7 Things Which Must Not Be Missing in Your Sidebar

This is a Guest post By Erik.

The sidebar of your blog can be filled with anything you want, but there are 7 things that I think should not miss.

Items that will not only help retain readers longer on your site, but also that will invite them to return, in order to check your new articles, or better yet, subscribe to your newsletter and purchase your products.

Here below you find 7 elements that you should not forget to put on your sidebar ( points not necessarily in order of importance ).

1. Opportunity to Subscribe via RSS or E-mail

Given assumed that your blog has high quality content, your readers will naturally be pushed back to read your latest articles.

But you should simplifies their lives!

Add an icon that links to your RSS feeds and allow them to receive notification of your new posts via email.

In my blog you will see these 2 options at the top right navigation bar. Did you registered? No? What are you waiting for !

You will receive a message just after I will write a new post of your interest.

2. Categories

You can call this a list of topics, issues of interest or something like this. Whatever name you want to use, this list makes easier for readers to navigate your blog and find what they need.

My advice is to not create more than 8-10 categories – unless you really need them – in order to not make chaotic the selection of topics.

3. Most Commented Articles

The sidebar is the ideal place to post your most commented posts,  in other words those that attract more traffic.

In this way readers will not only not have to waste time finding your more popular articles, but they will be driven by curiosity to find out why these posts are most popular and this will facilitate further the share around the web.

You can use the WordPress Popular Posts plugin, which has different options to list your most important articles.

I use Posts By Tag plugin, that show the posts per tag. I have included the tag “featured” in my most loved posts, in order to have them “featured” in my sidebar.

4. Recent Articles

Inserting on the sidebar your latest articles, primarily helps visitors that come to your blog through a post, rather than the homepage, to understand which are the latest articles that have been published.

It is therefore indirectly a great way to invite your visitors to read more and to stay for more time to your blog, reducing the bounce rate and increasing the page views.

SideBar

Image by: Getawayplans.

5. Search Box

The search box helps those who are interested to find articles that contain a specific keyword.

You can put it on the sidebar, but another option is the top navigation bar, which is  fairly a common place.

Just be sure that your Search Box is functioning, as you do not want to worsen the experience of your visitor with a tool that leads nowhere!

6. Link to Your Profiles on Social Media

Including a link to your pages on social media networks, allows to keep your readers updated on other alternatives to your blog pages. Pages that probably are visited every day.

You can think to add a Facebook Like Box, or the Twitter Following widget, or the Google Plus button.

If you want to have it easier, just use the WP MashSocial Wigdet. It is a great widget inspired by Mashable, that you can add to your sidebar, which allows you to add your Pinterest, Google Plus , Twitter , Facebook accounts and Feeds Subscription in it.

You can see it also in the right top of iTechCode. I love the way it looks like and how easy is for visitors to connect with the author of the blog.

Have you already clicked on it? If you have not already done so, please make haste and help me spread the word. I will really appreciate this.

7. Call to Action (CTA)

Now that you have ensured that your best content is well in evidence in your sidebar, it is time to include a ‘call to action‘ or literally, a request to your readers.

The invitation should be to subscribe to your exclusive newsletter, for example. Or to purchase one of your products.

Try to make the CTA as visible as possible in your blog. Just thing about this situation : if it was the first visit for a reader, it should be the first thing he sees when he arrives in your blog.

After all, those who sign up to your mailing list, will receive exclusive content, that is not otherwise available on your blog. Like for istance a free eBook, a training course or a series of video tutorials.

Don’t Miss3 Things That You Can Do To Increase Your CTA

Just be sure that this call to action is clear and visible.

In this regard, have you already subscribed to iTechCode’s newsletter or RSS Feeds?

If not, I invite you to do it right now!

Is there anything else that you recommend to include in the sidebar of a high quality blog?

Thanks for your suggestion!

About Erik Emanuelli

Erik is a professional blogger and freelance writer. He’s working hard for paying the bills with his skills. To get social media and blogging tips, visit this link.

Comments

  1. Chris @ NPI says:

    Hi Erik,
    thanks for sharing it. Nice to see your guest post on this blog 😉

    Concerning sidebar:
    I also have Top commentators box in my sidebar 😉
    Some bloggers (including Amit), have also their own bio in the sidebar
    BR, Chris

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Chris!
      I thank Amit for the opportunity to post here. 🙂

      Yes, also Top Commentators Box fits well in the sidebar.
      It helps increase the community around your blog,
      and reward the readers, which leave comments, engaging conversation.

