How To Make An Effective Blog Sidebar Design?

Your sidebar is one of the most important aspects of your website. If nothing is there, your site can look empty. If too many things are there, your site can look over complicated, causing visitors to leave your site. You need the right combination of elements that allows for a pleasant user experience.

effective use blog sidebar inspiration tips How To Make An Effective Blog Sidebar Design?

Image credit: 1stwebdesigner.com

Design

Planning the design of your sidebar is just as important as planning the rest of your website’s design. Many people may be shocked to hear this. The fact is, your sidebar shows up on every single page of your website. Whether a visitor lands on the homepage or a subcategorized page relating to a piece of content that they were searching for, they will see that sidebar. So now that you’ve decided to add a sidebar to your page, what should you add to it? Or if you already have a sidebar on your site, what should you keep to ensure that your visitors are happy?

Simplify, then Track

The first thing you should keep in mind when factoring in what to add to your sidebar is to keep it simple. Start by adding categories like past posts, possibly a blog roll, and possibly an advertisement for a product you are promoting. Start with no more than five different elements to for the sidebar. After adding these elements, set up some type of click tracking and website monitoring software. There are tons of companies that provide this service, including Google Analytics.

Alternatively you can submit your site to one of many services (paid) that perform “heat mapping” so that you can see exactly where a visitor clicks on your page (or where their eyes track, depending on the service). After monitoring activity for around a month or so, decide whether or not you need to make changes. Look for trends such as if people are clicking on certain elements on your sidebar. If certain elements are hardly being clicked, it’s time to swap them out for something new.

Minimize Links

Besides the elements listed above, make sure to keep your link count relatively low and make sure that the elements fit well into the design of the page. Superflous links should be embedded elsewhere. If you are selling products using affiliate links, the sidebar is often a great home for them, as your audience will look to the sidebar for when considering how next to engage your site beyond the core content.

The Toolbox Concept

Think of the sidebar as a toolbox and the core content as the project at hand. Many audience members will use the sidebar to access “tools” that they might need as they work on (digest, read, interact with, etc.) your core content. Placing commonly sought after tools at the ready in the sidebar makes the user’s interaction that much more enjoyable.

Contact information, such as business addresses are better placed in the footer or on a separate page than in the sidebar. However, as social media sites become more and more integral these days to users interactions, having those at the ready in the sidebar is a useful placement.

Static, yet Dynamic

Be sure to also add links to content that gets updated daily or weekly. While you want to keep the sidebar organized, which may mean that placement remains consistent over time, so you’re your users know where to find the links they commonly interact with, your sidebar will quickly turn boring for repeat visitors if the links to be clicked all lead to pages that haven’t been updated in years. You need to keep this content fresh and exciting so that visitors will want to return. In other words, link placement may remain static, but the links themselves may change. Granted you need to consider the link itself when making this determination. An integral link should remain; but a revolving link should change.

Tying this all together, it’s important to keep your sidebar clean and sleek. Don’t overdo it on how many widgets you add. You need to link to relevant updated content and keep the link count low. By utilizing these tips, you should have a great looking sidebar that will actively encourage your website’s visitors to return again.

34 comments… add one

  • I always prefer right sidebar. which one do you prefer ?

    • I think we have the same prefer.

    • I love that way too, readers are familiar with contents-sidebar too

      • I too prefer Right Sidebar, but i guess your post has less images, if you had added images for most of the points, the post would have looked more beautiful

        • Thanks for your suggestions even I am bad at design :-)

          • Neither i m good at designing, i can only code, i just gave a suggestion regarding the Post

          • That is good enough and I wish I could code what I like :-)

    • I believe that we get used to see blog with right sidebar everywhere, therefore we set our mind that the design should only look right in this way. In my opinion, no matter how good is the design, simple, clean and neat is the only design I like. As long as the design is easy for navigation, then people will love it. :)

      • Yes, we all are familiar with right sidebar but some designs now use left sidebar and it looks cool too. As long as the design is easy for navigation, our readers will love it :-)

        P/S: I am planning to have summer vacation in Malaysia and Singapore this June, any suggestions for hotel there? :-) Thanks in advance

        • Cool! Between, which part of Malaysia you’ll be going? I assume you’re going to the most happening city which is “Kuala Lumpur”? There are many states in Malaysia, you have to specify which states you’re going then I would try to suggest you on the hotel. I’m currently working in Kuala Lumpur.

          Regarding Singapore, I went there for few times before, but still not familiar with the hotel as I stayed my relative’s house everytime I traveled there. In overall, Singapore is a nice place!

          • I planned to stay about two-three days days in Kuala Lumpur and I would love to stay in a nice hotel but affordable :-) I have looked at agoda.com site but there are a lot of hotels and I think searching on the internet sometimes does not work :-) I will try to find a hotel in Singapore too

  • I will try to implement this tips while making sidebar design in my blog.

  • I have also a right side bar but I’m thinking to add a search box and a recently posted feature as my content is growing.Thank you for the tips

    • Yes, that is good idea but don’t add to much info as readers don’t like a messy sidebar :-)

  • First of all nice article Jonathan.
    I Don’t think that we should remove all sidebar views from all Pages.
    Yes side bar is matters for Bounce rate as well as for Attraction.
    Thanks for this article.

    • That can also keep our readers stay longer or a good way to sell ads too :-)

  • I think side bars are pretty important! Nice post, Jonathan.

  • We’ve tried so many different sidebar designs and are still experimenting. I’m not sure at this point if there is a one-size-fits-all formula. It seems to me that we should just keep trying until we get lucky.

    • I do agree that there is no one-size-fit-all model and we should try different ways to find the most appropriate that serve your readers the best :-)

  • Very helpful blog I have already taken a lot of stuff off of my sidebar as even I thought it looked too complicated. thanks for the advice and keep em coming.

  • Having good content on sidebar is really important, I have already removed lot of stuff from my sidebar and only have things which I think is useful to my readers…We need to keep link count to low…

    • Good strategy dude :-) We blog for readers not for bots so as long as our readers love, we are right!

  • Its a comprehensive post on side bar and before reading this post, I didnot know that how much side bar is important in a website. I always confused in managing side bar but now I know what I have to do with this.

  • Side bar should be simple and you have given good idea that the elements should not be more then 5. What do you think, which side is more suitable for side bar, right or left?

    • I still prefer right sidebar but some designs show left sidebars that looks professional and beautiful :-)

  • nice points mate , good explanation . Some times i will remove sidebars in my micro niche sites . my MN sites was looks worst without sidebar . Sidebar is must have for good look ;)

    • You can also generate sales with your sidebars dude :-)

      • yup! but mostly i will generate sales from content .

        • That is cool but don’t ignore your sidebar as it can do more than generating extra revenue :-)

  • Well, Coding is pretty easy, if you need help, i will give u list of good tutorials and resources

    • Great. I would love to study this, please share with me these resources dude. Thanks

  • I am involved with this company and have made a decent amount of money earning from several income streams simultaneously

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