Five Nifty Sidebar Widgets for your WordPress Site

May 12th, 2009
WordPress Plugins

Can you say that title five times very fast? :-)

In my last post I discussed WordPress plugins that can spruce up your WordPress based website. What I would like to do in this one is point out five sidebar widgets that you can put to use in your own sidebar to expand its capabilities and add additional functionality to your site for your visitors.

Sidebar Login: This plugin is not only a widget that you can drag onto your sidebar in the admin interface but also provides a template tag that you can use anywhere in your site to show a login box.  Once your visitor logs in via this form they will be returned to the page they signed in from instead of into the admin panel (unless they are an admin then they log into the admin interface).


Not logged in

sidebarloginloggedin Logged in as Admin

Registration Widget: What better widget to have right next to the Sidebar Login widget above then the one that lets a visitor register a user account so they can use that nifty Sidebar Login form as well.  Very straight forward install and then add the widget to your sidebar where you want it.


Moon Phases: Now this plugin would obviously be perfect on an astronomy or space blog/website.  Its premise is simple after installing the plugin go to your appearance admin panel and add the Moon Phases widget to your sidebar and save it.  There are four settings you can change which include Title; Show Zodiac; Show age (not yours – the moons); and Show details.  I am a space and astronomy buff so stuff like this grabs my attention easily :-)


Global Translator: Just what it sounds like with up to 41 language options at your disposal depending on what translation engine you select.  Adds a widget to your appearance admin panel that you can add to your sidebar. Just click on the flag of the country you want to translate the page into.


TwiBadge: I guess this list would not be complete without a little Twitter love.  Here is a sidebar widget plugin that lets you add your Twitter Badge to your own sidebar.  It is very configurable and does not require your Twitter password to work. 


So what is your nifty sidebar widget that you can not live without on your site? Looking forward to hearing what your using.




  1. S.Smith (3 comments.) says:

    I like the moon. It makes me happy.
    Also: those sidebar login and registration ones aren’t just for clients: like them for my ease of use too.
    Haven’t tried translator, but I will…

  2. Vikas SN (4 comments.) says:

    The registration widget looks very good indeed. Will try that someday.

  3. J.Backlund (1 comments.) says:

    Great widgets! I really needed the translator! Thanks.

  4. George Serradinho (107 comments.) says:

    Hi there,

    I like the idea of the login and registration, but my site only has a few authors which are mainly family members so that is not required by me at this stage.

    I would like to give you my 2 cents worth on this post details and hope that you take it lightly and are not offended.

    I thought you would be discussing widgets that would be useful to all. I’m not saying that the widgets you mentioned and not worth it, but I thought you would of discussed widgets about comments, top commenter’s, displaying categories/links/posts, etc. Some kind of widgets that would promote the blog for people to interact with you (the owner or author).

    • WindowsObserver (55 comments.) says:

      George – thanks for the great feedback and expectations. I appreciate them very much.

      I think you have given me a great idea for a future “five” post.

      With so many plugins available I think there will be all kinds of subject areas to tackle within this framework of sharing the great work of the plugin developer community.

      Thanks for the feedback – no offense taken at all to your perspective – that is the beauty of a community like this. Keep it coming!


      • Ned (1 comments.) says:

        I’ve gotta agree with George – I clicked on this through my wordpress admin panel expecting to see some widget that would really maximize the limited space I had on my sidebar. Instead I got gimmicky crap (with the exception of the login tool). I’ll look forward to your future five post, Rich.


        • WindowsObserver (55 comments.) says:

          Ned – thanks for the feedback as well – I hear you guys. I am quickly learning the audience is varied here and I will certinaly do everything I can to make sure I cover all areas of interests across the board.


  5. Babs (42 comments.) says:

    I really like the login and registration widgets, and the moon phase one isn’t just for space nuts. ;)

    Out of couriosity, does anyone know how many plugins it takes to break a WordPress site? *laughs*

    • WindowsObserver (55 comments.) says:

      I once did hear on a PODCAST that somepone had close to 100 plugins on a site.

      I personally had 32 active at once but that seems like a small number.


  6. dreamluverz (1 comments.) says:

    Cool! I like it! We’ll be trying this out.

  7. Anne (1 comments.) says:

    The translator looks like an excellent addition. I’ll have to give that one a try I think.

  8. awesome (1 comments.) says:

    The translator widget works great.

    I thought about installing the login widget but there are several comments that the login widget does not work in FF.

    • mccormicky (5 comments.) says:

      @awesome: the sidebar login works great in FF!(Firefox) I only use FF and have been more than pleased. Plus it is really easy to style, another plus.

  9. Tony (1 comments.) says:

    I really love the translator plug-in. Of course, keep in mind that people who are reading your translated content are not always going to understand it.

    I had gotten multiple complaints, particularly from people in Germany, that the site isn’t in “real” German and makes little to no sense to them. On the flip side, I’ve had a comment from a French visitor who appreciated an article I wrote.

    Perhaps German isn’t quite as well done by Google, no idea. I just disabled German entirely eventually lol.

    I guess my point is that I wish it did have some little warning you could check off in the widget to state in the current language that this is automated and might not be perfect haha.

    Either way, it’s great overall.

