5 THINGS YOU NEED IN YOUR BLOG SIDEBAR TO MAKE AN IMPACT
Spoiler alert - your blog sidebar is actually pretty important.
It appears on your blog posts. It might even appear on your homepage. Your blog sidebar is a key component of your website, just like mascara is a key part of your make-up collection (sorry guys!)
And by using this space on your website strategically, you can make a HUGE impact on your readers.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through the five main things I think every sidebar should have (and some things I think it shouldn’t have).
Some of this might sound obvious, but I feel like I need to tell it to you again, because there are so many bloggers out there who aren’t utilising their sidebars.
If you’ve not started a blog yet, this post is still going to be relevant to you! And be sure to check out this article about learning how to beat your fears when it comes to starting a blog.
So let’s get going and set you a little bit of homework, shall we? Because I know you want to make a real impact with your readers and part of that comes down to your blog sidebar. Let’s go.
P.S I've created a personalised template for you that you can use as a guide when revamping your own sidebar. Enter your details below to get it!
#1 | A SECTION ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BLOG
First things first, you definitely want to have a section that briefly introduce you and your blog. This is a really useful part of your blog sidebar, because it tells readers exactly who you are and what to expect from your content as soon as they land on your website.
It’s simple - your readers will find it much easier to connect with you when they know more about you. Honestly, it makes such a difference between building an audience and building a community.
Here are a few elements I think this section should include:
A picture of yourself. Obvious, right? People want to see the person behind the blog! Make sure it reflects your personality and looks professional (no selfies please).
Your name. Seriously, it’s surprising how many bloggers still don’t put their name on their blog. What about when someone wants to get in touch with you? It’s so hard for people to make a connection with you if they don’t know who you are. This will make the world of difference when it comes to people coming back to your site. You are your brand. Your name is important.
A little intro to you and your blog. This part is important, because your blog just isn’t about you. People want to know why they’re here and how your blog is going to help them. Make it easy for them to find out whether they’ve come to the right place by getting your brand statement right in there.
A link to your About page. Your intro is brief and your About page is the call to action. “If you want to read more about my story, click here” and then you fill them with #alltheinfo.
So if you haven’t already realised, having an intro to you and your blog is really important within your blog sidebar. Don’t be afraid to show your face. Don’t be afraid to be the face of your brand. Be proud of your space on the internet and show yourself off.
#2 | SOCIAL MEDIA BUTTONS
Now I’m guessing you want people to follow you elsewhere when they come to your blog, right? So under your bio, include links to your social media accounts. This is really easy in Squarespace because you just link them up and you’re done.
When I come across a new blog and I love it, the first thing I do is follow them on all their social platforms. But if I can’t find them, I ain’t gonna’ go looking for them. And neither will you.
Your aim with your whole user experience of your website is to make it as simple as possible for your readers. So place your social buttons right in front of their noses. Because if they fall in love with your content and your brand, they’re going to want to follow you everywhere.
Not only that, but this is also going to help you boost your social followers too. If more and more people follow you on social media, and you’re constantly sharing interest and value, AND promoting your blog content? People are automatically going to follow you and navigate to your blog too.
Bonus Tip: Having social sharing buttons (like you can see with this post) is also important too. You want people to share your content, so you want to make it easy for them to share it. I use Sumo, which is free and the buttons are sticky too, so on Desktop, they move down the page with the reader. Handy, right?
This is something I talk about in a free masterclass in my resource library (which you can get access to here), and it’s such an easy way to get your content out there.
#3 | YOUR TOP POSTS OR LATEST BLOG POST
You need to understand that not everyone who comes to your blog is going to have visited before. You’ll be getting new users daily. If they haven’t been there before, this is your chance to show them your most popular content and direct them to your latest piece of content.
If you’re putting this information directly in your blog sidebar, they’ll see it. Right there. And if you’re using internal linking within your content, you’re going to get them to stay on your website for longer, by giving them more of what they want.
To find your most popular posts (I’d aim to share between 3-5), head to your Google Analytics dashboard and dig in. They need to be well-written, branded and related to where your blog is right now.
For instance, if one of your top posts in Google Analytics is about skincare but you don’t write about make-up anymore, don’t include it. Make use of this space and only choose the most valuable, high quality articles. This is also a great way to reduce your bounce rate.
This video will help you out!
#4 | A WAY TO SEARCH YOUR BLOG POSTS
What if someone visits your site and is looking for something in particular but they can’t find it? Answer - a search bar.
It’s a simple thing but it can work wonders for getting people to stay on your website for longer AND you can see what they’re searching for.
Like I said before, you want to make it easy for users to navigate round your site. As long as you’re not overloading them with different options, this is a great way for people to be able to search for exactly what they’re looking for.
#5 | SOMETHING IN PARTICULAR YOU WANT TO PROMOTE
The last essential thing I’d put in your blog sidebar is actually completely up to you, but falls under the category of something you want to promote. This could be a produt you’re an affiliate for, a social network or even one of your own products.
On ABOH, right at the very top there I have my UK Blog Awards Finalist 2018 badge. Right there it shows people “okay wow, this girl is kinda legit.” It’s something I’m proud of and something I want to advertise and let people know about.
If you can think of something right now that you want to promote over and over, it definitely deserves a place in your blog sidebar.
THE ONE THING NOT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR BLOG SIDEBAR
I’m just going to go ahead and say it. ADS.
I mean, come on. I know you want to monetise your blog, but there are better and more effective ways to do it. By hosting ads on your site for different things, you’re basically giving people the option to leave your site. Do you want that?
I certaintly don’t.
Rethink having ads on your blog. Trust me. Your blog is yours for a reason. It’s about and how you can help your readers. That’s how it should stay.
There we go. Those are the elements I highly recommend having in your blog sidebar, to use it effectively and make an impact with your readers.
So, let me know in the comments - how are you going to go and revamp your sidebar?
Don't forget to download your free template!