My client has a widget on his home page that was created with the Divi Sidebar module. It is set to display the ten most recent posts. Now, he wants to display two of those posts in a special block in the center of the page, to the right of the list of ten posts. I could just use a text module to display links to the two posts in question. However, he does not want those posts listed in the widget. I could add code to functions.php that would remove those posts from the standard list. In combination, this is not an elegant solution. It would require a manual change in functions.php and in the text block that displays links to the two posts every time he wanted to change those highlighted posts. Further, that would also remove those posts from the category being used to display all the posts. In this case: https://unicornbags.com/category/the-blog/.
Recent Posts Widget Extended
The solution is a plugin called Recent Posts Widget Extended. I installed and activated it.
Next I created a new category called “Main News” and assigned the two posts I want to display to that category. Next, I created a new widget area called “Home Page Main News” at Appearance > Widgets. Finally, I turned to Recent Posts Widget Extended.
First I attached Recent Posts Widget Extended to the new widget area I just created. Then it was a matter of choosing the correct settings. In this case, I limited the lists to posts in the “Main News” category and let it display thumbnails. By default, the thumbnails are 45px by 45px. They are created by cropping the featured image to show just the center of it. This worked ok in this case as I just wanted to separate the post titles with a colorful bullet, of sorts.
Installing Using the Divi Sidebar Module
To get the widget to display, I went to the home page, added a Sidebar Module to the appropriate location. I then assigned the content to be the “Home Page Main News” widget area. Finally I modified the text to be red and larger with drop shadows in the ‘Design’ tab of the module settings.
This completed part of the installation. The center section of this row on the home page now boldly lists the two desired posts. All I need to do to change the posts listed there is to set or unset the “Main News” category for the posts.
At this point, the two highlighted posts are still listed in the list of recent blog posts in the left column.
Modifying the List of Recent Blog Posts
To remove the unwanted posts from the most recent list, I again turned to Recent Posts Widget Extended. First I created another new category, “Home Page News.” Then I assigned that category to all the posts that I want to appear in the list of recent blog posts. That’s no big deal because I’m only listing 10 posts there.
Finally I created another home page widget area and used Recent Posts Widget Extended to include only those posts. Then I used a Sidebar Module to place the widget on the home page. This is all the same process used to create the main news list described above.
This is still not a terribly elegant solution, I’d rather be able to just list posts in the ten-item list that aren’t on the two-item list in the widget configuration. Nonetheless, it works and it only involves setting the correct categories whenever a new post is added. You can see the final result on the Unicorn Bags website, unless the owner wants to change things again.