Why your blog needs a sidebar (and what needs to be in it)


Golden pencil and notebook

Looking at other bloggers, I noticed most of them had a blog sidebar.

What does that mean exactly?

Instead of having just a widescreen of text, part of the page on the side is reserved for important stuff and stays the same no matter what part of the blog you are on. I’ve included an example below of my blog sidebar at the time of writing this.

Now you know what a blog sidebar is, what’s the point in having one?

Why your blog needs a sidebar

WHY YOUR BLOG NEEDS A SIDEBAR

When I first started blogging, I knew I wanted to eventually turn my blog into a business.  I started to take note of what other successful bloggers were doing so that I could follow in their footsteps.

(Looking to make money blogging too? You can read about how I made my first £50 here, or how these bloggers make $1000+ every month! ).

When it came to themes, nearly all of the bloggers I looked up to (the ones that were making money) had a theme with an interactive sidebar.

And it got me thinking, do you need a blog sidebar?

Some of the benefits include:

IT BREAKS UP TEXT

A widescreen full of text can be very intimidating for readers. Having a blog sidebar breaks up that thick wall of text to make your blog look more interesting and less wordy.

IT MAKES YOUR BLOG LOOK MORE PROFESSIONAL

You and I as bloggers know it’s not actually that hard to use a blog sidebar (I show you how in my how to start a blog guide). However visitors to your blog don’t. Having an interactive sidebar in your blog makes it look more professional as it makes it seem like you know more about the techy side of blogging. (Even if you don’t. Because trust me, I don’t).

IT MAKES YOUR BLOG EASIER TO NAVIGATE 

Visitors to your blog are more likely to take a good look around if they feel they can easily navigate it. By having links to various different pages or the potential to go elsewhere on your sidebar, visitors will be more inclined to click on various pages and links on your blog. They feel secure enough that they can find their way back as your interactive sidebar appears on every page of your blog.

IT CREATES FAMILIARITY

Think of your blog as a physical space, like your home. You want people who are new to your home to feel welcome, and to feel familiar with their surroundings. The same applies to your virtual blog. In order to build a good relationship with your readers you want to create a sense of familiarity. And having a sidebar on each page can help your readers reach that sense of familiarity sooner.

YOU CAN GET MORE SUBSCRIBERS

Having a sidebar can actually help you get more subscribers quicker. How? Add an opt-in box right at the top of your sidebar and that will appear on every page, meaning more people will see it and more subscribers for you!

YOU CAN EARN MORE MONEY

Just like if you want to get more subscribers you put an opt-in box in your sidebar, if you want to make money you can put something in your sidebar that will make you money. (More on this further down).

And these are just some of the benefits to having a sidebar on your blog. There must be more!

Now that you know the benefits of having a blog sidebar, I’m sure you want to add one to your blog. But, what should you put in it?

WHAT YOUR BLOG SIDEBAR NEEDS

Below I’ve made a list of things that you might want to put in your blog sidebar. Again, these are things I noticed that bloggers who were making money from their blog had in their blog sidebar.

A SMALL ABOUT YOU SECTION

Whenever someone visits your blog, it’s your chance to create a connection with that person. And this connection is what will make you a successful blogger. The one who has loads of subscribers, makes loads of sales… you know the type.

You want to straight away be working on creating that connection. After all, people are visiting your blog through a screen. They don’t know the person behind the screen and they won’t if you don’t let them!

Including a small “About” section with an image of you will straight away introduce you to the reader, and remind them there’s someone behind the screen working hard that they can connect with.

AN OPT-IN/ SUBSCRIBE BOX

If you’re a blogger, you’ve probably heard this a thousand times. But that’s because it’s true. The only list you own is your email list. And what I mean by that is if for some weird reason all social media went down, the only way you’ve got to contact your readers is through your email list.

Now I’m no angel, and email marketing is something I’ve yet to tackle. But I’ve still made the effort to put a sign up box in my sidebar. Even if you’re thinking “But what the heck would I send them?!”. THAT’S TOTALLY FINE. Cause that’s what I’m thinking right now too! Just take advantage whilst you can, and collect emails now.

