20 of the Best WordPress Widget Plugins

Written by Hirsch Fishman

Back in July I wrote about how WordPress widgets can be good for both designers and clients, and how since I’ve discovered the benefits of using widgets I haven’t looked back.

I’ll be the first to admit that this information is all well and good, but it doesn’t necessarily offer any practical advice about how to use widgets – it only covers the why.

I think what would really be useful to readers out there is a list of what widgets they might consider using. I’ve been maintaining my own list of widget plugins that I now regularly install when working on a client’s project, so I’d like to share some of those recommendations. All of the plugins listed below are ones I find useful because they’re adaptable in so many different ways.

So without further ado, here’s my list of the best WordPress widget plugins that you should use on your WordPress website.

Page Content

  • Page in Widget – The Page in Widget widget lets you display a page content inside a widget. This way you have more control how the content is displayed, and it’s much easier than hacking your own HTML.
  • Flexi Pages Widget – A highly configurable WordPress sidebar widget to list pages and sub-pages. User friendly widget control comes with various options.
  • Smart WYSIWYG Blocks Of Content – Adds a custom post type that can be easily inserted at multiple spots, including widgets. Easy way to create WYSIWYG widgets.
  • TinyMCE Widget – Adds a WYSIWYG widget based on the standard TinyMCE WordPress visual editor, which improves on the default Text widget that WordPress comes with, where you have to add the HTML yourself.

Other Types of Content

  • Events Manager Plugin – This full-featured event management plugin also comes with widgets to display either a list of events or an AJAX calendar.
  • Google Maps Widget – Displays a single-image super-fast loading Google map in a widget. A larger map with all the usual features is available on click in a lightbox.
  • Testimonials Widget – Testimonials Widget plugin allows you to display rotating content, portfolio, quotes, showcase, or other text with images on your WordPress blog.

Site Organization

  • jQuery UI Widgets – Easily add jQuery UI widgets to any post, page, or sidebar! All standard pre-defined jQuery themes are supported, or you can upload your own custom theme built with the jQuery ThemeRoller.
  • Section Widget – Display arbitrary information only on selected sections of your site. Also allows you to easily organize them into tabs in your sidebar.
  • Subpages in Context – Lists pages and sub-pages for a given page, or the top ancestor of the current page and all of the ancestor’s descendants.

Social Media

  • Facebook Like Box Widget – Enables Facebook Page owners to attract and gain Likes from their own website. The Like Box enables users to: see how many users already like this page, and which of their friends like it too, read recent posts from the page and Like the page with one click, without needing to visit the page.
  • Pinterest Pinboard Widget – A simple must-have widget for Pinterest. This lets you display thumbnails of your latest Pinterest pins on your website.
  • Twitter Widget Pro – A widget that properly handles twitter feeds, including parsing @username, #hashtags, and URLs into links.

Blog Organization

  • Advanced Recent Posts Widget – Advanced Recent Posts Widget is a light widget advanced version of the WordPress Recent Posts widget allowing increased customization to display recent posts from multiple categories or from custom post types.
  • Customized Recent Comments – Display recent comments on your blog with complete control over the layout and format of comments.
  • Norman Advanced Archive Widget – Norman Advanced Archive Widget is a free replacement for the standard WordPress archive widget. Norman Advanced Archive Widget has plenty of neat customization options available that the default archive widget is lacking, like the ability to group monthly archives by year and let them fold using JQuery.
  • Popular Widget – Display the most commented or most viewed posts in a tabbed widget, filter the post by date range or by category. It also includes a tags tab.

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Now that I’ve given you a handy list of widgets, let’s hear your thoughts. Do you have a favorite widget plugin that you think should be on this list? Share your thoughts with everyone by leaving a comment below!

About Hirsch Fishman

Hirsch Fishman is a professional web designer who has worked with synagogues and organizations in the Jewish community since 2006. Originally from Albany, NY, he has previously lived in New York City and Chicago, and currently resides in Raleigh, NC.

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