Back when blogs were new, sidebars were prime real estate. If you were getting some traffic, having a couple of good ads in your sidebar could net you a decent amount of money pretty quickly.
But what happened is that over the years, people (readers) got immune to the siren call of those ads – and these days, sidebar ads are rarely clicked at all.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use sidebar ads!! In fact, I’ve got a few of them right now.
But I think it’s important to realize that your sidebar has some good uses that you should take advantage of. In fact, I think there are certain things that every sidebar should have.
Identify Yourself in Your Sidebar
As bloggers, we want to connect with our readers, right? How can they connect if they don’t know who you are?
An “About Me” page is absolutely a necessity – but I believe every blog should have a little introductory blurb at the top of their sidebar – with a picture of your smiling face. It brings personality and character to your blog and reminds people that they’re dealing with an actual person here, not some faceless internet entity.
Give Your Readers a Search Box
When readers come to your blog, they may be looking for some specific information. Maybe it’s a recipe, maybe it’s a review you did on an exercise bike.
Whatever it is they’re looking for, help them find it by having an easy to find search box at or near the top of your sidebar – I think it’s best if it’s above the fold.
Sidebar Opt-in Forms
Here’s the deal about creating a blog business. Your blog exists to draw traffic. When people come to your blog, your goal is to convert them into a customer, right? The best way to convert blog readers into customers is by marketing through your email list.
Did you know that, depending on your niche, the typical email list earns an average of $1-3 per subscriber per month?
I say all this so that you understand just how important it is to have a subscriber list opt-in on your sidebar.
Now – there are other things that can be very helpful to have in your sidebar. I think having a most popular post list is a smart idea, and many people choose to have social media buttons so people can find them on Facebook or Pinterest. Others may choose to have a list of their blog’s categories, or some sort of call to action. But I don’t think any of those things are “must haves”.
But I don’t think any of those things are “must haves”, like the three things I listed here.
In fact, I can think of reasons not to have some of them – for example, I want people to join my email list, so I don’t put social media follow buttons on my sidebar. The only way anyone sees my social media follow buttons is if they’ve gone past everything else on a post – at the very bottom of the page. By that time, they’ve had at least 2 or 3 opportunities to join my email list, and if they still haven’t, well, maybe I can get them on FB or Twitter 🙂
But in the end, that’s a decision that you need to make for yourself – you may be super active on social media and have a slamming community on your Facebook or Instagram; in that case, by all means, you should keep doing what’s working for you. Because in the end, that’s really the only thing that matters – what works best for you.
If you found this post helpful, I hope you’ll share it by clicking one of the buttons below!