Let’s Talk Sidebars
Today I thought we would chat about sidebars. It’s where we show a bit of our personality, maybe some fan pictures or blog love. I am not going to talk about cleaning it up, or the time load those images and widgets require, not to mention how they distract the eye. Or the fact that last year’s read-a-thon is still posted there …..you have heard it all. Today I am going to mention things that should be in your sidebar to help visitors navigate your site and stick around.
1. Recent Posts
This is especially true for WordPress blogs since a lot of us have landing pages that display several posts. When I come to your site for a particular post sometimes I want to check out other posts. Without a recent post widget in your sidebar I have to repeatedly click your home button (do you have a home button or link?) and scroll down the page then click on new post. A recent posts area in your sidebar allows me to quickly pick things that interest me. It encourages others to move beyond the present page. It also eliminates a few steps and I may not have a high speed browser. Make it easy and showcase recent posts.
- Collapsing Archive Plugin- this is a great way to showcase recent posts. You can upload it here for WordPress and it is a gadget or Blogger.
- Recent Post Widget– this is a feature of UBB but you can also upload the widget for WordPress here.
2. Search button
Either in your sidebar or header offer users the chance to look up reviews or particular posts
3. Social media Buttons
Make these visible. Don’t make me work for it. While that twitter bird is cute I might not find it if it’s on the right side below all of your scrolling widgets. House like things together and keep these at the top of your blog. There are tons of free social media icons and you can create a nice neat html widget for them all.
If you host an event or challenge have a link in the sidebar or menu that I can easily find to update my progress. This is good practice and one I suggest when you are doing hops as well. It increases traffic to the event.
5. Follow Options
Offer at least two ways to follow and make sure these are easy to find.