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Featured Plugin: Widgets on Pages

If you take a look at the Personal Publishing page here on the Gazette, you’ll see a menu of resources prominently featured on the page. This menu was created using WordPress’s custom menu feature and placed on the page thanks to the Widgets on Pages plugin. This little jewel opens up a world of opportunity on your blog. In addition to menus, you could use it to give a tag cloud full page prominence rather than trying to stick it in a skinny sidebar. Or you could use it with the RSS widget to display a news feed on a page.

Putting Widgets on Pages to work is quite simple. Once the plugin has been installed and activated, you’ll find a settings page listed in WordPress’s Settings area. Here’s where you define your widget areas.

WoP sidebar 1 is the default widget area. I have added an additional area by entering a “1″ as the number of additional sidebars I want to use on my blog, then clicked Save Changes. Now sidebar 2 appears in the lower area. Each sidebar should have its own name. You can add more sidebars at any time by upping the number then adding a new name.

Now, go to your Widgets area in the Appearance section and you’ll see additional widget areas with the names you gave them on the screen. You can drag and setup widgets in these areas just like you do in the standard areas. Notice that there’s a note providing you the shortcode needed to display this widget on your page.

Last step – go to the page where you want to place your widget and enter the shortcode. Notice in this example that there is “normal” text both above and below the shortcode. Everything will adjust to the content from the widget. Your visitors will see all the content neatly arranged on the page. And, if I update my custom menu at any time, the changes will be immediately updated on this page too.

The things you can do with this sweet little plugin are only limited by your imagination. Take it for a test ride and see for yourself.

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