Normally, WordPress confines the use of widgets to the sidebars or footer area of your design template. The Widgets on Pages plugin lets you put any of your WordPress widgets into a page or post. How can you put this to work on your site? Take a look at the Personal Publishing page here on the Gazette. I have used a custom menu to point readers to specific content within the Gazette site. A custom menu can only be displayed as a widget so Widgets on Pages makes it possible to include that menu on this page. This plugin is also handy if you want to put a tag cloud or a collection of links from your blogroll or an number of other widgets into your page or post.
Once the plugin has been installed and activated, you’ll see a Widgets on Pages item in the Settings menu. Here’s where you will define your widget areas.
There will be one sidebar item already set up for you. If you want more, you’ll first need to update the Number of additional sidebars item at the top of the screen and save your changes. Those additional sidebars will appear under the Optional Sidebar Names area. Now you have to give each sidebar a unique name, then save those changes.
Next stop is the Widgets screen in the Appearance section. You’ll notice your custom widget areas have been added below the standard widget areas included in your theme. You can drag one or more widgets into these areas just like you do with any other widget area. In this example, you see I’ve dragged the standard WordPress Custom Menu widget into the PubMenu widget area and pointed it to the Personal Publishing menu. Notice the shortcode displayed at the top of this widget area. Each of the widget areas I created with this plugin has its own shortcode. You’ll need to use that shortcode to insert this widget on your page.
In this example, you’re looking at my Personal Publishing page in the WordPress editor. At the point where I want the custom menu to appear, I’ve inserted the shortcode. That’s it!
Here’s what the menu looks like on the published page.
Whenever I update this custom menu, those changes will also appear here on this page. On a family history blog, this combination of custom menus and Widgets on Pages can organize your archives into family groups or story collections making it easy for your readers to find and enjoy your growing collection.
Oh, and if you’d like to learn more about custom menus, stay tuned . . . that’s next week’s WordPress topic.