Widgets are one of WordPress’ most adaptable features. They make it possible to add a ton of different functionality to your WordPress sidebar, as well as other areas that accept widgets. Best of all, you can find plenty of free WordPress widgets – so you won’t even need to open your wallet to get their benefits.
The only problem, though, is that WordPress doesn’t come with very many widgets in its default state. But…
As is often the case, we can solve this problem using plugins. There are a wide variety of widget plugins online, some of which enable you to implement impressive features.
In this article, we’re going to talk about what widgets are, and explain why you might need more of them. Then we’ll introduce you to ten free WordPress widgets to level up your site. Let’s get the ball rolling!
What WordPress widgets are (and why you might need more of them)
WordPress widgets are small movable elements that can be placed on any page of your site. They do a variety of things, such as displaying your recent posts, adding a search bar, and lots, lots more.
What’s nice about widgets is that they enable you to add advanced features to your pages without having to customize them individually. Plus, you can micromanage your widgets’ locations, and add them to your sidebar or footer in any order you want.
However, as we mentioned earlier, WordPress doesn’t ship with many options. The good news is that you can get access to tons of free WordPress widgets using plugins.
10 free WordPress widgets to help level up your site
For this list, we decided to focus on widgets that add new, useful features to your site. We’ll give you a brief overview for each one, and help you determine which might be a good fit for your site.
For all of these widgets, you can install them like you would any other WordPress plugin.
1. Contact Widgets
There are plenty of plugin solutions to set up custom contact forms, but they often pack more features than you need. If all you want is to set up a simple contact section, the Contact Widgets plugin is a great option. This tool enables you to create stylish widgets that include contact information, maps, and more.
2. Testimonials Widget
Testimonials are an effective way to increase trust among your customers, and the Testimonials Widget plugin provides you with an easy way to display your reviews using sliders, lists, and even videos. Plus, you can insert the widgets you create with it anywhere you want, using shortcodes.
3. Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails
WordPress already packs a Recent posts widget of its own, but all it does is show a list of post titles. That’s a decent start, but displaying featured images as well is a better way to catch your visitors’ attention. Fortunately, the Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails plugin enables you to do this with ease.
4. Google Maps Widget
If you have a website set up for your business, including a map is a simple way to help users locate it more quickly. Using a dedicated widget is often the most efficient way to add a Google Map to one of your WordPress posts or pages. The imaginatively named Google Maps Widget provides you with an easy way to do this. You can include a thumbnail of your map, and even add pins and captions to it.
Detailed testimonials can be highly useful, but sometimes people just want to get a quick appraisal of the quality of your services or content. A star-rating system is an elegant way to let your users provide you with feedback in a matter of seconds. Using the Rating-Widget plugin, you can add star rating systems to your posts, pages, WooCommerce products, and even individual authors.
6. The Events Calendar
WordPress ships with a Calendar widget, but it only keeps track of your latest posts. If you want to alert your users about upcoming events and important dates, you’ll need to use a plugin such as The Events Calendar. Any event you create with this plugin can include info about venues, organizers, location maps, and more. Plus, you can import events from platforms such as Google Calendar and Facebook to make your life easier.
7. Social Media Widget
Social Media Widget lets you easily add eye-catching icons to showcase all of your social profiles. It supports all of the major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc. But it also includes tons of smaller networks like Vimeo, DeviantArt, Bandcamp, and more.
If you just want a simple way to showcase your social media profiles, this widget is a good option.
8. Feature a Page Widget
Sometimes you might not want to include a full-fledged Recent posts section in your sidebar, and instead feature a single page. The Feature a Page Widget plugin enables you to do just that. With this tool, you’ll be able to choose a particular page or post to feature, pick a custom layout, and even customize its appearance.
9. Easy Profile Widget
Providing your readers with a quick way to find out more about you is a great way to increase trust. Plus, you can also use a biography as an opportunity to promote your social media profiles. If that sounds like a win-win to you, then the Easy Profile Widget plugin may be right up your alley. It’s a simple tool that enables you to display a bio and social media links on your site.
10. WordPress Popular Posts
Last but not least, popular posts lists are one of the most effective ways to point visitors towards content they might be interested in. Using a widget to add this feature makes a lot of sense because you can locate that list conveniently within a sidebar. As it so happens, the WordPress Popular Posts plugin enables you to add this type of widget and refine the criteria for which posts should be featured.
Free WordPress widgets are one of the easiest ways to add new features to your site, such as custom contact forms, upcoming events, and maps to your location (among many other options).
Finding the right widgets can help your site look and work better by adding extra functionality. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the free WordPress widgets we’ve introduced you to in this list until you find the combination that works best for you.
Do you have any questions about the free WordPress widgets we’ve discussed in this article? Ask away in the comments section below!