How To Create The Perfect Blog Sidebar Design
I honestly think design is the most important aspect of any kind of website. If your design isn’t attractive, people won’t stick around. And… The sidebar is probably the most important element of blog design.
Your sidebar is displayed on almost every page on your blog and it’s seen by everyone. Your sidebar is great for capturing leads and monetizing visitors. It’s what makes or breaks your blog and influences conversion rates like nothing else.
The problem is most people don’t know what you now know. So they stuff their sidebar full of crappy banner ads promoting dodgy clickbank products and whatever else they get their hands on. I decided to reveal the 3 vital elements of a high converting blog sidebar:
1. Strong Call To Action
Whatever your blog, it needs a strong call to action. Every blog should have 1 clear call to action. Maybe yours is to get visitors to join your email list, download a free book, like you on Facebook or buy your e-course.
The first call to aciton you should have is an opt-in form at the very top of your sidebar. It’s the best way to capture subscribers since the top of your sidebar is what gets more attention than anything else.
Even if you didn’t plan on building a list, you should just do it – you’ll thank yourself 6 months from now.
2. Link To Posts
Every blog needs a popular posts widget. If a visitor has landed on one of your posts and thinks it’s not for him, what would you rather do: have him close the page or checkout another one of your posts?
The latter, obviously. By popular posts I mean the posts with the most comments/views or shares. Maybe your visitors are unsure of what page to visit next – so they exit leaving your bounce rate sky-high.
Not good, by having a popular posts widget you can greatly influence those people to visit your popular posts. When people are unsure about anything, they look at what other people are doing. So when they see that 203 people have left a comment on one of your posts – they’re going to want to check it out.
3. Resource Pages
Resource pages are essential if you want to boost subscription rates and keep visitors physically glued to your blog. They are pages that list of all the posts you’ve written in certain categories. For example in the online marketing niche you might have list building, email marketing, SEO and blogging.
If you’ve written a load of posts in those categories you can create resource pages for them. In each resource page you can list the posts you’ve written for the category from A-Z so visitors can start with the first post and educate themselves fully on an entire subject by the time they read the last post.
Create resource pages and plonk graphic images or hyperlinks to them in your sidebar! They literally keep people glued to your blog.
What Not To Include In Your Sidebar:
1. Links To All Social Profiles
I’ve talked about this many times before because it’s just so stupid. Many bloggers link to their Facebook, their Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Flickr, Youtube and whatever other social networks they’re active on.
We were all told to build our followings right?
You need to focus on 1 social network and 1 only. By sending your blog visitors off to follow you on 3+ social networks – you’re just scattering your following which makes it look like you don’t have one.
2. Lots Of Ads
No surprise here, just don’t do it. Lots of ads always results in worse conversions, a higher bounce rate and less money in your pocket. Instead focus on promoting 1-2 premium products in your sidebar and use the rest of your space to build your email list/keep visitors engaged in your blog content.
3. No Facebook Or Twitter Stream
Again this doesn’t really need explaining if you have half a brain. Who really gives a shit about your Facebook or Twitter updates? Most people don’t.
Sure, your loyal subscribers may do and they might account for a substantial chunk of your blog’s traffic. BUT – all of your new visitors who land on your blog every day just don’t give a damn about you or your social updates.
In fact, it’s a total and utter waste of sidebar space that could be better utilized to put more money in your pocket. Displaying a like/follow box is ok – streams are not.
P.S. Leave me your thoughts, comments and questions in the box below. Also put your name and email address in the form on the right for more cool blogging tips, tricks and secrets.