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The difference between menus and widgets in WordPress

wordpress menu and widigets

This is the first post in a series addressing real-life questions that were asked by people who attended my “What is WordPress?” presentation at the Silver Falls Library last autumn.  This post examines the question, “What is the difference between menus and widgets?”

What are widgets in WordPress, and how are they different from menus?

This is a really good question. I believe the idea of widgets might confuse a lot of people who are new to WordPress, mostly because the name doesn’t really tell you what they actually do.

            A list of clearly defined links to pages on your website is called a WordPress menu. You can direct your visitors to a specific post or page by using menus. In addition, you can even use your menus to provide custom links.

If you don’t make a menu and link it to a specific spot on your theme (like the top menu, side menu, or bottom menu, depending on your theme), WordPress will automatically make a list of all the pages on your site and put them in the menu. This could work okay if your site only has a few pages, but if it has more than 6 or 8 pages, it can become hard to manage. To fix this, you can make a menu by going to Appearance > Menus in the WordPress interface.

The difference between menus and widgets in WordPress (List of built-in WordPress menus)

WordPress comes with several built-in menus that you can use on your website. These menus include:

  1. Header Navigation Menu
  2. Footer Navigation Menu
  3. Top Bar Navigation Menu
  4. Sidebar Navigation Menu
  5. Social Links Menu

These menus provide you with different areas to organize and display your website’s content and links.

Advantages of menus in wordpress

  • Use of menus in header It makes it simple for visitors to navigate your website, and it is typically located in the header section of websites.
  • Structured Navigation: Menus play a crucial role in understanding the difference between menus and widgets. They allow you to arrange your site’s pages, categories, and custom links in a structured way. This clarity aids in the distinction between menus and widgets for visitors who are exploring your site, thereby enhancing their understanding of these two key elements.
  • Customization: Custom menus emphasize the difference between menus and widgets by offering the freedom to curate unique menus. By selecting specific pages or categories, reordering items, and incorporating external links, you showcase the individuality of menus over widgets. This customization serves as a visual representation of the separation between menus and widgets in WordPress.
  • Multiple Locations: The diverse locations where you can place menus in WordPress underscore the difference between menus and widgets. With menu options in the header, footer, sidebar, and other theme-dependent spots, you underscore the distinction between these navigation tools and widgets. By situating different menus in various sections of your website, you emphasize the contextual significance of menus in comparison to widgets.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: The mobile responsiveness of menus highlights the disparity between menus and widgets. WordPress menus’ adaptability to various screen sizes, including mobile devices, illustrates the importance of effective navigation. This adaptiveness demonstrates how menus cater to user needs in distinct ways compared to widgets, which might not always be as responsive.

Types of wordpress menu

  1.  Single Level Menus
  2. Multi Level menus

Single level menus

In WordPress, a single-level menu is a navigation structure with only one layer of menu items. All the items in this type of menu are at the same level. Clicking or tapping on any item directly takes you to the associated link.

This menu style is very common and is used on most websites. It provides a simple way to navigate, which is why it’s widely adopted. For example, social menus found on websites usually fall under this category. They contain links to various social media pages. As they are single-level menus, clicking a social media link leads you directly to that social media page.

Widgets in WordPress, on the other hand, are versatile tools that add functions and content to specific parts of your site. They can display recent posts, search bars, or even embed social media feeds. Unlike menus that focus on navigation, widgets enhance both functionality and appearance.

In short, single-level menus keep navigation straightforward by keeping all items on the same level, while widgets provide varied features to improve your site’s use and appearance. Both menus and widgets have distinct roles in shaping the WordPress user experience.

Example :

The difference between menus and widgets in WordPress

Multi level menus

In a menu with only one level, there’s just one layer of items. When you tap on these items, you’ll go to the link inside them.

On the flip side, a multi-level menu has items arranged in two or more layers. You’ll mainly see the top layer and the main menu items. But if you click or hover over a main item, you’ll see the items below it. Depending on the website’s needs, there can be many levels in this kind of menu that go on and on.

Example : 

The difference between menus and widgets in WordPress

The 2 most popular types of multi-level menus are:

  • Dropdown Menus
  • Mega Menus

WordPress Dropdown menus highlight a dropdown interface. A drop-down list of the main item’s sub items will appear if you hover your mouse over it.

Dropdown menus are a clever feature in WordPress menus and widgets. They provide a helpful way to arrange and show lots of stuff without making visitors feel overwhelmed.

When it comes to menus, a dropdown menu appears when you move your mouse over or click on a main menu item. It smoothly shows a list of smaller items connected to that main one. This is super useful for websites with many pages or categories. Dropdown menus keep things neat and easy to reach, which makes moving around the website much easier for users.

In widgets, dropdown menus can also be useful. Some widgets let you include dropdown menus on your website’s sidebar or other widget-ready spots. This is great when you want visitors to quickly find different parts of your site, making their experience better.

So, basically, dropdown menus act like a bridge between menus and widgets. They’re a smart way to sort and show information effectively. Whether you’re helping people move between pages or giving them fast links, dropdown menus show how flexible and user-friendly WordPress menus and widgets can be.

The difference between menus and widgets in WordPress

Super Menus: Enhancing Your Experience with Menus and Widgets in WordPress

Super menus are a powerful enhancement within WordPress menus and widgets. These menus offer a dynamic way to organize and display content without overwhelming visitors.

In menus, super menus go beyond the basics. When you engage with a main menu item, a super menu appears, revealing more than just sub-items. It can showcase extra information or images, ideal for complex websites. Super menus make finding content easier.

Even in widgets, super menus shine. Some widgets enable super menus in your site’s sidebar or widget-ready areas. This enriches user experience and makes navigating your site more engaging.

Super menus elevate menus and widgets in WordPress, offering a sophisticated approach to content organization. Whether guiding users through sections or creating an interactive journey, super menus exemplify WordPress’s versatility.

  • Super menu also called mega menu 
image 4

Widgets in WordPress

           You can add a specific feature to your website by using a WordPress widget, which is a modular component. Widgets are an inherent component of WordPress’ design and layout customizations and can be added to various areas of a website, such as the sidebars or footer areas.

Top 5 WordPress Widget Plugins for Your Website

1. More Widgets

2. Simple Social Icons

3. WP Call Button

4. Google Maps Widget

5. OptinMonster

How to add widgets in wordpress

Setting up your widgets is an important first step in starting a blog.

It is simple to add widgets to your theme by dragging and dropping them into one of the widget areas.

On your own website, you can access the list of widgets that are available by going to Appearance » Widgets from the admin sidebar.

On the left, you’ll find all of the widgets that are available once you get there. The widget areas of your theme will be listed on the right.

image 3

You can discover a short description that allows you to provide an explanation for the reason and use of every of your hooked up widgets.

To add a gadget to a gadget region on your site, basically intuitive the it from the rundown on the left to a region on the right.


Widgets can also be rearranged by moving them up and down.

After adding the widget, you can view its individual settings, which come with it. To save your widget settings, make sure to click the Save button.

For additional definite directions, see our aide on the most proficient method to add and involve gadgets in WordPress.

For more details also read our relative post to this article 

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