Add WordPress Widgets to Pages or Posts + Dynamic About Pages


Have you ever been writing a post or a page and caught yourself thinking, “Man, I wish I could just pop a widget into this spot right here.”

OK, maybe you haven’t. But consider the possibilities – all the wild and wonderful things you can get widgets to do, yet getting them to do those things inside of individual posts or pages.

Dynamic Content

While you can put almost anything in a widget, of course, perhaps one of the biggest advantages to having a widget in a post or a page is that it can contain dynamic content – in other words, content that updates automatically.

With this in mind, one of the first things that came to my mind was to have a dynamically updating About page. And so we’ll show an example of how you might do that. But first we’ll introduce the plugin that makes widgets on a post or page possible.

Widgets on Pages Plugin (Download Here)

The Widgets on Pages plugin is simple and straight-forward to set up.

On the settings page, you can add as many widgets as you like. In this example, I’ve added six more to the original default widget for a total of seven widgets. (You don’t need to name them.)

Once you add your widgets, you will see widget spaces automatically added on your widgets set up page. (Appearance > Widgets)

 

From there you just drop whichever widgets you want into the widget spaces, and then call the widget in your posts or pages with a shortcode, such as [widgets_on_pages id=1] for the first widget area, [widgets_on_pages id=2] for the second widget area, etc.

Making a Dynamic About Page

To give an example of how you might put this to work, I’ll quickly run through a dynamic About page I set up.

Most About pages are fairly static, of course. You write it once and then pretty much forget about it unless you have a major update for it. But if you’d really like people to know about you, then it would help if your About page showed what you’ve been up to recently via social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, etc.

There are tons of widgetized plugins for all of those sites, of course, and so if you could just drop a widget for each into your About page, then it would be automatically updated constantly.

 

Styling the Page

The Widgets on a Page plugin allows you to do some very creative stuff; however, it doesn’t come with many styling options. In fact, it only comes with the ability to turn styling off so that that your in-page widgets don’t take the style of a widget in your actual sidebar if you don’t want them to.

And so to make a somewhat more visually appealing About page, I decided to use another plugin that I wrote about before that would help me easily control the elements on the page. You can find instructions for using that plugin here – WP Easy Columns plugin post.

Essentially what the Easy Columns plugin allows you to do is divide your post or page into columns. And then inside of those columns, all I did was add my shortcodes from the Widgets on a Page plugin.

Plugins for My Widget Areas

I used four plugins for this page – a social media plugin, a YouTube plugin, a Twitter plugin, and a Flickr plugin. (As I didn’t test these plugins thoroughly, I won’t make specific recommendation; however, you should have no problems finding plugins to work for you.)

I put a short biography section and a picture at the top. Underneath that, I then pulled in the social media connection widget.

Under the social media icons, I then simply divided the page into three columns and put a shortcode into each column for my three remaining plugins/widgets: the YouTube plugin, the Twitter plugin, and the Flickr plugin.

Here’s the result – a dynamic About page:

Literally Almost No Limits

The About page above is just one small example of what you can do.

When you have any WordPress widget you like at your fingertips, and you’re able to insert it into any post or page, the old cliché of “the sky’s the limit” becomes about as true as it can get with WordPress.

Again, you can download the plugin here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/widgets-on-pages/

 

Photo: Influence from BigStock