One of the most versatile, flexible things about WordPress is its widget system. Widgets were added to WordPress core in 2007, version 2.2. Depending on the theme you’re using, widgets can make customizing your website incredibly easy.
WordPress default widgets are fine, and do their job, but they aren’t very flexible. There are stronger, more flexible widgets available out there—widgets that might just end up replacing your standard setup.
Improve most of your widgets at one time
The first thing you should grab to better your widgets is to Justin Tadlock’s Widgets Reloaded. Widgets Reloaded replaces a number of the default WordPress widgets with widgets of similar purpose, but with more flexibility.
Make widgets flexible with some logic
Sometimes widgets are only necessary on certain pages. One way of achieving page-level control of widgets is to create a number of widget areas and page templates.
Or, you can grab Widget Logic, a Plugin that allows you to choose, using WordPress conditional tags, which pages a widget will show up on.
Feature pages using widgets in the simplest way
Another useful Plugin, Featured Page Widgets by Shane Lambert, allows you to feature pages using widgets. The widget’s options are simple to customize, and creates a clean and simple featured area in your sidebar.
A number of commercial WordPress themes use a similar technique anymore, but you don’t need a commercial theme to use it.
Are your widgets flexible?
Have you used any of these Plugins before? Are there other Plugins you use that give you stronger or more flexible widgets?