Over at the McBuzz Communications website, I have posted a nice video overview of the new features in WordPress 2.8, and a short description of one of the coolest new features: the ability to insert more than one instance of the same widget into one – or more – of your sidebars. This gives you a powerful new way to customize the link menus in your sidebars. If you have a theme that allows you to have different sidebars on different pages, you can now have custom links on every page – without having to hack the PHP code for the theme!
A reader commented on the tutorial “How to Use a Text Widget to Customize a WordPress Sidebar” today to ask if the Blix theme supports text widgets. It looks to me like it definitely does. Has anyone else had trouble with this?
The same reader asked about adding a custom header to the Blix theme. The custom header can be changed in the WordPress Dashboard under Appearance > Custom Header. Not all themes support a custom header, but the Blix theme does. I have not created a tutorial showing how to do this yet. Sorry! But it looks pretty straight-forward. Hopefully not too hard to figure out.
One other thing I should mention: BE CAREFUL ABOUT SWITCHING THEMES.
If you have a 3-column theme like the one I use on Business Blogging 101 (Digg 3 Column) and you are using widgets in both sidebars – especially custom text widgets like I show you how to create in the “How to Use a Text Widget to Customize a WordPress Sidebar” tutorial – then you should be aware that, if you switch to a 2-column theme, all of your widgets from the second sidebar will be moved into the one sidebar.
If you plan to keep the 2-column theme, that’s fine! You would want to move them all to the one sidebar so that they don’t disappear. However, if you are just “trying out” the 2-column theme to see how it looks, you will have to manually recreate your text widgets when you switch back to the 3-column theme. Otherwise, they will all remain in the left sidebar.
How do I know this? I just did it myself! Oops! It took about 15 minutes of copying and pasting text widget content back into the second (right side) sidebar to put everything back to the way it was.
This Intermediate level WordPress tutorial shows how to use a text widget to customize a sidebar in WordPress. The final product of the tutorial can be seen here in the Business Blogging 101 website’s right sidebar. The HTML code used in this example is below.
NOTE: this video tutorial uses version 2.5 of WordPress. The latest version of WordPress is now 2.7.1. The only difference in this case is that in version 2.7.1 Widgets are now located under Appearance > Widgets (using the navigation buttons in the left side of the WordPress Dashboard). Here is a screen shot of the WordPress 2.7 Dashboard highlighting the new Text widget interface. In version 2.5, Widgets are located under Design > Widgets. Everything else is exactly the same. Use the comment form at the bottom of this post to ask a question if you get confused.
Widgets are a useful feature of most new WordPress themes. These themes are called “widget enabled” or “widgetized” themes. They allow you to add custom content to your sidebars with little or no knowledge of HTML or other code.
In an earlier tutorial, I showed how to add Flickr photos to a WordPress sidebar using the Flickr photo widget.
The example I use in this tutorial shows how to create a custom text box with a short biographical note. Part of that text is a link. In PART TWO of this tutorial, I show how to insert an image into the same custom sidebar box, along with a LinkedIn profile “badge”. You can use these Text Widget techniques to put whatever you want into your own WordPress sidebar.
HTML code used in this tutorial example:
<img src=”https://mcbuzz.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/3058dc0.jpg” /><br />
I’m an <a href=”https://mcbuzz.wordpress.com/about/”>online marketing consultant</a>, specializing in Web 2.0 social media marketing, search engine optimization, pay per click advertising and WordPress websites for business.
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How to Use a Text Widget to Customize a WordPress Sidebar (Part 1)
How to Use a Text Widget to Customize a WordPress Sidebar (Part 2)
This Intermediate-level WordPress Tutorial shows how to add Flickr Photo Widget to your WordPress blog’s sidebar so that you can display thumbnails of your Flickr photos. The Flickr Widget comes with WordPress 2.5+ on the WordPress.com hosting site. Your WordPress theme also must support Widgets. If you have questions about Widgets, send me a comment by clicking on the Comments link (or using the form) at the bottom of this post.
If you google something like “wordpress photo sidebar widget”, you will find many ways to display photos in your WordPress sidebar. If there’s one you already use that you like, let us know! The nice thing about using WordPress.com for your blog/website is that things like the Flickr Photo Widget are installed automatically – or Automattically, if you prefer (a little WordPress pun, there). Check out the Automattic website if you have a minute to learn more about what the creators of WordPress are up to.
Before you can add the Flickr Photo Widget, you need to first create a Flickr account at Flickr.com and upload photos to the account. If you need a tutorial on how to do that, send me a comment.
After you create your Flickr account, this tutorial shows you how to add the Flickr Widget to your WordPress sidebar and insert the RSS address to display Flickr thumbnail images in your sidebar. The thumbnail images link to the full-size image in your Flickr account. Pretty cool!
This Beginner-level WordPress tutorial by Mark McLaren of McBuzz Communications follows-up to “WordPress Tutorial – How to Make a Static Page Your Home Page (Front Page)”. Part 1 of this tutorial shows how to tell WordPress to use a specific page as your home page. Part 2 shows how to hide the link to that page that would otherwise be part of the main navigation.
Note that a Part 3 is also on the way. Part 3 will show how to hide the link to the page by making the page a subpage AND by hiding links to subpages with the help of a custom sidebar using WordPress Widgets.
Some WordPress themes have a default “Home” button in the main navigation. Not all WordPress themes do, but some of the WordPress themes offered on wordpress.com do. If your theme has a default “Home” button, you may need this technique.
This tutorial also talks about navigation some themes have in the sidebar with links to subpages and “subsub” pages, meaning “child” pages that have other pages as “parents”. See the Business Blogging 101 (mcbuzzvideo on YouTube) tutorial about “child” or sub-pages to learn more about that.
This Advanced-level WordPress tutorial shows you how to edit the sidebar.php file that is part of a WordPress theme. This is an Advanced tutorial because you will use a text editor to work with the actual PHP file — and FTP software to download and upload the file to a web hosting server — rather than making edits using the WordPress Dashboard.
This tutorial assumes you know how to use a text editor on a Macintosh or on a Windows PC, and it assumes you have and know how to use FTP software to transfer files from a web server to your computer and back up to the server when finished editing. The standard text editing software on a Mac is TextEdit. McBuzz also recommends text editing software called BBEdit, because it highlights the different parts of a PHP or HTML file in different colors, making it much easier to read and edit the file. On a PC, standard text editing software is Notepad and WordPad, which come installed with Windows.