    • WindowsObserver (55 comments.) says:

      I have seen similar things with Italian and Spanish – I think a posted warning/caution etc. might be useful – just get a good translation for that so it is at least right :-)

  10. Derrick (1 comments.) says:

    Great job !

    I like the language translator and login widgets.

  11. bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

    The facebook status sidebar plugin, is one I can’t live without.
    Also that Amazon wishlist plugin that displays a random item from your Amazon wish list.

    Since my hosting provider deleted my VPS a couple weeks ago, and have to start my blog completely over from scratch now, I can’t remember all the sidebar widgets I had :( but I do remember not all of them were widgets, some of them were just sidebar plugins that weren’t made into widgets. *shrugs*
    which is why I don’t use the widget system in wordpress.

    oh that weather sidebar plugin was another one.

    someone should make the listing of badges into a widget ready plugin.
    ya know like the small badges for PHP, mysql, feedburner, wordpress, etc etc.

  12. rectangle trampoline (1 comments.) says:

    Thanks for infos .. i love those widgets

    D Najmi

  13. Tom Colvin (1 comments.) says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve downloaded the translation widget, been wanting to add one of those for some time now.

    However, I’m MOST INTERESTED in your subscription box at the top of your sidebar. Is that a standard wdiget? Or is it a mashup that you’ve done? I have searched and searched for a widget that would do just that. Can you clarify? Share? Fingers crossed for good luck.


    • WindowsObserver (55 comments.) says:


      That is a text box with the HTML code from Feedburner for an email subscription box pasted in and saved. I think I centered the code to line it up as I wanted it.

  14. daisy w says:

    (1) I am using the WPMU-BPRC2 pair.
    Will the Login and Registration widgets work for me?

    (2) What page will be displayed in the event of a login/password entry error? I don’t want the user to be redirected to another login page with the WordPress icon.

    • Stefano (5 comments.) says:

      For you (2) question:
      I’m the author of Registration Widget. When an error arise the users are redirected to the standard registration page (and the registration widget disappear to avoid user confusion).

      I use CYC (Customize Your Community) Plugin to “dress” the login/registration/lost-password pages with my theme style.

      This way when some error arise, and the user is redirected to the “standard” registration page, he see a fancy formatted page

  15. Stefano (5 comments.) says:

    Thanks to have listed my Registration Widget here.
    I’m very happy to give back to the awesome WordPress community!


  16. DZ says:

    Regarding the Twitter sidebar… He’s just wrapping his personal link for Google juice around Twitter official’s Flash badge:

  17. Li-An (13 comments.) says:

    Since I installed the translation widget, more foreign people come to my blog as Google keep translated pages in its cache.

  18. bara (1 comments.) says:

    nice.. very useful.

  19. Adymat (1 comments.) says:

    Global Translator widget will prove good a lot if it really works the way it should. Unfortunately we are still in the evolution stage of translation of sentences especially, as most of times it changes the sense of the line.

    Good Job!

  20. Sunday (5 comments.) says:

    Hi there,

    Like your simple explanations of the widgets here, thanks.

    Daft Newbie question coming…!
    I dislike the default widget that makes a “Tag Cloud”, Please could you point me in the direction of a plugin for a very simple tag list which I can add to my sidebar.
    I would be most grateful for your help.

  21. Hummerbie (1 comments.) says:

    Please note that the Global translator plugin causes a big problem when it comes to your Search Engine Traffic.

    You create a lot of new pages with this plugin and Google sees this as spamming.

    I tried the plugin on one of my blogs, and it increased my traffic with ove 400%… for a veery short time (about a week).
    After that it began dropping back to my original traffic flow.

    But my PR went from 4 to 0, and it only came back to 4 after I cleaned up all the cache files, blocking the Search Engine Robots from going to the translated cached pages AND did a removal request for those directories in Google’s webmaster tool….

    So it looks like a good idea, but the translations are indeed horrible (I speak English, Dutch and German) but the real problem with it was the SEO Part!
    Please be aware of this issue if you still want to use it.

    • Strangely (2 comments.) says:

      I can agree with this and most of the negative comment about translators in general. I’ve stopped using them as a consequence.

      One notable thing that happened was a load of 404s from Google (as well as the SEO hit). This was due to the translator making virtual folders for fr, ko etc but also it split the WP default ‘archives’ folder into ‘ar’ and ‘chives’ !!
      To get round this I added a list of ‘disallow’ comments for these language folders in the robots.txt file. For well behaved robots like Google, it means it doesn’t index them. The file is still there, even though I don’t use translators now anyway. But for anyone with this type of problem, it’s a useful trick. See

  22. Liam (1 comments.) says:

    I like the first ones, but the moon phases thing is kind of boring and interest-specific. More google homepage-y than blog sidebar worthy.

  23. Microsoft Guy (13 comments.) says:

    Global Translator seems like it would help the multicultural users from different countries read my blog in their native language.

  24. Rob (1 comments.) says:

    The moon????? How about Press it for me…Didn’t seen any of those in this sidebar.

  25. Josh @iDTech (3 comments.) says:

    Personally, I like “deepest sender” it is actually a firefox extension that allows you to submit blog post from an editor, in-line with your browser chrome. Additionally the interface is WYSIWYG and allows you to drag and drop pictures. Very fast and efficient.

    Great tips, I’ll be sure to look at a few of those!


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