Most blogs these days have a sidebar and it’s usually one of the first things you notice when you discover a new blog. What’s in that sidebar however can be incredibly important to growing your blog, your audience and encouraging people to spend more time on your blog rather than clicking off and going elsewhere. Remember, we’re not in the days of Piczo anymore so whilst flashing images, neon graphics and moving GIF’s might grab someones attention, it’ll soon give them a headache. Sidebars need to be (relatively) clean, easy to understand but most importantly, include the right information to benefit your fabulous blog! So let’s get into it, shall we? Here are some super handy things you can include in your blogs sidebar.
A follow button
“Alright, Captain obvious!” I hear you scream but seriously, having a follow button or an option for people to sign up to your blog via email in your sidebar is really handy and you know what’s even more handy? Having it right at the top, so it’s not hidden among a bunch of other things and easily scrolled past. It’s amazing how many blogs I go on that don’t offer you an easy option to follow them. At the end of the day, humans are pretty lazy and we want things as simple as possible so ensure your follow button is jumping out of your screen and smacking people in the face (but don’t have loads of annoying pop ups asking people to sign up for this or that because that can be just as detrimental).
A list of your most recent posts
I use these on other people’s blogs so much, why? Because I’m lazy! (I know, we’ve just covered that). But seriously, if I’m reading a post and I see a list of their other posts right next to me, I’m going to be intrigued and I’m definitely more likely to click on one of them rather than clicking back to the homepage and scrolling from there. That might just be me (because we know I’m lazy by now) but it’s another useful tool to encourage people to stay on your blog for longer.
A search bar
Please, for the love of blogging, have a search bar in your sidebar. Just don’t even question it. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy with fireworks, just a simple search bar that allows you to search for things. It’s really quite a neat invention. This is one the main things I’ve seen people moan about on Twitter, is other bloggers not having search bars so clearly it’s quite a universally desired thing when it comes to blogging. Seriously though, it just makes life easier. When compiling your sidebar think, “will this make a readers life easier?” If the answer is yes, then it might be a good option to include it. And a search bar definitely makes things easier.
Despite most bloggers having mostly the same stuff in their sidebars (which is totally okay), you still want yours to stand out and not look identical to the blogger next to you, so including something a little more personal to you can help shnazz up your sidebar (remind me never to say ‘shnazz’ again). This could be your blog button or a photo of you. I used to be a book blogger and I’m still a huge reader, so I have my Goodreads, “currently reading” shelf displayed on my sidebar so anyone who’s interested in books knows that they have that in common with me!