Some of the Best Widget Plugins You Should Consider for Your Blog's Sidebar - ManageWP

Some of the Best Widget Plugins You Should Consider for Your Blog’s Sidebar

Essential Widgets to Include In Your Blog Sidebar

What do you have in your blog sidebar? If you have a blog theme that supports widgets, the chances are you have at least one or two widgets in your sidebar.

Are you using too many widgets? An overcrowded sidebar is a commonly ignored one and is sure to annoy most of your visitors. However, a sidebar with not enough can be just as bad. It’s great to have a clean sidebar, but if you’re missing the essentials then you’re basically telling your visitors to stay away.

Essential widgets help to keep visitors on your blog longer and can turn them into repeat visitors and ultimately fans, followers and subscribers. So if you’re not using  the essentials or just want to know which widgets are the most useful for your blog’s sidebar, this list will help.

Search Box

Many WordPress themes now come with an integrated search box, usually at the top of the theme. If you’re using a theme that does not have an integrated search box, it’s important to use a widget to add one.

WordPress comes with a default search widget, but there aren’t any options for it besides the ability to add a title. Some blog owners choose to use a custom Google search box on their blog. This is a great option if you’re looking to monetize your search.

However, if you want to enhance the default WordPress search widget, Relevanssi is a great option. It fixes your search box, whether it’s integrated or the default search widget, and makes it better by showing the best results first. Relevanssi supports searching with quotes, which means your users can look for exact keywords and phrases.

Relevanssi for WordPress Highlights Search Queries

One of the best features of Relevanssi is that it highlights the search query in the results. This makes it easier for your visitors to find what they’re looking for and it also makes for happier visitors that are sure to return to your blog.

But that’s not all! Relevanssi does so much more and you can read about it in our in-depth review, here on ManageWP.

WP MashSocial Widget

As already mentioned in our 3 Great WordPress Social Media Plugins Worth Checking Out, WP MashSocial Widget is a social media widget inspired by Mashable. It’s really a great tool that will allow your visitors to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest; they’ll also be able to subscribe to your RSS feed.

WP MashSocial Widget for WordPress

WP MashSocial Widget is easy on the eyes and easy to set up. It’s also responsive, has asynchronous loading (so it doesn’t slow down your page load times) and just looks cool in your sidebar. Your visitors won’t be able to resist giving you a +1 on Google+ or liking you on Facebook!

WordPress Multicolor Subscribe Widget

If you are not using WP MashSocial Widget, which has a subscribe box included, this is a great plugin for increasing your subscribers.

WordPress Multicolor Subscribe Widget for WordPress

The Multicolor Subscribe Widget is pretty straightforward; you simply add the widget to your sidebar and choose the colors you want via a color picker.

Flexible Posts Widget

This plugin was featured in our Top 10 WordPress Plugins of the Month for June, but it’s such a useful widget that I want to mention it again. There are many widgets that can display recent posts or top posts in your blog sidebar, but not many of them have thumbnail support like the Flexible Posts Widget.

It’s nice to have recent posts displayed with thumbnails because images stand out and will catch the attention of your visitors. The Flexible Posts Widget is customizable (thumbnail size, sort order, post type) and supports custom taxonomies. Thumbnails are displayed beautifully above each post title, as opposed to the left or right side.

Flexible Posts Widget for WordPress

Another great option that was featured in our Top 10 WordPress Plugins of the Month for February is Special Recent Posts. It displays thumbnails on the left side of the title, date and excerpt and has numerous customization options.


WordPress has a default recent comments widget, but personally I’m not a fan of it because it’s plain and cannot be customized. If you’re not either, you may like this plugin’s simple yet stylish way of displaying recent comments instead.

WP-RecentComments is not too fancy, but it does have some nice customization options. For instance, you can choose to show avatars on the left or right side of the comment excerpt; the size of the avatar image can be changed in pixels. Also, you can hide the admin’s comments and choose to display pingbacks and trackbacks on the widget.

WP-RecentComments Widget

If you’d prefer not to show post titles, you can disable it in the options. I also like that you can choose to expand comment excerpts on mouse over. That way, the full comment can be viewed without going to the actual post.

Ultimate Tag Cloud Widget

Not everyone likes having a tag cloud on their blog, but it can be a very useful widget to have. I’m pretty sure we all know what tags are and how tag clouds work.

Ultimate Tag Cloud Widget for WordPress

This widget stands out from the rest because there are many options and features like:

As you can see the Ultimate Tag Cloud Widget makes your tag cloud stand out from all the rest; your tag cloud doesn’t have to be boring or overwhelming.

What’s in Your Blog Sidebar?

So now that you know some of the useful widgets that could be included in your blog sidebar, it’s your turn. What WordPress widgets do you think are important and do you have any specific plugin recommendations?

Do you use any of the above mentioned widgets, or maybe you use something similar to those mentioned above? Feel free to share what it’s your blog sidebar in the comments.

Creative Commons image courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik

Charnita Fance

Charnita is a part-time freelance writer and blogger, and the owner of Social Web Tools. As an early adopter, she enjoys trying out new social media and Internet tools along with WordPress plugins and Web apps. You can find her at various social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+


  1. I.M. Hound

    Used the MashSocial on my site…doesnt look good for some reason. Appears to be broken!

  2. Sharoz

    Thanxxx a lot……..very helpful for me i tried on

  3. Harshit Jain

    Wow it is great post about widgets plugin, from the above list i choose ‘WordPress Multicolor Subscribe Widget’ for my Subscription box.
    Thank you!!

  4. Sai sandeep

    Thanks For let me knowing about Mashsocial widget:)

  5. Ledcayman


  6. SHA

    great tip for new bloggers like me….. Keep continuing sharing ideas…… PROFESSIONAL BLOGGING TIPS

  7. marrie

    I use a plugin called dynamic widgets. This enables me to have widgets on separate pages let’s say archives only on the blog page, a subscribe on the front page, etc etc. You can sort of see how it works at as the weather widget is only on the front page and not every ware else. Good luck and good job on the post.

    1. Charnita Fance

      That’s definitely a useful plugin, especially since it also helps to change up the look of your sidebar, which is always nice.

      Thanks for sharing!


      1. marrie

        Well since I broke my side bar and can’t get it back I put most of my widgets in the footer and since I have like 1 or 2 on each page I figure it won’t clutter or get in the way.

  8. Sk

    You could always use tabbed widgets to minimize the space usage on the sidebar. You know, make those popular posts, recent comments and tag cloud appear on the same widget with the use of different tabs. I think it would look better that way.

    1. Tom Ewer

      You can do that, but I still don’t like recent comments and tag clouds 😉

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