The Benefits of Using WordPress Widgets in Places Besides the Sidebar

Today I installed a WordPress widget in the footer of my blog.  I also installed one in the post meta of my “single.php” file.  Why do this?  Why wouldn’t I want to do this?  Hard-coding anything is sooo last year.  Seriously.

One of the great things that WordPress does is allow average Joe User to update his website.  Why wouldn’t I want him to be able to update the footer or post meta easily?

I try to offshore as much text-editing and image-insertion work as possible to my clients, who LOVE the fact that they can update their websites.  It is, simply, good customer service to do so.  Widgets give me the power and flexibility to let my clients edit almost everything.  How cool is that?!

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2 Comments

  1. Jonathan Soroko on August 18, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I agree with you entirely – however, I would add one point. Somewhere – best in the dashboard, but maybe in a ‘readme’ or an attached graphic file, needs to be a MAP of (1) where the widgetized areas are; (2) how big they are (what happens when they overflow)?

    While we’re on the subject – why don’t we let users decide whether there should be borders between widgets?

    My experience trying to adapt one of Ian Stewart’s themes – and I think he’s brilliant, and his work is brilliant – was frustrating. I had to put widgets in various places to see where they showed up on the blog.

    My two cents’ worth; heavily discounted.

    Jon



    • Toby on August 19, 2009 at 10:00 am

      Jon,
      I LOVE your idea of having a map of some sort to help organize widgets. It would make these things infinitely more usable and minimize confusion.

      The border idea is also great. It is currently possible to do that, but it would require a pretty sophisticated plugin to give users the ability to easily alter the CSS images and colors contained in the sidebar. I have seen similar plugins for header images and theme colors, but I haven’t seen it implemented for widgets. Good food for thought; maybe a great idea for someone looking to build a plugin.

      I have been doing a lot of thinking recently on how to make WordPress more usable, and your ideas move that thinking forward significantly. I plan on updating my Simple Pull Quotes widget in the near future to make it more usable by adding a box to the post admin screen rather than using the custom fields area, which I find to be a bit confusing.

      Toby



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