3 Flexible WordPress Recent Post Plugins

Out of the box, WordPress comes equipped with a recent posts widget for displaying your latest content in the sidebar and other widgetized areas of your website. However, the settings and controls on the default recent posts widget are pretty minimal. With only the ability to give the widget a title, set the number of posts to display, and the option of displaying the post date, there is isn’t much flexibility on offer.

However, installing your own recent posts plugin can give you a lot more control over how your recent posts are featured in the sidebar and other widgetized areas of your WordPress theme.

By upgrading the core recent posts widget you can display featured images, include custom post types, filter posts by category, or list other posts by the same author. If you are using Multisite, you can even display recent posts from other sites in your network.

If any of that sounds appealing, then one of the following WordPress recent posts plugins should allow you to display your latest content in a range of different ways, helping you drive more visitors to the other posts on your website.

  • Recent Posts Widget Extended

    This popular free plugin with over 170,000 downloads and a 4.8 out of 5 star adds another recent posts widget to your site with a more powerful set of controls for displaying content in your sidebar and other widget areas. The list of recent posts can also be displayed in your posts and pages using the included shortcode.

    The new controls that are added to the recent posts widget with this plugin allow you to choose which taxonomies to source the posts from; whether to show post thumbnails, and if so which size; which post types to include; whether to show a post excerpt or not, and if so of what length; and also whether to display a date or the relative age of the post.

    Other features of the Recent Posts Widget Extended plugin that are not often seen elsewhere include the ability to turn the widget title into a link and add HTML or text before and after the list of recent posts. There is also a field on the widget for adding custom CSS to alter its appearance.

    The settings and controls of this widget make it a very flexible choice that should allow you to build the exact recent posts list you need for your WordPress website.

    Interested in Recent Posts Widget Extended?

  • Advanced Random Posts Widget

    Advanced Random Posts Widget

    Advanced Random Posts Widget is another free plugin for displaying posts in the sidebar, as well as other areas of your website using the included shortcode. However, instead of showing the latest posts, it has the ability to list random posts instead.

    With this plugin you do get some control over which posts are randomly selected to be included in the list. These settings allow you to customize the widget content in much the same way as you can with the Recent Posts Widget Extended plugin covered earlier. This includes support for custom post types, custom taxonomies, displaying thumbnails, and including post excerpts.

    Now with this plugin installed on your site, each time a visitor arrives, or loads a new page on your website, they will see a random list of posts in the sidebar, helping them to discover more of your content.

    Interested in Advanced Random Posts Widget?

  • Author Recent Posts

    If you are managing a multi-author blog and want to make it easier for your visitors to find other content from the author of the post they are currently reading, the free Author Recent Posts widget can help you out.

    The widget is only displayed when a post is being viewed in single mode, and by using the included shortcode, the author’s name be displayed in the widget title. The widget controls give you a few options for setting the appearance of the post list. This includes the number of posts to show, whether to show the post thumbnail and the post date. You can also set an alternate image to be used as a fall back image to be displayed for posts without a thumbnail.

    Interested in Author Recent Posts?

Conclusion

If you are looking for a better way to display links to recent content on your website, one of the above plugins should meet your needs.

For anyone making the most of the features of WordPress, then the ability to filter content by post type or custom taxonomy will give you more control over which posts are displayed in your widgetized areas. The extra settings in most of these plugins, such as those controls covering how the posts are displayed, will also give you greater control over how that content looks.

If you have any questions or suggestions about displaying recent posts in the widget areas of a WordPress website, please leave a comment below.