WordPress widgets and plugins add functionality to your website.
Widgets can be found on the WordPress Dashboard under Appearance. Choose the widget you want from the list on the left and then drag and drop it to where you want the widget to appear on your sidebar on the right.
Standard widget functions include search boxes, text boxes, calendars, Akismet (to prevent spam), links and categories.
Plugins (found under Plugins) are special functions that go beyond the widget functions that come with your WordPress theme. There are plugins for just about anything under the sun. Use the Search Plugins on the Upload Plugin page to find what you are looking for. Be sure to choose carefully: check the number of stars and the number of downloads to see how the plugin has been rated and how many individuals have downloaded it.
Keep in mind that you will need to keep these plugins updated. You will find which plugins have updates available by looking at your Installed Plugins page.
Before you update your WordPress the first time, make sure that you have created a child theme, so that your WordPress site will not be overwritten when update are made.
Learn more about WordPress child themes.