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.

Something personal

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!

What else would you say is essential to include in your blog’s sidebar? Do you have all of the above in yours? What do you find helps makes navigating through a blog easier?

98 Comments

  1. Hey. I know this is probably such a dumb question, but I’m quite new to blogging and I’m not entirely sure how to add a search bar and follow button to my website? I’m kinda trying to get as much advice about blogging atm and learn as much as I can…Thanks x 🙂

  2. My first book blog I use to spend SO MUCH TIME on my sidebar! Then one day as I was changing my template I lost EVERYTHING. This was nearly 3 years ago, but since then I’ve still been really bummed about it (I know, so dramatic right?!) that I get weird feelings about being too attached to my sidebar now.

    I always think to update it from time to time but I just get so discouraged and afraid I’ll lose the whole thing again!

  3. I don’t have my sidebar showing on my home page, it only displays on posts. I probably should put it back but I always feel like it looks messy on mine. I think the only thing you mentioned that isn’t on my sidebar are my most recent posts as they are displayed on my homepage. Mind you, I’m still not 100% happy with how my layout looks, so I may change it up. I get bored with it so easily! 🙂 x

  4. I saw you tweet this post out & couldn’t wait to read it. These are absolutely all so vital!! I personally like seeing an Archive on the sidebar; I like being able to snoop & see how long they’ve been blogging, & I think by clicking on specific months or years, you can get a real feel of how they’ve grown, what they’ve enjoyed talking about the most, and more. xx

    twinklexthoughts.blogspot.com

  5. I actually forgot to ever have a follow blog button on the sidebar for a long time until a reader on twitter asked me where the button was – I hadn’t realized I never put it on the side!
    
And yes to adding a list of your most recent posts – it’s one of the ways I stay on a blog longer, as I’m reading something will catch my eye and suddenly I’m 4 posts in haha!

    YES SEARCH BARS! I’ve come across a few blogs that don’t have a search bar and I feel like I’m lost if I don’t see one.

    I actually didn’t know there was a plugin for goodreads – I love to read too, it’s a great way to keep track of the books I read & want to read. I only recently discovered goodreads and wow! I really wish I came across it sooner.

    I have all of these in my side-bar (minus goodreads haha!) which makes me happy!
    
I would say something that is a must on the side bar is a way for readers to follow you on all socials 🙂

    Sahara
    http://saharas-dreams.blogspot.com

    1. Yes! Goodreads have a widget section where you create your widget and then add it into your sidebar 🙂 I love seeing the GR widget on people’s sidebars and yes definitely socials are important too! The amount of times I’ve not been able to find a blogger on Twitter because their twitter link isn’t anywhere is ridiculous!

  6. I’m definitely going to make some changes to mine – I literally have only 1 of the 4 you mentioned 🤦🏼‍♀️ – I have my most recent Instagram photos in my sidebar and I really like that, it’s firever changing.

  7. Ooh recent posts – now there is a good idea. Now to figure out how… I’m sure it’s easy when I start looking. I completely agree about the follow button – why make it hard? Great post as always, some new tips to store away!

  8. Will have to double check mine now!!! But love the idea of the goodreads shelf as I’ve just discovered this app and loving it!!

  9. Really find this post useful and helpful! I agree a sidebar is so essential and important to utilize, it’s where a lot of eyes go towards when visitors go to your site! I try to have mine with search bar for sure, with my photo, information about me, alongside a few extras, but nothing too overwhelming!

  10. This is a wonderfully helpful post, not only for new bloggers but experienced bloggers who need a bit of a revamp of their blog too! I always love seeing a little personal touch such as an ‘about me’ section or just a little insight into the blogger themselves as I love finding out more about the blogger behind the screen! xx
    http://www.imjustagirl16.co.uk

  11. Great post! This is actually really helpful I never know what’s the most important things and which ways to put them on my sidebar, need to add my follower button to mine! X

  12. I actually had no idea that Blogger had some sidebar widget options for subscribing and following – so this post was the kick start I needed to figure out which one would be best to incorporate into my sidebar!

    Thanks for that!

  13. Whew! I’m all there! Well, I need to check that “something personal”, but otherwise, it’s good to see I’m on the right track according to someone with way more experience than me. Thanks!

    Check it out and let me know your thoughts. Myquirkyfriend.com

  14. I also like seeing a ‘featured posts’ or ‘popular posts’ widget in sidebars. Gives me an idea of someone’s best posts.

  15. This is a really helpful post Jenny! I only recently added a search box to my side bar as I completely forgot about it until I was browsing through the available widgets ha ha. I definitely agree with adding something personal, I always read the bio when I discover a new blog as its the quickest way to find out about someone. I have a list of random posts in my sidebar, but maybe a list of recent posts would be a better idea. Thanks for the suggestions, fab post as always! <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  16. when a blog i want to follow doesn’t have a follow button on their sidebar i internally scream because how do you expect people to follow your blog without a button??