I don’t know about you, but left to itself, my blog sidebar quickly resembles my kitchen counter: it becomes a catch-all. Every button, link, and feed I don’t know where to put ends up there. And before you know it, the sidebar is so cluttered you can’t see anything!
I like clean and simple sidebars when I visit other people’s blogs. But I don’t always remember to put my sidebar on my cleaning list along with my counter!
“Your sidebar may be working AGAINST you…”
–“Leaks Cost Subscribers” on socialtriggers.com
An article on Social Triggers points out an interesting concept: your sidebar could be taking people away from your site before they’ve even shared or consumed your own content. Unless it’s a paid ad, having something in your sidebar that directs people away from your site may not be a good idea. Put it in the footer instead, if you can—or move it to your links page.
Have you really analyzed your sidebar contents lately?
- Is this button a paid ad?
- Is this button really necessary in this location?
- Could this link go on my links page?
- Do I need my latest Tweets or should I just use social media buttons?
- Do the links in my sidebar keep people on my site or take them elsewhere?
- Is my sidebar leading people away from my post before they’re even finished reading?
- Do I have too many calls to action in my sidebar?
Think of the sites with sidebars you like, and examine their methods. Maybe you need to delete every widget and start over. Maybe you just need to move some widgets to the footer area. Take a good hard look at your sidebar and make sure that everything that is there really must be there.
What are your sidebar must-haves?
Comment and share! Here are mine:
- search box
- social media buttons
- recent posts