form builder for WordPress that you can use to build custom forms in minutes. Plus there are pre-built templates to help save time, as well as easy options to embed your forms in any widget, post or page.
If you just want to display your contact information (and not a form) then consider the free Contact Widgets Plugin. This simple plugin adds two new widgets to your WordPress site: one for your personal or business contact information (email, phone, fax and address with a Google map), and another for your social profiles.
For businesses and websites with events or promotions a calendar is key. Calendar are perfect for sharing conferences, happy hours, limited time sales, webinars and more. And adding them to your sidebar or footer ensure more exposure for whatever it is you have coming up.
The Events Calendar
The Events Calendar is an awesome calendar for WordPress that offers easy features fro creating and managing events. The plugin adds a new post type that you can use to add all of your upcoming events, as well as a widget you can use to display an events list in any sidebar or footer.
Tockify Events Calendar
Adding events with Tockify Calendar plugin is easy with the powerful editor, multiple calendar layouts (month, agenda, pin-board), customizable appearance, Google Calendar sync and more. Plus the included mini-calendar widget makes it easy to display your upcoming events within a calendar with the events listed under the selected day.
More Useful Widgets
We’ve covered a lot of widgets, but if you want to add a bunch of widgets all at once you might want to choose a bundle. These options below all add multiple awesome widgets within one plugin.
Meks Easy Ads Widget
For more options then have a look at the Meks Easy Ads Widget. This plugin makes it possible to create an unlimited number of adverts from a single widget using predefined or custom ad sizes, random ordering, slide or rotate animations and more. It perfect for creating an alternating banner, or even a grid of smaller 125 x 125 ads.
Google Maps Widget
Adding a map to your sidebar or footer is a great way to let your visitors/customers know exactly where your business is located. The Google Maps Widget plugin will allow you to quickly and easily add maps to your widgetized areas. Unlike standard embed codes the Google Maps Widget plugin takes it to the next level allowing you to easily create interactive maps with lightbox support. They also offer a PRO version with more then 50 added features and options such as skins, widget cloning, multiple pins support, Google Analytics integration and of course premium US-based support.
Weather Atlas Widget
Weather Atlas Widget is simple, but a great plugin for adding weather from virtually everywhere on the globe to WordPress based websites. It’s a fun way to add weather conditions to a ski chalet, hotel, amusement park, or other outdoor activity based website.
The widget is highly customizable – all design elements are adjustable, and weather data can be presented in various forms, languages, and units. One of the widget’s best features is its adaptivity. Background and borders adapt to current temperature, so you can interpret at a glance what the weather is like.
Weather condition icons are simple and beautiful, and also adapt size, color, and shades of widget’s text. Plus it’s responsive. This means it automatically adapts for displaying on mobile devices. Font size will adjust accordingly to web site’s font size (and the placement on a page as well as browser size).
Google Reviews Widget
For businesses reviews are an important part of building your credibility and establishing trust with potential new customers. Google is one of the most trusted online sources for real reviews on the web, and with the Google Reviews Widget plugin you can easily add reviews for your business to your website. Show your reviews complete with avatars, stars, review excerpt, read more link, etc.
Don’t like a specific widget? No problem! With the Widget Disable you can simple disable specific widgets so they aren’t an option when building your sidebar, footer or other widget ready areas. Just install and get to work removing those unwanted widgets!
The last plugin we wanted to share is probably one of the most useful – it’s the Widget Importer and Exporter. With this you can copy the widgets your have on one website and use them, in the exact same order and locations on a new website.
This is especially useful if you’re cloning your website on your local host, moving to a new hosting plan or if you have a multisite setup and want to re-use your widgets. Simply install the plugin on your WordPress website and export the JSON file, then install the plugin on your new site to import your widgets.
We know there are thousands of widgets and widget plugins available but hopefully we’ve been able to help you find a few of the ones you might want or need. And all of the options shared are 100% free and can be found in the WordPress.org repository (so you can install theme right from your WordPress dashboard).
Did we miss anything? If there’s a widget you’re still looking for let us know and we’ll find it. Or if you have your own plugin to recommend leave us a comment below so we can check it out!