      I do not see the Bio in the sidebar of iTechCode, may be you mean the footer, Chris?

  2. Mushfique says:

    Ahh, Good thing I have most of them in my sidebar. The only thing missing is the CTA 🙁 Will have to work on that ! I guess you have more or less covered all the important stuff needed to be in the sidebar. Maybe, to engage more readers, we could add some voting polls ? Just for the fun 🙂

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Mushfique!
      It is important that you add a Call to Action in your sidebar,
      may I suggest you at the top of it? (Mine is there).
      So you can take advantage of each page of your blog and actually in the part most visible of your sidebar.
      Including a voting poll is a nice idea. Any others? 🙂

  3. Dhruv Bhagat says:

    These are really the must have things for any of the blog.. But I don’t have CTA in my sidebar. I am really thinking of launching an eBook from last 1 month.. After reading this, it is not necessity !!! Thanks Amit for sharing this article.. 🙂

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Dhruv,
      you should think about to add a CTA to your sidebar, if you do not have it,
      and an eBook is a perfect product to promote! 😉

  4. Romy Singh @GeekyWriter says:

    Hello Eric,

    Awesome post.. Many time blogger gets failed in using the sidebar space in well manner and because of that they lose revenue, leads, subscribers and many other things. This article will definitely help blogger to put right things at right place in sidebar.

    And I think in what order we put this stuffs in sidebar also matters a lot. Right.. 🙂

    BTW, again thanks for awesome post..

    Romy Singh,

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Romy,
      I am glad you liked the article.

      I completely agree with the positioning of the things in the sidebar.
      In fact, the top of the sidebar is the hot spot of visitors sight in your blog.

      Where did you included your CTA?

  5. Peter Lee says:

    They’re people put some of the things on the header or footer, not all will be put on the sidebar. I guess the template designs matter too. In the end, it all depends on personal preferences. But I do think other than the content, the sidebar could well be the next most attention grabbing side of a blog. Thanks for the interesting post Erik!

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Peter Lee,
      I understand that it really depends on the design of each website.
      Anyway the idea is to include some basic stuff in the blog,
      like CTA, social media profiles, popular posts and the things mentioned in the post.

      I am glad you liked the article.

      Of course also advertising space may fit in sidebar, don’t you think Peter? 😉

  6. It is important to have necessary things like the rss feed, but it is not necessary to have your profile or your links to your social profiles.

    Majority of the points are necessary and better if you have them on there.

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Samuel,
      I do agree it is better to have RSS Feeds, together with sign up option by email,
      but I do not agree that links to social profiles are not necessary.
      At the contrary, it is advisable, in order to facilitate the sharing and your promotion via social media. Do not underestimate the power of them!
      Don’t you think so? 😉

  7. Prakash says:

    All things you mention here are important for a blog. Recent comment, recent article, search box and main thing call to action. Things we must not be missing in our sidebar, great list. Helpful article and thanks for sharing such a nice article……………

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Prakash,
      I am glad you liked the article.
      Do you have all these things in your sidebar? 🙂

      • Prakash says:

        Yes, Erik these all things are in my blogs sidebar. These are very essential things to be present there in the sidebar.

        • Erik Emanuelli says:

          I see Prakash.
          I have checked your link. But I do not see all those things…Is that your main website?

          • Prakash says:

            No, Erik I am not telling aboutTechblowup.com , My main website is breathdigital . org .
            you can check on this and you will find all things there.

        • Erik Emanuelli says:

          Now I can see the sidebar of your main site, Prakash.
          You have also some more things, than the ones listed above, right?
          Do you find them useful?

          • Yes, these are very helpful in many aspects. All the things are there only for our readers so that they easily found whatever they want.

          • Erik Emanuelli says:

            Well, you know your audience and readers, so
            you must be sure about what they need.
            Thanks for pointing out, Prakash.

  8. Sumon @ WP Cypher says:

    I’m using most of them on my blog’s sidebar…

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Sumon,
      I am glad you are taking advantage of the sidebar to put things right.

  9. Hello Erik,
    I have only 2 of them in my blog sidebar including popular posts and subscription box and all the others are placed in the footer which I think is better.

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Ehsan,
      I think it depends a lot from your website design.
      In my opinion you should put ads below the fold.
      Don’t you think so?

