The Text widget is simple but surprisingly flexible. You can use it anywhere you want
to wedge in a bit of fixed content. For example, you can use it in a sidebar, to add
a paragraph about yourself or your site. Or you can put it in your footer with some
copyright information or a legal disclaimer.
However, the Text widget becomes much more interesting if you stick some markup
in it. Since it recognizes HTML markup, you can stuff in lists, links, pictures, and more.
(In fact, WordPress self-hosters often use the Text widget to stuff in a video or an
image, as explained on page 188.) Figure 5-23 shows two uses of the Text widget.
Using the Text widget is easy. First, drag it onto your page (as with any other widget).
When you expand it, you get a nice big, multiple-line text box. If all you want
is ordinary text, just fill in a title and type in your text underneath. Make sure you
also turn on the “Automatically add paragraphs” checkbox. That way, wherever you
separate the text (by pressing the Enter key), WordPress inserts an HTML line break
element (that’s <br>) that, in turn, inserts the space you want.
It’s almost as easy to put HTML in the Text widget. First, turn off the “Automatically
add paragraphs” settings. Then, type in your content, with the exact HTML tags you
want. Here’s an example that puts a word in bold type:
The following word will be <b>bold</b> on the page.
And here’s the HTML-formatted text from Figure 5-23 (right):
The <b>Magic Tea House</b> is a quirky mash-up: it’s a fine tea importer with
the rarest gourmet teas, and a music venue for small-venue jazz, chamber, and
coffeehouse bands like:
<li>The Black Teas</li>
<li>Samantha Told Me So</li>
See our <a href=”http://tinyurl.com/cyboj83″>location</a>.
If your HTML skills are a bit sketchy, you can copy markup from an HTML editor into
the Text widget. Before you do, make sure you look over the markup and strip out
any unnecessary details, like inline styles. That gives it a better chance of blending
into your site without disrupting the rest of your WordPress page.