A sidebar plays a vital role in your blog design, it helps to make your design attractive and moreover decreases bounce rate. Your target should be to keep a visitors on your blog for as long time as possible, this can only be possible if you have good content and sidebar has proper widgets. In my today’s article I am going to tell you how to make the most out of your sidebar. Lets start :
Should sidebar be on left or right hand side
Though the answer to this question depends upon the theme of your blog but generally it is recommended to keep the sidebar on the right hand side. Why ? Usually humans start reading from left hand side, so when a first time visitor comes to your blog, the first thing he/she must read should be the content and not the sidebar widgets. Though it is not any hard and fast rule, it depends upon the blog design.
There are few widgets that you must have in your blog and they are :
At the top of the sidebar you must have a short description about your blog, of just about 20 words.
Importance : When any first time visitor comes to your blog, he/she should know what your blog is about and if you’ve given proper description the visitor will definitely subscribe to your blog.
It is must to have a subscription box, because it helps your blog readers to read your article in their mailbox. You can register to a free service called FeedBurner that delivers your recent articles to subscribed members mailbox.
Recent articles, recent comments and popular articles
These three are the most important widgets that you must have in your sidebar, the first time visitor can easily read latest and popular articles through sidebar. Recent comments and posts widgets are available by default but to display popular articles there are two methods :
- You can install this plugin called WordPress Popular Post
- You can also display popular posts manually
As told in my previous post, 70 Tips to Get Traffic To Your Blog, it is must you create a weekly and monthly roundups so that all your articles gets wraps up at one place. So, it is good to have monthly and weekly roundup links in the sidebar.
Categories & Tag Clouds
To show which topic you cover in your blog, it is good to display categories and tag cloud in the sidebar. Categories can be added direclty to the sidebar by drag and drop method but to display tag cloud, you can use the following code.
<?php wp_tag_cloud(”); ?>
Copy the code above and paste it in the sidebar, where you want to display the tag cloud.
If you’ve a multi author blog, then its good to place a login form in the sidebar so that it becomes easy for other members to login. To add a login form, you can use this WordPress plugin called Sidebar Login.
If you’ve more sidebar widgets and less space, then I recommend you to place tabs in the sidebar. Adding tabs to sidebar saves a lot of space in the sidebar. You can refer to this tutorial on Adding tabs to your blog sidebar.
These were few most important widgets that every blog should have, so that first time visitor gets enough content in a single page. I hope you like this little article, I’ll definitely want to know more about your views regarding making most out of the sidebar.