While they may not rise to the level of primary focus on a blog, the sidebar isn’t just filler of the real estate along the top, side margins and bottom of your content. This feature has a vital and essential role for the visitor, even though they may not be able to notice it. Your readers can’t put a finger on why they like the look of your site or what makes the page more appealing, but there’s one critical impact on your company: they stick around longer, which means they’re more likely to buy from you when the time comes.
On the other hand, a poorly designed sidebar can kill your blog. Your visitors are left lost as they try to make sense of a longer post. Other times, they become frustrated because they spent time scanning your content and not finding the information they were seeking. In both situations, you lose their interest and they leave the page – most likely not to return again.
Offhand, you may not know which category you fall into, but your metrics will tell you if you have a great sidebar or an ineffective one. There are some reasons why you need to redesign your blog sidebar, but it’s important to understand the basics of this feature before making any changes.
Get a grasp on how the sidebar tool functions
The sidebar is a section of your blog page layout, whether on the left, right, top or bottom. Typically, you’ll see one or two featured on a site, but some operators will include more. The content flanks the text content of the blog in a column format and it can contain pretty much any material you’d like to include. However, always keep in mind that the content should be interesting or entertaining to your readers in order to maintain their attention.
There are several goals an effective sidebar should accomplish
Your sidebar is there to highlight the important content. As a visitor’s eyes rest on your blog page, they’re likely to be attracted to certain components of it before they start to read the primary piece. A sidebar can be used to showcase the message you’d likely to convey most powerfully or predominantly.
You’ll maintain the attention of many visitors by providing an overview. Many users will click away if they’re not provided with a main focus or theme they can relate to. This is the material you want them to consume via the sidebar. These visitors want to know right away that the content includes information they’re seeking. Most won’t invest the time to read the introduction – let alone the body – unless you give them a road map of the material the blog post contains.
Don’t underestimate the impact of visual appeal. One main motivation for why you need to redesign your blog sidebar is the eye-catching attractiveness … or lack of it. The sidebar can boost the visual appeal by breaking up long pieces of text into more manageable sections. You could also use a sidebar to insert graphics or statistics related to the point you’re making, both of which tend to be more readily consumed by visitors.
Your sidebar should give life to your most popular content. You can implement sidebar features to bring visitors over to other content you’ve published in the past. Whether it’s a blog that proved popular with your followers, a white paper that set record downloads or a link to a recorded webinar, you can give your previous material new life rather than having it flounder in cyberspace.
A sidebar can help you keep visitors on your page
There are many underlying reasons why you need to redesign your blog sidebar, but the primary point to take away is that you should do it to keep your target audience engaged. It doesn’t matter how they arrived on your page; the goal is to make sure they stay. Sidebars are an effective and easy way to succeed at it.
As you can see, the sidebar is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal when looking at blog features, but only when you use it effectively. A generally poor one is the main reason why you need to redesign your blog sidebar, while those that are somewhat valuable could always use a little tweaking. If you’re not sure where to start, you might consider outsourcing for some guidance and recommendations. A seasoned pro can quickly identify problems and solutions, so it’s worth having a trained set of eyes take a look.