Newsletters: Sidebar Widgets

« Shortcodes & Subscribe Form

WordPress Newsletter plugin sidebar widgets.

Step 1: Check your sidebar registration

Before you start using your widgets, you have to ensure that your theme has the appropriate “before_widget” and “after_widget” values.

The WordPress Newsletter plugin will need to make use of an ID attribute in the enclosing element of the widget. Open up the “functions.php” file of your theme and check for a “register_sidebar” or “register_sidebars” function being executed. See the register_sidebar function in the WordPress function reference.

The second parameter of the function will contain an array of values specific to your widget. Check to see that your “before_widget” value has an ID attribute like this :

id="%1$s"

…and a CLASS attribute like this :

class="%2$s"

If it doesn’t, you can add it to the current element of the “before_widget” value. For example, if your “before_widget” value currently looks like this :

<div class="mywidget">

… you can edit it and make it look like this :

<div id="%1$s" class="%2$s mywidget">

Step 2: Add your sidebar widget(s)

click to enlarge

This feature allows for quick and simple integration into your sidebar.

Simply go to Appearance > Widgets in your WordPress dashboard and find the ‘Newsletter Subscription‘ widget and then drag and drop it where you want it from the available spaces on the right side of your screen. (Primary Widget Area for example).

You may add multiple (and unlimited) instances in your sidebar(s). To add another Newsletter plugin sidebar widget, just drag it onto one of your sidebar(s).

Now, see the image above. You are given options and settings to allow you to edit and customize (to a small extent) the way in which the widget is displayed. The fields available are: Title, Mailing List, Subtitle, Acknowledgement Message, Subscribe Again Link, Ajax Features, Use Captcha For Form and Button Text. Please fill them out accordingly and then click the ‘Save’ button when you are happy with all the changes.

Widget Settings

Each WordPress Newsletter plugin sidebar widget has its own, individual configuration settings which you can change. Not all the configuration values are required though. You may leave certain values such as the title, subtitle and acknowledgement message empty/blank.

Title

This value sets the title/heading of the sidebar widget. You may leave this value empty/blank if you don’t want a heading/title for your sidebar widget.

Mailing List

The mailing list to which users will be subscribed to. There are two groups of mailing lists. The first list allows you to provide users with an option/choice. You can insert either a checkbox list with all your non-private mailing lists or a select drop down with all your non-private mailing lists. The second group displays all your mailing lists so that you can pre-define a mailing list to which users will be subscribed to.

Subtitle

The subtitle will be displayed just below the widget title/heading in a paragraph with smaller text. You may leave this value empty/blank if you don’t want a subtitle to be displayed.

Acknowledgement Message

A “Thank You” message which will be displayed to the user upon a successful subscription. In case you have subscribe confirmations enabled/turned on in the “Settings” section, it is recommended that you add “Please check your email inbox for a confirmation email” to this acknowledgement message.

Subscribe Again Link

This is a useful feature, specifically developed for the checkbox list and select drop down mailing lists so that users can quickly and easily subscribe to another mailing list after subscribing the first time. In case this is set to “Yes”, a small link captioned “Subscribe Again” will be displayed in the subscription form, allowing the user to subscribe again.

Ajax Features

Turns on/off the ajax features for the widget. This is specifically related to the way that the data is posted. In case this is turned off, data will be posted with a page refresh instead of using Ajax technology. It is recommended that you use the Ajax features for usability and reliability.

Use captcha for form

If you have the Really Simple Captcha plugin installed, you may turn this feature on to display a security captcha image on your subscription form widget to prevent spam.

Button Text

The text which will be displayed on the button at the bottom of the subscription form.

The Newsletter widget and qTranslate widget integrate quite nicely with each other. If you have qTransalte installed on your site then you simply need to make use of the language tags associated with qTranslate when configuring your Newsletter widget. This can be seen in the image below. Basically, in the available fields in the Newsletter widget, use the language tags to separate out the languages for the headings that the user will see on the front-end of your site. [:en]Stay Up to Date[:nl]Taal Toets

If you have both the qTranslate widget and Newsletter widget (configured as shown above) active in your side bar, then on the front of your site you will see a drop-down Language selection (qTranslate widget), changing the language with that qTranslate drop-down changes the language of the Newsletter widget. This can be seen in the image below.