A theme that is well-prepared with carefully placed widget-ready areas, and which takes advantage of custom widgets where appropriate to highlight its features, will often be able to outshine its competitors. We've seen fairly simple examples of the kinds of widgets you can create, but there's really no limit to what you can do: let your imagination go wild.

Here are a few final tips:

■ Try not limit the functionality of your theme designs by only thinking of widget-ready areas as sidebars. Widgetized areas can be used anywhere in your site design where you think your users might want to display custom bits of content.

■ Take advantage of the helpers that Thematic and WordPress provide. There's no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to markup or hooks and filters when building widget-ready areas or custom widgets.

■ Keep the back end simple for yourself, your users, or your clients by removing unnecessary clutter that's extraneous to your theme: if you haven't used or adequately styled a certain wid-getized area, unregister it.

Stick to the ideas outlined here and you'll be a widget master before you know it!


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