WordPress is one of the most popular out-of-the-box content management systems (CMS) available. Due to its popularity, the expansions for the basic software are almost limitless. WordPress comes with some built-in widgets adding a ton of functionality to your widget-ready areas. Many themes and plugins add their widgets in WordPress and create even more flexibility with the platform.
WordPress first came on the scene in 2003. The open-source platform continues to grow year after year. Currently, it runs 36.7% of all websites, with a 63% share of CMS-based sites. Because it’s a community contribution type model, there are plenty of free plugins and widgets for the choosing. Of course, there are also premium versions of most add-ons, but that doesn’t mean the free versions aren’t worthwhile.
If you’re looking for widgets in WordPress, your biggest problem will be narrowing the choices to just the ones you need. We’ve sifted through the most popular free widgets and come up with 12 selections to meet your needs.
How Do I Add a Widget to WordPress?
Widgets are movable elements usually placed in a sidebar or potentially a footer of your site. Your theme may dictate the areas where widgets appear. They help you include more advanced elements without the time and trouble of coding each thing individually.
Widgets are either tied into a plugin or are pre-installed with your software. For example, you can use the HTML widget to write custom code or plugin code from other sites.
The text widget is perfect for adding some shortcode from one of your plugins. Drag and drop it to the location you want the widget to appear and paste the shortcode into the box. To gain access to some specific free widgets, you’ll need to install them through your plugin panel.
1. Easy Testimonials
Adding testimonials to your website adds trust factors to your site. People are much more likely to believe the review of a peer than the company. Easy Testimonials is an excellent plugin that comes with 25 free themes. After installing, you can combine the shortcode with the text box widget and place testimonials in your sidebar. Like most plugins, there are premium options, but the free version will give you a lot of flexibility. The add-on works well with Gutenberg Editor.
2. More Widgets
This free plugin allows you to add 11 new widgets at one time. One of the advantages of using the widgets within this plugin is keeping them when you switch themes. Unfortunately, if you use widgets in WordPress tied to a theme and later change it, you lose some widget areas. The widgets coming with More Widgets include:
- Recent Posts
- Business Info
- Comments with Avatars
- Facebook Page
- Google Map
- Posts Slider
- Social Profiles
3. Google Reviews Widget
Are you looking for an easy way to share reviews? If so, the Google Reviews Widget is one of the best widgets in WordPress that’s free. They offer a business version with advanced features, but the free version gives you a lot of functionality.
The plugin adds a widget area for your sidebar so that you can list business reviews from Google. It also saves the reviews to your WordPress database, so your site remains independent of Google or any other entity.
4. Widget for Social Page Feeds
With more than 100,000 downloads, this is one of the most popular widgets in WordPress on our list. Adding social media feeds to your sidebar sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t with coding. However, Widget for Social Page Feeds makes the process as easy as possible.
You can configure, show and hide posts, choose what photos get shared and reduce the size of the header. Once you’ve created the look you want in the plugin, use a shortcode to insert the design into your sidebar.
Have you ever wanted an easier way to insert a table and match your site’s look? TablePress gives you ultimate control over your tables. You can embed them in your sidebar or shortcode them to the body of a page. The result breaks complex information into an easy-to-read format.
6. Max Mega Menu
Have you ever wished you could add a widget in WordPress to your menu? Look no further than Max Mega Menu to expand your list and input widget areas into the advanced settings. The plugin integrates expandable menus with widgets, giving you the best of both worlds.
7. Google Maps Widget
Brick-and-mortar stores benefit greatly by adding a maps widget to their websites. It allows people to find you more easily or see what other local attractions are nearby. With the Google Maps Widget, you can embed a map in a few short minutes. There are more than 90,000 active installations of the widget. You can also use a shortcode to display the map on a page or post.
8. Ad Inserter
One use of widgets in WordPress is inserting ads into your sidebars. However, complicated coding can make them hard to design and impossible to get a consistent look. Enter the Ad Inserter plugin. Manage ads by placing them anywhere you want, such as in a sidebar or a specific location in a post. AdSense integrates easily with this option. Simply plug into your sidebar by dragging the widget box where you want the ad to appear.
9. Enhanced Text Widget
Do you want to spend hours coding widgets in WordPress to figure out how to get the look you want? Enhanced Text Widget gives you options such as a widget CSS class and the ability not to display a title.
10. Bazz CallBack widget
One of the advantages of widgets in WordPress is the ability to add functions you otherwise wouldn’t have. The Bazz CallBack Widget allows you to stay connected with people without wasting their time, enhancing the customer experience. The client leaves their phone number, and you call them back at a time of their choosing. The software is open-source and free to use.
11. Simple Image Widget
Even though WordPress comes pre-installed with an image widget, it doesn’t always work the way you’d like. Customization isn’t possible, and if the photo doesn’t meet the exact parameters set, it may not appear at all. Simple Image Widget gives you the flexibility to create responsive images in your sidebars. People downloaded the plugin more than 50,000 times. It’s much easier to use than the native image widget built into more recent versions of WP.
12. WordPress Countdown Widget
WordPress Countdown Widget is the perfect solution when starting a ticking clock to some upcoming event or grand opening. Plug into your sidebar easily and get people excited about what’s to come. Just drag and drop into your sidebar without needing to know complicated coding. The plugin also comes with a shortcode, so you can add it to a header or the body of any page.
More Free Widgets in WordPress
These are the 12 free widgets in WordPress we found most useful for the majority of website owners. However, there are hundreds of other options to take your sidebar from drab to fab. Think about the needs of your users and how you can best meet them. It should become clear which plugins work best for your widget needs.
About The Author
The Designerly staff is committed to providing well-researched and ongoing learning resources. We're dedicated to educating you on key design concepts and showcasing strategic marketing plans to help grow your business.