CMS Tool of the Week: WordPress Widgets Wherever You Want Them

I’d like to introduce you to a handy tool that will allow you to fine-tune the display of content in the widgetized areas of your WordPress theme. If you’ve ever been frustrated by the limitations of pages and posts with the same inflexible sidebar, this plugin is for you. It will help you to build a CMS that is able to accommodate the unique needs of your website, as well as conserve page real estate without having to sacrifice vital information. The Section Widget plugin was the Grand Prize winner of the WordPress Plugin Competition of 2009. This plugin has been created to display widgets on specific pages, posts, categories, etc. and display content generated by plain text html and shortcodes. It includes two different types of widgets – the regular section widget and the tabbed version, which helps you to save space by separate content in jQuery-powered tabs. If you need a more modular layout to your WordPress site, add this plugin for an instant boost in flexibility. Section Widget comes with a remarkable array of controls for displaying your widgets within your theme:

Mix and Match Built-In Conditional Controls

  • Everywhere on your site (new)
  • The front page
  • The posts page (new)
  • All posts
  • All author pages
  • All or selected pages and subpages
  • Pages or posts with comments enabled
  • Pages or posts belongs to selected categories
  • Pages or posts with selected tags
  • All (new) or selected category archive pages
  • All (new) or selected tags archive pages
  • All date-based archive pages
  • Search results page (new)
  • “404” not found page (new)

The tabbed section widget comes bundled with 25 switchable themes, powered by the jQuery UI project, including a live preview in the settings page. You can also create your own themes for the widget if you want to more perfectly match them to your site.

Install by downloading the Section Widget plugin and dropping it in your wp-content/plugins directory. The theme settings for the tabbed widget can be found under Appearance >> Section Widget. Otherwise, just drag and drop the section widget as you normally would any other widget and configure it according to your preferences directly within the widget settings.

If you widgetize an entire page, you can display an entire page of tabbed widgets, including more information without requiring the user to scroll through it all. This plugin is compatible with BuddyPress as well, so you can use it to promote different aspects of your community on categories and tagged posts that you specify.

Section widgets offers a level of fine-grained control to widgets that will keep your theme from looking like a canned template. It helps you to save hours of coding for custom templates. If you need help making more widgetized areas than your theme offers, check out our tutorial on How to Widgetize a Page, Post, Header, or Any Other Template in WordPress.

Support for this plugin can be found at the WordPress forums where you can post issues and get feedback.