WordPress widget plugins are heavily used in WordPress websites and like shortcode plugins they are used to add features and content in a flexible way without any need for coding. Most blog themes for WordPress have fixed widget locations and features for adding lists of posts and categories in the sidebar. While this is OK in most cases more power is sometimes required to build a unique and eye catching website.
Just ask yourself, have you ever wanted to show different widgets on specific pages or posts or even inside your content? Alternatively, have you considered to add tabs to you theme but not sure how to do it? If not the need will come once you realize how powerful the right WordPress widgets can be!
The solution for injecting more flexibility and power into your WordPress website is to use plugins that are specifically designed to help you add and move around widget areas and control what widgets to display and when. Then you need to find some cool widget plugins to add the feature and content you need.
I have collected a bunch of the best WordPress widget plugins I know. I am fully aware that there is a lot more out there and I may have missed a few good ones. Please let me know if I did and I will consider adding them.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links (at no extra cost to you). I recommend that you do your own independent research before purchasing any product or service. This article is not a guideline, a recommendation or endorsement of specific products.
WordPress Widget and Sidebar Managers
This WordPress widget plugin not only allow you to control what widget will be shown on what pages, posts, categories it also have a shortcode system that allows you to build up unique page layouts using widgets. Check out the videos and see for yourself how cool this plugins is.
Widget Ninja is used to control widget visibility based on conditional tags. It eliminates the need for multiple sidebars because you can configure each widget to ie. be visible only on the front page or only in certain categories. With 23 conditional tags (8 can take additional parameters such as post or category ID’s) and 3 logical statements (or, and, not) you can configure a widget to (not) show upon literally any page! It doesn’t matter if it’s a single page, archive, search page or 404 – there’s a conditional tag for everything!
The plugin lets you create an unlimited number of Sidebars (Custom Widget Areas), easily lets you configure them by adding widgets, and then place them directly inside the content of Pages and Posts by simply using Shortcodes. We have also added support for Custom Post Types and Custom Taxonomies. It recognizes your themes default sidebars and allows you to replace them, as well as allowing you to set individual sidebars for each Page, Post and Category.
Improved Text Widgets for WordPress
This plugin provides flexible widget visibility conditions for every widget on your site, including core and third party widgets provided by other plugins.
Black Studio TinyMCE Widget - MORE INFO
This plugin adds a WYSIWYG text widget based on the standard TinyMCE WordPress visual editor. This is intended to overcome the limitations of the default WordPress text widget, so that you can visually add rich text contents to your sidebars, with no knowledge of HTML required.
Custom Post Widget - MORE INFO
The Custom Post Widget allows you to display the contents of a specific custom post in a widget. This allows you to use the WordPress WYSIWYG editor for preparing text for a widget area. It is pretty cool as the out of the box text widget is not very easy to use if you want to add images, links etc.
Using notes is quite popular in modern web design to catch the visitors attention. This WordPress widget plugin makes it easier than ever to add them.
Testimonials Widget - MORE INFO
Testimonial widget plugin allows you display testimonials in a widget on your WordPress blog. More than one widget can be displayed, each pulling from testimonial sets by using tags. Each displayed widget has its own identifier allowing for custom CSS styling.
This is an advance widget that gives you total control over the output of your menus. Support multiwidget, resizeable page featured image, easy to customize and full features. Displays a list of menu as links. This widget is based on the WordPress function: wp_nav_menu()
Widgets for Post, Category and Tag listings
Advanced Categories Widget is an advance widget that gives you total control over the output of your categories. Support multiwidget, category image, easy to customize and full features. Displays a list of Categories as links. When a Category link is clicked, all the posts in that Category will display on a Category Page using the appropriate Category Template dictated by the Template Hierarchy rules.
“Hello tabs” is a wordpress plugin, which can be used for creating tabs element from any widgets you have! Plugin comes with 12 predefined styles and 24 animation effects! You can even create few tabs elements on a page!
Better Recent Posts Widget Pro provides a greatly enhanced recent posts widget. The default recent posts widget that comes with WordPress offers almost zero control over which posts are displayed, or how they are displayed.
WP Category Post List Widget - MORE INFO / DOCUMENTATION
This is one of my personal favorites and I use it on several sites to show various lists of posts. It has build in support for CSS templates and it makes it really powerful on websites where you use it in different spots and use cases.
WordPress Categories and tags widget are very basic. People may not even notice those two widgets because of its familiar and dull nature. Tag Master WordPress plugin allows you to give a new look and feel for categories and tag widget.
An advance widget that gives you great control over the output of your links.
This plugin creates a new WordPress widget to display a tabbed panel with different content types on your site. Tabs can rotate one after the other thus allowing for more exposure of the content: your posts are no longer hidden.
WordPress Widget bundle is a combination of the 9 most used widgets/shortcodes for WordPress. Every widget is very easy to style because you can make custom views/templates for every widget. This bundle is essential for every WordPress website. Default WordPress has some of this widgets onboard, but we made a primium versions of these widgets with more options and ajax support were needed. All the widgets can also be placed with shortcodes. this way you can really use these widgets were you want, even if your theme isn’t widget ready.
Advanced Post List - MORE INFO
Highly customizable plugin for designing a large variety of post lists to be shown using shortcodes e.g. in a widget. It will allow you to create lists with your own design for displaying Recent Posts, Popular Posts, Related Posts, Future Posts, etc. Including Custom Post Type & Taxonomy support.
This plugin allows you to add a scroller effect to content from your site, twitter / RSS feeds, custom text. See the demo!
An advanced widget that gives you total control over the output of your tags. The Tags widget replaces the default WordPress Tag Cloud widget. This version gives total control over the output to the user by allowing the input of all the arguments typically seen in the wp_tag_cloud() function
WP – RecentComments Options MORE INFO
Show the recent comments in your WordPress sidebar. You can limit the number of comments, set the maximum length of excerpts, filter out pingbacks/trackbacks. You can also enable or disable the avatars, resize and reposition them. Besides above, it supports WordPress Widget
WordPress Developer Widgets
Shortcode Exec PHP Administration - MORE INFO
This plugin lets you execute arbitrary, reusable PHP code in posts, pages, comments, widgets and RSS feeds using shortcodes. This is pretty cool and a good way to add custom scripts to your site, compared to editing the theme files.
User Profile and Author Information Widget
Sidebar Login/Register plugin for WordPress does exactly what it says on the tin; Logins and Registrations with a touch of AJAX magic. Simple!
It also has a nice ‘logged in’ view, and a lost password form for those forgetful folk.
Its simple to get started – in most cases just activate the plugin, add the widget to your sidebar and go!
Author Avatar List - MORE INFO
With this plugin it is now easy to display lists of user avatars on your blog. It also allows to insert single avatars for blog users or any email address into a post or page.
This widget show your site authors with details description and avatar. Widget can be used multiple of times even in one sidebar area.