The first full week of 2016 is officially over. I’m sure you all have about 52 running lists of things you want to do to your blog. Don’t let it overwhelm you, rather excite you for what’s to come! Today’s topic is all about dat side bar.
Anyone else ever freak out when they go to a website and the side bar is on the lefthand side?
I DO. I’m not sure why, but it’s like an unwritten rule of the internet that your side bar is supposed to be on the righthand side of your main blog text. We also read left-to-right so when your body text is shifted to the right and the sidebar comes first it kind of messes up the flow of reading.
Davida and I LOVE SIDE BARS because they can really make or break a website. The side bar is not only a crucial part of your website to house important information such as your beautiful face and social icons, but also to help the cohesiveness of your brand, design-wise. We talked a lot about branding last week on Day 4, so don’t leave your side bar behind when considering your visual brand. Continue to use the same fonts, shapes, and colors as the rest of your site. At the same time, be strategic about what goes in your side bar because lots of new readers migrate to this part of your site for direction on where to go next.
Let’s take a look at a list of side bar do’s and sidebar don’ts!
Side Bar Do’s
- Headshot: We all want to see the beautiful face behind the words on your blog, so make sure it’s loud and proud in your side bar. Placement matters. The higher up you can get it the better, preferably above any ads or widgets so that it’s one of the first things seen by a reader.
- Social Icons: Your sidebar is a great place to reiterate social media icons. Most blogs have them placed there, so readers know to look in your side bar for this information.
- Search: Make it easy for readers to search for old/specific content by having a search widget in your side bar.
- Subscription: Want to increase email subscribers? Add in a subscription widget to your side bar to give readers the option to subscribe on every page of you blog.
- Favorite Posts: Have a few favorite or popular posts that you want your readers to see? Throw them in your side bar!
- Branded Social Media Widgets: Your side bar area is a great place to house an Instagram and/or Pinterest widget. One thing to keep in mind- the simpler the better!
- Ads: Looking to increase ad revenue on your site? Your side bar is a great place for ads. Work with your ad provider to find the best placement. What’s worked for us is scattering them between widgets.
- Geometric Consistency: What the what? All we’re trying to say here, is to keep your images consistent when it comes to shape.
- E-Books: Got a product? This is a great place to remind readers what you’ve got for sale on your site.
Side Bar Don’ts
- Clutter: No one wants to be the crazy clutter cat lady of blogging (nothing against cats), so just clean it up a bit! Make sure you have equal spacing between images and that you get straight to the point.
- Badges: Badges tend to clutter your side bar and dilute any sort of branding you have going on over there. If you’re going to place any badges on your site, throw a few (not too many….most of them are ugly!) in your footer or even create a “partnerships” page on your site and house them there!
- Too Much Text: Some text in your side bar is okay, but you’ll want to make sure you go visual instead of text-heavy! ie: instead of text links to your most popular blog posts, use a photo as the call to action to click.
The Side Bar Challenge
New Bloggers: Go down the do’s and don’ts checklist and start to build out your side bar!
Seasoned Bloggers: Clean it up! Get rid of unnecessary text and make things look pretty. Think about hiring on a designer to customize your plugins to better the cohesiveness of your overall website.