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30 Days to a Better Blog: Consider Your Sidebar

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30 Days to a Better Blog: Consider Your Sidebar

Genesis Framework Themes I’ll admit it … I have a pet peeve when it comes to blog sidebars. It bothers me when the length of the sidebar is considerably longer than the length of a post.

Why?Because when I first land on a page, I take note of the position of the scroll bar on the right side of my browser. If it looks like I have a lot of scrolling, that impacts how I read the post. Imagine my surprise when I scroll down one time, the content ends, but the sidebar goes on forever?!

Really, what’s the point? People are going to stop at the end of your content, so anything further down on your sidebar is going to get lost. And it’s really an easy fix. You can either:

  1. Lengthen your posts.
  2. Shorten your sidebar.

The first option requires reanalyzing your content structure and amount of writing. The second option is really quite easy! Here are a few ways you can shorten your sidebar:

  • Add a second sidebar. Many of the good WordPress themes offer a second sidebar – you can add it on the opposite side of your content, or have two sidebars next to one another.
  • Add a top menu. If you don’t have a top menu for your categories/pages – consider adding one to remove that bulk from your sidebar.
  • Remove duplicate content. If you do have a menu on the top for your categories/pages – you don’t need to duplicate it with a list or dropdown on your sidebar.
  • Condense your sidebar. If your sidebar is still too lengthy, you may have to dump some items. Analyze what’s important – a search bar, advertising, social media buttons, a quick bio perhaps – and start deleting the rest. Tag clouds may be fun to look at, but if you already have multiple methods of navigation, it’s something that can go!

What’s on your sidebar and is it all necessary?

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld.com. She has been a freelance writer and blogger for over a decade, writing for About.com, iVillage and b5media. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni.


Feedback

4
  • Judy Helfand

    Nikki,
    This is important advice. I think what happens to most of us is that we become comfortable with our “product”, in this case our blog. We forget to look at like a new visitor. Blogger also features multiple sidebars. One thing we did on our business blog was to make our sidebar features collapseable. For example, previous posts, labels, blogroll, and archives can be expanded or reduced. But now that I review our business blog, I see that we are displaying seven(7) posts and that really appears to be too many. We will clean this up.

    Judy

  • Nikki

    Judy, collapsible content is a great alternative – and yes, lowering the amount of posts and/or comments that display can help.

    • Judy Helfand

      Nikki,
      I knew my spelling of collapsible looked funny…I was juggling a few tasks. I am glad you understood what I was saying. Sometimes I wish comment software had spellcheck!

      Judy

  • Connie McKnight

    I’m so glad you posted this today. I was looking at my blog today trying to decide if I should make any additonal changes to my sidebar. I removed the opt in form for it was not effective and have to put up a new one. Placement is essential, isn’t it?

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