A lot of people use the default WordPress Recent Post widget. But what if you wanted to add a bit more “visual boom” on that widget by simply adding a thumbnail to it? Or perhaps, even more control over what appears in the widget?
Well, that’s easy using the plugin Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails. What started out years ago as simply adding a thumbnail to it, now gives you much more control of what you want to display or hide.
Here is the settings for your default Recent Post widget.
And depending on your theme, it will look something similar to this.
Now if we look at the settings in the Recent Posts Widget with Thumbnails, you can easily pull in the image from the post you want and control the side of the thumbnail.
But it doesn’t end there. But you can also take it even further of what you display in your recent posts.
Here you can randomize the list. Also you can hide the current post so it does not show it in the list when someone is on that post. You can also control any sticky posts you may have.
You can also hide or show the post title, author, categories date, comments and excerpt. With the excerpt there are settings to even fine tune what is displayed when it shows.
You can also filter what posts show by category. So if you used the visibility widget that comes with Jetpack, you could add this to a sidebar, select a category and only show it on posts in that same category, such as “see more in the category blogging”.
Lastly, there are a few additional settings.
For example, here I have simply left the title, date and added the thumbnails to the widget. Compared to the prior one, it is a bit more eye-catching.
The only thing is it does take up a bit more real estate in your sidebar. But if your focus is on images, it might be worth the space. You can find the free plugin over on WordPress.org.