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I was approached recently by the owners of Widget Options to see if I would be willing to give a review of their plugin. I’m more than happy to cast my eyes over the plugin and give my thoughts on it. This week on the site I’ll be reviewing Widget Options

What is The Widget Options WordPress Plugin?

The Widget Options WordPress Plugin is a plugin by Phpbits that will allow you control everything about widgets, you can choose it’s visibility on pages, devices as well as on specific days. It also allows custom styling, either as a custom CSS with a custom ID or class, as well as styling each individual elements if CSS isn’t your thing. It also allows animated and sticky widgets.

Installation

Installing Widget Options is quite simple and quick using the upload plugin feature. You are taken to a landing page which details the plugin upon installation. On this page is there a link to the setup page as well a video guide. Also it links to the feature page on the Widget Options site.

Overall it’s useful, but I’d prefer it if the link to the feature page was a bit clearer, as it actually acts as documentation and it is rather useful. I’d also like a link to the settings page. Also this pops up on every activation and deactivation, though that isn’t too important.

Setup

After installing the plugin, you should go to the setting page (located in the Dashboard > Settings > Widget Options). This will allow you to switch on and off each module, similar to Jetpack, as well as set up individual modules should they need it. Should you get stuck, you can Open a Support Ticket on the dashboard, as well as connect your licence key to the software.

widget-options-setup

Overall it works well, it’s a very well made options panel, one of the better ones out there. I would love the ability to set user levels for widgets. I guess that isn’t needed though, as generally administratiors control the widget.

Usage

This is where this plugin has time to shine. If you go to the Appearance > Widgets as you usually do when you want to set up a Widget. You will notice your widget have a nicely tabbed area beneath the main content. This is extendible based on your settins set up in the previous section.

widget-options-widget

From here you can set up the following

  • Set up columns for widgets – If you have a widget area but want it in two columns, you can set the width of each widget, with it taking up a third, quarter or a half. Every widget needs to be set up with this in mind.
  • Set up Alignment – You can set up how the widget aligns – either centrally, to the left or the right, dependant on device as well.
  • Hide/Show on Checked Roles – This will allow you to hide or show widgets based on the user role, as well as those who are guests and not signed in. This is especially useful if you have multiple users on the site and you want to show admin controls to admin users, for example.
  • Visibility – This is the main area in the plugin, as you can hide or show the widget based on taxonomy, post type, as well as on individual posts or pages. Options are also available for home page, or on the 404 page. The visibilty options spread over the next 2 tabs for device and day lock.
  • Styling Options – This option allows you to style the widgets without any sort of CSS Knowledge. This is incredibly thorough and very well designed.
  • Miscellanous Options – The final area is a list of miscellaneous options, such as setting the animations – which is unique for this plugin and great for producing eye catching widgets. It works so well and I would love to see it in it’s own tab as I think it could be a real selling point. It is hidden away currently. Finally you control the widget by fixing it to the sidebar if you choose.

You can also add a widget to any part of the blog, even non widget areas, using a shortcode, which is displayed below the post.

This section is unbelievably thorough, and also is one of the best designed widget options area out there.

Conclusion

I like this plugin. There are plugins that do similar available on the market however this plugin is easily the most intuitive out there. Within a quick setup and within a few clicks I could see the affect of my actions and options do appear to work nicely. I especially love the animations, which can be a subtle way of highlighting certain areas of your site.

But with intuitive design, don’t think this plugin is not powerful. If you want to dive into widget logic and play around with it, then feel free. Options are there to get dirty and write your own complex logic to complete your goals.

It can improve the onboarding of new users, but this is a plugin that does widget options and does it well. For the low price I’d highly recommend it.

Extended Widget Options is available from $24.99 for a personal licence at the official site http://widget-options.com/.

Competition!

The owners of Widget Options have kindly given me 3 copies of Widget Options to give away to you. Three lucky winners will each win a 1 year licence of Widget Options. To win, simply comment on this post with the one widget you would love to have on your blog! We will pick 3 winners at random.

You can get a second entry if you subscribe to our newsletter below.

The closing date will be 14th January 2017, and we’ll announce the winner soon after.

 
 
 

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