Advanced Mini-Challenge: Widgets

Adding content to your site may take some time and thought. With this in mind, I wanted to assign you a shorter mini-challenge to compliment our fifth challenge.

To complete this mini-challenge, you will need to explore a few of the widgets that Humanities Commons sites offer. As a reminder, HC sites are WordPress sites, so if you have any questions, general resources related to WordPress sites would probably be a helpful place to start.

What are widgets?

WordPress widgets are tools that help you to add features and content to your sidebars. Most of them require no work beyond activation, however, for some widgets, you may be asked to include your own text or images.


There are a number of different widgets for you to choose to include in your Humanities Commons site. Additionally, the widgets available to you depend upon the theme your site uses. Here are a few that may be of interest…


  • Most Popular Posts: This widget will maintain a list with links to your most popular posts. “Popularity” here is based on the number of visits each of your posts receives. Ten is the automatic number of posts listed, however, if you’d prefer a different number, this is customizable. Just like plug-ins, certain widgets may work better with one site genre than another. For example, this widget can work really well for a blog site, but may not make sense on course site.

How this widget appears on my site
  • Video or Audio: By using either of these widgets, you can include a video or audio file onto your page.  


How this widget appears on my site
  • Meta: If the theme of your site does not include a “Meta” menu on its homepage, it might make your life easier to add this widget to your site. The meta menu will include a direct link to your dashboard, a link to log-out, RSS code for comments and entries on your site, as well as a link to the WordPress homepage.  

How this widget appears on my site
  • Events or Events Calendar: These widgets will keep a running list or calendar of the events you’ve scheduled. This is a great tool to use for sites that are dedicated to workshops, conferences, or communities, because they serve as reminders of your upcoming events.

How this widget appears on my site (I don’t have any events listed)
  • Tag Cloud: This widget creates a visual cloud of the various tags you’ve attached to your posts and pages. You can customize this widget by creating your own title for the image and choosing whether or not you’d like to show tag counts.

How this widget appears on my site.


How do I activate widgets?

To select and activate widgets for your site, first go to your site’s dashboard. After hovering your pointer over “Appearance” on the left-hand menu, select “Widgets.”

Select “Widgets” from the left-hand menu

This will take you to a list of the widgets that are available for Humanities Commons sites to use. Read through the different widget options as there may be some that work for you that I didn’t cover in my brief list of example widgets.

The widgets page

Once you’ve found a widget that you would like to include on your site, click it and drag it to your desired footer (located on the right of the page). The available footers and their locations will be different depending on which theme your site uses.  Note that you can include multiple widgets in a single footer. If your selected widget contains customization options or requires you to add information, you will need to fill this out after you’ve placed the widget in the appropriate footer. Don’t forget to click the save button once you’ve finished customizing!

The video widget is one example of a widget that requires customization
The events calendar widget is another example of a widget that requires customization

To see how your widgets look, visit your site. The widgets will typically appear on every page of your site. If you don’t like what you see, or if you want to change things around, remember that you can always return to the widgets page and edit your work.

Share and Reflect

Please share any discoveries or questions that emerged as a result of exploring the available WordPress widgets on our group page, especially if you found a widget not discussed in this blog post!

If run into any issues as you complete this challenge, fear not! Your camp director is here to help. Reach out to the Humanities Commons Summer Camp through any of the following contacts:

Humanities Commons: Post your question/concern as a new discussion thread in our HC Group.

Twitter: @humcommons

Email: or