It’s as easy as putting a subscribe box in your sidebar. It will appear on every page, and if people like your stuff they will sign up and want to have emails from you. Even if that is in months to come.

A SEARCH TOOL/ CATEGORIES LIST

As I explained earlier, having an interactive sidebar can make your blog easier to navigate. And this is one of the ways how.

Having a search tool or categories list provides an easy way for readers to find more of your content. If they’re on your blog and reading your posts, they’re probably interested in other things you have to say. So go ahead and make it easy for them to find!

A LINK TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES

Lots of people will read your blog post, and then decide that they like you and want to follow you on social media. Having links to you social media accounts means that wherever they are on your blog, they can easily follow you on social media. Meaning more followers for you!

Even if you don’t have many social media accounts for your blog yet, that’s totally fine. I actually only have a Pinterest account for my blog at the time of writing this, but I’ve put a widget in that shows one of my Pinterest boards so anyone finding my blog through google can also access my Pinterest account immediately.

SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR PRODUCT

You know how I said earlier that you can make money from your sidebar? This is one of the ways how.

If you’ve created your own product, you need to be advertising it well in order to get sales. And of course, mentioning it in your sidebar is a great way to do that. It does appear on every page of your blog after all.

Even better is including a link directly to your product/ sales page. That way people can click on it no matter where they are on your blog. More clicks to your product = more sales for you!

LINKS TO OTHER MONEY PAGES

If you don’t have a product to sell, why not include a section or link to a page that will make you money in other ways? It could be a link to pages with your favourite products to make money through affiliate marketing. Or a link to your page where you provide services. Get imaginative- this space appears on every part of your blog, and if you’re not using it you’re missing out on money!

DISCLOSURES

If you’re making money through your blog, you might need to have a disclosure. I know in particular that some affiliate programmes require you to disclose that you are taking part in them immediately. So best to be sure- disclose that you are a part of said programme by putting it in your blog sidebar. That way it can’t be disputed that it wasn’t made clear. It’s on every page of your blog!

You can also disclose other things such as copyrights, privacy policies, etc.

These are the main things I noticed successful bloggers had in their sidebar. However if these aren’t enough…

OTHER THINGS TO ADD TO YOUR BLOG SIDEBAR

ADVERTISEMENTS

Again, another easy way to make money through your blog sidebar. These adverts will appear on every page, and so are an easy way to make money.

RECENT POSTS LIST

It’s hard to keep people engaged once they are on your blog. And one of the best ways to do this is constantly give them more possible blog posts they might like to read. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve quickly visited a blog for a tutorial, and ended up with a list of their posts I wanted to read before I left again!).

Having a recent posts list, related posts lists or something similar in your sidebar is a great way to keep people on your blog reading more. As this way they constantly have more material to read, no matter what page they are on.

FREEBIES!

People LOVE free stuff! This isn’t a necessity, but a great way to make your subscribers box more appealing is to include a freebie with it. As a visitor to other blogs I am always more likely to subscribe if there’s a freebie involved. And I’m guessing you would to. And so will all the visitors to your website.

I say this often, but people want as much as they can get for as little effort as possible. So give it to them! The more you offer them (a freebie instead of just “sign up), the more they will give you (more people will sign up).

WHATEVER YOU WANT TO ADD!

This is the beauty of having your own blog- it’s yours! So you can add what you want to it! Just think, your sidebar is an empty space that appears everywhere on your blog. What will benefit you the most to have on there?

I hope this post has convinced you to add a sidebar to your blog, and helped you decide what to put in it. If it has, please share it on Pinterest!

 What your blog sidebar needs

Otherwise, check out these posts you might like:

Want a successful blog? Click to read why your blog needs a sidebar and what needs to be in it. Check out these tips for blogging beginners and find out more about your blog design now, or repin for inspo later #bloggingtips #bloggingforbeginners #blog #blogdesign

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