Before beginning this tutorial you will need to install and activate the free Jetpack plugin. Read this post for instructions on how to install Jetpack.
Jetpack includes a simple widget which you can use to easily add images to any of the widget areas available in your currently selected theme. You can activate additional widgets and other features using the Jetpack settings page, available by clicking on the applicable option in the sidebar in the administrator dashboard. In this chapter, we’ll take a look at the process of activating the image widget and placing an image in the sidebar of your WordPress site.
How to Activate the Image Widget
Activating and managing the various features of Jetpack may be done from the Jetpack settings page, which provides a user-friendly interface along with a list of features and explanations as to what they do.
- In your administrator dashboard, click on “Jetpack” close to the top-left corner of the page.
- Scroll down the page and click on “View all Jetpack features” to see a list of all of the available plugins and widgets.
- Scroll down to find the “Extra Sidebar Widgets” tile. You should find it in the left-side column. Click on the tile and click “Activate”.
How to Add an Image to the Sidebar
You can add any image you like to the sidebar using the Jetpack Image widget, provided that it is in the JPG or PNG format. The image doesn’t even need to be hosted on your website either – you can specify any image located on any website, since all you need is the URL.
- In your administrator dashboard, mouse over the “Appearance” button and click “Widgets” in the pop-up menu.
- Drag and drop the “Image (Jetpack)” widget from the left-side column to the preferred widget area on your right, such as “Primary Widget Area”.
- Click on the activated widget in the right-side column to display the available configuration options.
- Enter a title for the widget, or leave it blank if you only want to display an image without any accompanying text.
- Enter the full URL of the image in the box beside “Image URL”. Ensure that the URL links directly to an image, including its file extension, such as JPG. You will first need to upload the image to your WordPress media library (Media -> Add New) and then get the URL from there.
- Fill in the alternate text with a few words describing the image. This text will appear when someone moves the cursor over the image.
- Enter a title and a caption for the image if you wish. Finally, choose an alignment, and specify a width and height for the image in pixels if you wish.
- If you want to turn the image into a link, enter the full URL of the link you wish to use in the “Link URL” box.
- Click “Save” to save your changes. The image should appear immediately on your WordPress blog.
That’s all there is to it! You can add as many images to your sidebar or other available widget areas as you wish, simply by dragging another instance of the widget into the desired sidebar area.