      • As you said, It usually depends on website design! I also think that putting ads below the fold is good, but having something which is more useful than ad is more good!

        • Erik Emanuelli says:

          It is good first to give to the readers something useful,
          and then ask, if you need it, something in return.

  10. Mohsin Ali says:

    I think Search Box is the one which is missed by many bloggers but its very important member of sidebar.

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Mohsin Ali,
      I have it in the navigation menu.
      It can fit right also in the sidebar, I think.

  11. Pavan Somu says:

    All the points mentioned above are essential to interact with the readers in a better way. Except CTA I am using all other in my blog’s sidebar.

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Pavan,
      you should think about adding a CTA, as you are missing a huge opportunity.
      I suggest you to organize on how to do it and include it right away.

  12. Correct! Sidebar is the second most important part after the content area. It might be used wisely.

    Thanks For such unique post.

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Thanks for your comment, Atish.
      I agree that sidebar is a very important part of our blogs.

  13. Naser @ Tech Blazes says:

    I have everything above in my sidebar except categories and search bar, which are in my top navigation bar.

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Naser,
      thanks for sharing your approach.
      Each of us can change the sidebar as we like,
      the important thing is to add major points as described above.

  14. Sonny Lanorias says:

    Hey Erik,

    Cool post. Thanks for the reminders. Sometimes most people especially bloggers tend to forget about these basic and simple reminders to get them going. Thanks again.

    -Sonny

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Sonny,
      I am glad you liked the article.
      Sometimes the simplest things are undervalued and we may find ourselves lost in a glass of water.
      Thanks for your comment.

      • Sonny Lanorias says:

        Hi Erik,

        Would you mind sharing the link of the exact WordPress Popular Posts plugin you’re using? Thanks

        -Sonny

        • Erik Emanuelli says:

          Actually right now I am NOT using WordPress Popular Posts (I used to).

          The one that you see in my blog sidebar is : ” Posts By Tag ” plugin.
          See the link :
          http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/posts-by-tag/

          It is nice because it let you show just the posts you want.
          I have tagged the posts I like with “featured” word, and now I show these articles in my sidebar.
          In my opinion, those posts are my best ones.

          I hope to have you helped. Let me know ! 🙂

          • Sonny Lanorias says:

            Alright thanks Erik, gonna take a look at it. I appreciate you sharing it once again. Talk soon.

          • Sonny Lanorias says:

            Hey Erik,

            By the way does this plugin don’t slow down our sites? Thanks once again.

            -Sonny

        • Erik Emanuelli says:

          As far I know,
          every plugin we use in our blog, contribute to slow the loading of a site for a quantity of “ms”.
          Of course there are some plugins that make much worse the loading, with relation to others.

          So my suggestion is to choose the plugins you will use on your website with great care.

          I believe that as about a plugin that displays a list of recommended posts, it is definitely worth the small portion of loading time.
          Also because then this action will decrease the bounce rate and increase the page views of your blog.

          What do you think, Sonny?

          • Sonny Lanorias says:

            Hey Erik,

            I think your answer was a jackpot 🙂 I couldn’t agree with you more. Looking forward to network and mastermind with you man. Talk soon.

            -Sonny

          • Erik Emanuelli says:

            Sonny,
            I am glad to share experience and expertise with you.
            We can learn interesting things each other.

            I have checked your website with GTMetrix, see here :

            Your Page Speed Grade is “D” and YSLow Grade is “C”.

            There are some juicy tips on how you can improve the speed of your website,
            immediately improving it, using this “WordPress Optimization Guide”, see :
            http://gtmetrix.com/wordpress-optimization-guide.html

            I have also take a look of your website, just loading it with Chrome and with iPhone 4, with Safari.
            The last widget loading is always the “Networkedblogs.com” one.
            Do you really need it?

            One more thing, IMO you should use WP MashSocial Wigdet,
            and remove Facebook widget (this is really slow to load).

            I hope to have you helped.
            Let me know! 🙂

  15. RCONNORIII says:

    Thanks for the sidebar tips Erik Emanuelli those are good basics to build on. This is a very nice blog that’s set up with the reader in mind. Plus lots of great info for a newbie like me, thank you for the hard work Amit Shaw!

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi RCONNORIII,
      I am glad you liked the article! 🙂

      Just to let you know, I have checked your website,
      I have got a warning of virus from one of your banners.

