I always say and believe that your blog’s sidebar plays a very important role so don’t just neglect the design and arrangement of sidebar in your blog design. If you are quite new in the blogging landscape then this discussion is definitely for you. May be you are not so young in blogging but still you can give it a watch. Because sometimes as a blogger we just neglect the real importance of our blog’s side bar. But a well decorated & planned sidebar carries a lot of value to your blog. Still now you must be thinking that why I am giving so much attention to sidebar? Does it really deserve this? Yes definitely! Let me clarify you.
Sometimes what happens is that we become so much obsessed about other important things that we forgot to take a little care of our blog’s sidebar. I know you are thinking that as a solo blogger there are so much things to focus on. Yes that’s true. But beside all of these, if you take a planned approach in designing your blog’s sidebar then your blog can be more engaging to your readers.
Now here I am clarifying about how you can use your sidebar with its full potential.
Your/ your blog’s intro matters to your readers:
At first you just decide what type of blog you are planning to run. Your very own personal blog or your aim is to set up a complete professional blog. If you are running your very own personal blog then at the top of your sidebar put a well designed short biography/ intro section to give your reader a complete glimpse on you.
If you have decided to create a complete professional blog which will be one of the top blogs of tomorrow in your preferred domain then at the top of the sidebar give a solid intro of blog instead of your.
Reason: Whenever any user for the very first time visits your blog he/ she will get a clear idea about your blog. It is the first impression of you or your blog.
Now you may ask that you have already created an about page for this. Right? Ya but here my point is why not ease your reader’s experience more. Just give a clear summary in sidebar then give a link to your about page.
Give your readers a chance to socially connect with you:
Now you can add all your social media buttons, RSS subscription button & email newsletter box in compact but well designed manner.
In this era, social media is a great way to spread your voice to the masses. Even the loyal readers of your blog will get updates seamlessly through these subscription channels.
Advantage: You can reach more closer to your readers and your readers will also get chance to interact and share many interesting things with you.
Show off which is latest/ popular/ most commented articles:
As your blog’s sidebar is an entity which remains unchanged for every page. So, you can add your blog’s recent or popular or random posts to the sidebar in an interactive way. in this manner you are giving a chance to your readers to get more from your blog.
Why? Specially it is important for those visitors who have come to a specific post from any social media channels or search engines to your blog so they have not seen your first page. In this way if they liked your current post they will definitely navigate to other posts through your sidebar.
Give special attention to your commenters:
Reward your commenters in your blog. You can easily do this by setting up a widget which will show the top and recent commenters in your blog.
Pros: At first give answer to this simple Question. Why you are blogging ? Definitely to create or spread your own voice. in this way when you write a post your definite motivation is to make aware to others so when you get comments for your post it definitely feels awesome.
Now if you encourage your commenters by showing their name with comment in your sidebar then they will be more interested. In this way you are gaining your readership also.
Embed video or podcast to your blog’s sidebar for more interactivity:
You can also embed any video tutorial or podcasts to your blogs sidebar. In this way your reader’s will get a chance to look at different type of contents.
Categories, Tags & Archives are also important:
The tags you have used in all of your posts can be a great way to find related articles associated with those tags. It is same with categories also. Beside all these you can also display your blog’s archive. It gives your readers a chance to curate content from your blog deeply.
In this way your blog’s older contents will also be noticeable to your readers.
There are much more things you can add to your side bar to utilise it to its maximum potential.
NOTE: My discussion is solely depends on your blog’s design whether you have sidebar in your blog or not. So take it general note if you use sidebar based design. And from design’s/ user experience’s point of view there is no fixed rule. You can always invent newer approach to engage your readers in a more effective way.
One more thing, here I haven’t discussed about Ad placement in your blog’s sidebar. So you can use best possible ways to decide this.
What do you think regarding this?