A chronic disease of that many bloggers have caught is cluttered-sidebar-itis. Have you caught the disease? Let’s talk about how much is too much in your sidebar and how to know what you should add and what you shouldn’t. Even taking a look at my sidebar I realize I need to do some spring cleaning.
The best way to start is to look at your sidebar and ask yourself:
- How does this benefit me, my blog, or my readers?
- Could I put this somewhere else on my blog?
- Does this blend with my blog design or does it distract?
5 things you should have in your sidebar
- Social Media – You need people to know how to connect with you! I would put this in your #1 spot on your sidebar. Don’t know how learn, it’s really easy.
- Call to Action – Call to action is a great place for one specific goal you have your blog. Are you wanting more Facebook Followers? Add a Facebook widget. Looking to sell your eBook show it off in your sidebar. The key to this section though is to only have one call to action.
- Search – If your readers can’t find what they are looking for in a few seconds you are going to loose them. Make it easy and include a search on your sidebar. Make sure this is close to the top also, no one is going to search for a search box.
- Newsletter Sign Up – Don’t have a newsletter, maybe it’s time to consider one. That’s on my to do list for this summer. Learn more about how to use a newsletter.
- Paying Ads – The keyword here is paying. I know you love your bloggy friends, but this is valuable space! Don’t overdo your ads. Make sure you are charging enough for your space that you don’t look like your selling out to your readers. I would limit your ads to about 4-6 ads.
5 things to consider putting in your sidebar
- About You – Share a little something about you or your blog. Make it short, if you want to say a lot link it to your about page. Make it interesting, this would be a good place to use your tagline. You created it to catch new readers, use it here to take
- Featured and/or Popular Articles – If you want both on your sidebar make sure you use a tabbed widget so that it doesn’t fill your whole sidebar.
- Categories or Tags – Same above you should have one or the other not both in your sidebar.
- About Video – This is the newest and coolest thing to do. Instead of an about you section have an about video for your site.
- Polls – Polls are great way of interacting with your readers, learning more about your visitors, and giving your readers something to look for updates on.
5 things to delete from your sidebar
- Blog Roll – I know you love your friends and have some great blog finds, but really the best place to share these is on their own page.
- Badges or Community Buttons – You are using up valuable space to give these communities free advertising. Create a page about the places you have memberships and awards you have received.
- Too Many Ads –
- Ugly Widgets – Just because your favorite website offers the option for you to add their widget it may not be the best to do it. Unless you are getting something from the widget and you have the option to make it look good and look seamless just don’t add it.
- Your WordPress Login – Unless you have an open sign up for your WordPress there is no reason for you to have the login in your sidebar. It’s really easy to bookmark your login page and take out this section no one but you uses.