Sidebar Clutter: Time For Some Cleaning

Steven3 responsesBlogging

You don’t have to be a hoarder to start piling up widgets in your sidebar.

Unfortunately, this is a problem shared by many.

We find a new widget that does something funny or interesting, get excited about it, and decide to add it to the long list of widget that we once fell in love with.

Well, now is the time to clean your sidebar!

But…

What do you take out when you decide to declutter your sidebar?

And, more important – What do you do with all that empty space?

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1. What To Take Out Of Your Sidebars

  • Non-relevant ads: If their not relevant to your readers they’re not clicking on them anyway and no amount of wishing will ever turn that around. They look spammy. Get rid of them.
  • Non-performing ads: If your readers are clicking but you’re still not getting conversions, either replace them or get rid of them altogether. Every square inch of your blog should be directly or indirectly bringing in income. Those non-performing ads are wasting space.
  • Social Widgets: Those Facebook and Twitter widgets are doing nothing for your social proof, especially if the Tweets or follow number haven’t changed recently. Enable counters on your sharing buttons at the end of each post and get rid of those widgets in your sidebar. They’re just cluttering up the place.
  • Calendars: Your readers have a calendar on their desks and they really don’t care what day’s you’ve posted recently. All they care about is today. The calendar is just more unnecessary clutter.
  • Counters: Counting page views or comments or likes or shares or anything in your sidebar is just a waste of time and space. Put the counters on the buttons and put the buttons near your content.
  • Blogrolls: While there are some readers who like to surf blog rolls, in most cases they’re just more clutter in the sidebar, especially if you never check to make sure those blogs are still up and running.

2. What You Should Have In Your Sidebars

Now that your sidebars are empty (See how that worked?) it’s time to put in the elements that really help make your blog better.

  • Links to Popular Content: Optimize your most popular posts and then link to them in your sidebar.
  • Links to Pillar Posts: Optimize pillar posts and link to them in the sidebar.
  • Follow Buttons: Place your Follow Me Buttons above the fold to attract more attention.
  • Subscription Form: Place your subscription form right at the top of your sidebar and increase your subscribers.

3. Utilize These Other Areas Of Your Blog

  • Footer: Most bloggers forget all about the footer but it’s another key area on your blog. Most readers never make it all the way down to the bottom of the page, so those who do are really engaged. Utilize footer space just like your sidebars – send your readers to more valuable content elsewhere on your blog.
  • Header: Your header gets a lot of attention, it’s right there at the top of the page. It’s prime Real Estate for advertisers, and it’s also a great spot to put your Follow Me buttons.
  • Inside Content: Text links inside your content will generally convert better than any ad you place in your sidebar because they look more natural to your readers. So ditch the banners and use your affiliate link to create keyword rich text links inside your posts.

Once you’ve decluttered your sidebar, step back here and tell us how it looks.

Maybe we’ll all come and check it out!

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3 Comments

  1. Mary Margaret

    Very valuable information for blog writers. You have valuable information to share and you want to attract, grow and stay connected with an audience that shares interests and values while at the same time sustaining a flow of wealth. There’s nothing I love more than a blog post that is easy to act on in a way that benefits all-

  2. Punit Arora

    Thanks. I enjoy reading your advice. Keep up the good work. Interesting that you specify a minimum word count for the comment. What’s the rationale for that? Would love to hear your thoughts on that.

  3. Rew

    Absolutely awesome post. I’m going through and decluttering as we speak. I’m curious though, you say to get rid of your social media widgets, but you also say to keep the “Follow Me” buttons. Is that referring to the social media buttons, just without the feeds? And wouldn’t putting the buttons in your header defeat you more by pushing down your content?

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