New Features in WordPress 2.8

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!

Text Widgets, Digg 3-column vs. Blix 2-column Themes

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.

WordPress Tutorial – How to Make a “Child” Page (Subpage) and How to Hide a Link in the Pages Sidebar Widget

If you have a “self-hosted” or third-party-hosted site instead of one hosted on, you may be able to use the Exclude Pages Plugin for WordPress to hide Child Page links that show in popup submenus under your main navigation links and any links that appear in your sidebar Pages navigation.

You can’t install WordPress plugins on sites hosted by That’s one of the main drawbacks to hosting with For those sites, this tutorial is still useful.

This beginner-level WordPress tutorial shows 1. How to make a “child” page or subpage of another page (a “parent” page) using the WordPress 2.7 editing interface. And 2. How to hide a link in the Pages sidebar widget, in other words, how to keep a link to a page from showing in the Pages sidebar widget by putting the page (post) ID number into the “Exclude” box in the Pages sidebar widget dialog box.

If you like this tutorial, you may also like: WordPress Tutorial – How to Make a Static Page Your Home Page & Hide a Double Home Page Link

Making “child” pages (subpages) is useful because you may not want all your pages to show in the main page navigation of your WordPress theme. In most themes, only “main” pages (pages that don’t have a “parent”) show up in the main page navigation. In some newer WordPress themes, child pages show up in a popup menu that appears when you roll over the main page link. And in some themes, sub-subpages show up in popup menus as well. These are sometimes called “cascading” navigation menus: sub-subpages show up in a popup menu when you roll over a subpage link.

The second part of this tutorial shows how to hide (or “exclude”) a link to a page that would otherwise appear in the links of the Pages sidebar widget. The tricky part of excluding a link is finding the page / post ID number. I show you how to do this.

Excluding a link is useful for a number of reasons. One is that when you make a static page your Home page in WordPress (by telling WordPress to diplay a Page as your Home page instead of displaying your blog posts), some themes will show the link to this static page as a second home page link in your main navigation. By making the Home page a subpage and excluding that link from the Pages sidebar navigation, you can eliminate the double Home page link.

In WordPress 2.7, you select a static page to use as your Home page using the Settings > Reading panel in the Dashboard. When you do this, be sure to create a new page to use as your Blog page. If you do not designate a page to use as your Blog page, your blog posts will no longer be visible.

How to Make a “Child” Page (Subpage) & Hide a Pages Sidebar Widget Link

WordPress Tutorial –  How to Use a Text Widget to Customize a WordPress Sidebar

Create a custom sidebar with text, an image and a badge

WordPress Text Widget: Create a custom sidebar box like this with text, an image and a badge.

How to Use the WordPress Gravatar Widget to Create an About Me Box in Your Sidebar

How to Add a Flickr Photo Widget / Badge to WordPress Sidebar

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=”; /><br />

I’m an <a href=””>online marketing consultant</a>, specializing in Web 2.0 social media marketing, search engine optimization, pay per click advertising and WordPress websites for business.

<a href=””><img src=”; border=”0″ alt=”View Mark McLaren’s profile on LinkedIn” width=”120″ height=”33″ /></a>

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)

WordPress Tutorial – How to Add Flickr Photo Widget to WordPress Theme Sidebar

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 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 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 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!

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