Design Tips

Don’t Make This Mistake: Declutter Your Sidebar

You can tell when your sidebar is too cluttered when you’ve piled on badges, buttons and ads into them that they no longer get clicked on. If you want to determine how popular the items in your sidebar, I’d suggest installing a heat map like Sumome or checking your Google Analytics In-Page views to see where you’re getting clicks.

Your readers develop ad blindness when there are too many items in your sidebar, you do know that this a primary real estate. Do not clog it up with buttons and awards that you’ve received just because you were told to show it off.

Declutter your sidebar - You can tell when your sidebar is too cluttered when you have badges, buttons and ads that no one clicks on

 

Declutter your sidebar

No badges and buttons

You’re readers don’t need to know that you were one of the top 100 so and so on every single page of your site. They don’t need to see your favorite blog links to your friends, or know what ad network you belong to, it doesn’t serve them. If you participate in weekly link-ups, some of them require you to link to their site, don’t do this in your sidebar, instead take all of your badges and buttons and add them to a page instead and add the link to your footer or menu. Totally still there but definitely not in your prime real estate.

Minimize Ads and Affiliate Buttons

If figure if you want to monetize your blog, go all out, the higher up on the sidebar the ad is, the more revenue it is going to garner you. Don’t just slap an ad at the bottom of the sidebar and think you’re going to be rolling in the dough. Go all out, it needs to be at the top. If you have 10 affiliate buttons to click on, no one is going to click  on any of them. Select a few, quality affiliate programs that you want to promote and place 2 or 3 ads in your sidebar.  In fact, sidebar ads get so little clicks, the best way to monetize with affiliate links is to link those to posts that you’ve written about the product so you can sell the product to your readers with a genuine review.

No meta login widget

You know that default widget that all blogs come preinstalled with that lists

Meta

  • Log in
  • Entries RSS
  • Comments RSS
  • WordPress.org

Please get rid of this, you or your reader do not need to have this site there in your sidebar.

No blogrolls or counters

Please do not add these and if you have them take them off, this screams newbie blogger and it’s something that you can use a page or post to promote your favorite links better than using just a text link in the sidebar.

What to keep in your sidebar

  • A search bar (a must)
  • A picture of you and short bio if you can sling it – key is short
  • Images to your most popular posts to help readers find your content
  • An email subscription box that captures subscribers
  • Buttons to your social media for readers to connect with you

What do you think is a must for your sidebar?

Follow along in my series and Best Ways to Grow Your Blog.

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2 Comments

  1. Love these tips! I also have a dropdown menu for archived posts in my sidebar, but I’m starting to think that readers can just use the search bar if they want to find something. Guess I have some cleaning up to do!

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