I finally bit the bullet and took a look at the widget plugin, well to be precise widgets are included with WordPress 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9 and 3.0 so took a look at that :-)

Figured out how to use widgets and have added them to a test version of the Talian theme, just a matter of cleaning up the coding and adding the appropriate code to all the themes on the site now. As long as I get the time shouldn’t take more than a week to update all WordPress themes and send them out to current customers (update: only took a few days, all current and future themes are fully widget friendly).

Update: added widget support to all AdSense/SEO WordPress themes on the site

I noticed an issue with widgets in WordPress 2.3. There seems to be a set of widgets created by default, widgets like Akismet (if installed), Links, Meta and many more! The problem with this is I spent a lot of time editing the menu items to be SEO optimised and these widgets could mess things up.

Found a solution (as always :-)) I’ve named the widgets that are theme specific as “Name of Widget GAT” so they are easy to spot and use. You can see a screenshot of what it looks like with Talian using WordPress 2.3 when I added all the right widgets (the GAT ones mean Google AdSense Templates) to the two Talian sidebars. Looks the same for WordPress 2.6, WordPress 2.7 and WordPress 2.8.

As you can see above there’s 14 widgets I’ve not used and I strongly advise (for SEO reasons) you don’t use them either. If you stick to the GAT widgets only you won’t damage the SEO coding added to the theme.

Update: found a way to remove Widgets, there’s the unregister_sidebar_widget code which you specify Widgets you don’t want available. Interestingly I couldn’t remove two of the extra widgets above, the Akismet and the Tag Cloud widgets. Two extra widgets is much better than fourteen, so I’m happy with the result.

Update2 : in WordPress 2.5, WordPress 2.6, WordPress 2.7 and WordPress 2.8 those extra widgets are back, fortunately they are listed at the bottom of the list of Widgets so just make sure you don’t use them if you care about SEO.

I have to say I like the concept of widgets, solved a small problem I’ve had with WordPress 2.3 updated themes. The new 2.3 themes include the Tag coding and when you upload the new themes you get a Tag menu item which is empty until you create some Tags. Some of my sites aren’t really setup in a way where Tags will add anything useful so won’t use tags on those. Having widget WordPress themes means I can remove that menu item without having to edit the themes code manually.

David Law : AKA SEO Dave, Search Engine Optimization Consultant, Internet Marketer, WordPress SEO Theme Developer and Nice Guy :-)

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