      I have uploaded a screenshot here:
      http://imgur.com/AQoaS
      You may see the message of antivirus in the right below corner of image.

      You know that Google loves clean sites, right? 🙂

      Let me know!

  16. Andi the Minion says:

    Great post, email capture is definitely a must in the side bar, a Facebook and Twitter plugin are good, people can instantly see your pages and connect.

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      I am glad you liked the article, Andi.

      We might use the sidebar wisely in order to capture subscribers or
      any other Call to Action we have in mind.

      Also social media are really important, to get connected with your audience.

      Do you have these tools installed in your sidebar?

      • Andi the Minion says:

        Hi Erik, yes we have a side bar loaded with everything imaginable lol. I fear that it could look cluttered but we want people to see the site is full of content, connection possibilities and more importantly, that the site is alive and lived in.

        • Erik Emanuelli says:

          I see, Andi!
          IMO,you should reduce and remove something from your sidebar, in order to not overload it.
          Leave the most important things!
          Some social media profiles, for istance, can be assembled via WP MashSocial Wigdet.
          Don’t you think so, Andi?

          Of course, it is up to you, it is your blog! 🙂

  17. Debasis says:

    Hi Erik,
    Its an Awesome Contribution By you. I usually Use Feed Burner Subscription Box above the sidebar and then Recent Posts, Comments etc… Currently I am not using any Ads on my Sites so There is no ads in my site Sidebars.

    Keep It up.
    ~Debasis 🙂

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Debasis,
      I am glad you liked the article!
      I agree with you on not using ads. You should wait at least until you have a good audience visiting your blog daily.
      The ads should be paid directly from advertising.
      Just displaying an ad with the hope to make a sale via affialiate program, it does not worth, in my opinion.
      Don’t you agree, Debasis?

      • Debasis says:

        I am 100% agree with you and its the root thing which you told… and I am also sticking with this rule.

        • Erik Emanuelli says:

          I think the cleaner a site looks, the more attraction has at first glance for a casual visitor.
          Thanks for the reply, Debasis.

  18. Rahul Kangjam says:

    mine is not included categories in sidebar instead i put on secondary navi bar

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Rahul,
      I see in your blog that you have a boring pop up when someone visit your site.
      It’s like already one minute that I wait that Clicksor load the pop up ad,
      but still not response.
      And you have too much ads in your site, I can not see the content….
      You should reduce some advertising, Rahul.

      Don’t you think so?
      (Well, just my opinion).

      • Rahul Kangjam says:

        have a look i have remove some..:P

        • Erik Emanuelli says:

          Oh, yes, much better now!
          Believe me, you will gain happy visitors, removing useless and annyoing ads…
          Well done!

          In my opinion, I would remove also Facebook Like Pop Up, but only because I HATE Pop-ups 😉

  19. Giuliana says:

    Hi,
    I’m quite new with blogging, but I’m trying to do my best and this site is helping me a lot, so thank you for all your tips and suggestions!
    Forgive my english, as I’m Italian 😉

    This is my sidebar:
    1) Top area is dedicated to content search, so you can find:
    – Posts archives and blog map, represented by 4 icons
    – Search box
    – Compressed labels list
    2) Just under, the ‘call to action’ box, that is a subscription to my newsletter
    It’s not the first thing on top of the sidebar, but you can still notice it immediately because his title is quite visible (at least, I think so) and because the three elements over don’t take much space.
    3) Icons with the most suggested sections/articles
    4) Most recent articles divided by categories
    5) Top commentators list + recent comments
    6) Articles to start with
    7) Articles not to miss
    8) Other suggested articles/topics
    In the middle, you have a couple of ads, that also I use to create some colour (because most of the sidebar content is plain text) and to separate the different sections.

    Can I kindly ask you an opinion? 🙂
    Thank you very much,
    Giuliana

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Giuliana,
      in my opinion, there are some things that you should avoid to include in your site,
      and a lot of widget that you can sumarize.

      The things I should modify are more than ones,
      so if I can suggest something is to run a speed test and check what are the heaviest things to load.
      And start removing that ones. 😉

      Good luck with your site!

  20. Chiranjeev says:

    These are the common sidebar widget for any blog that you have recommended. I too use all of them. Thanks for this post.

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      I am glad you are using all the things mentioned in the article.
      Thanks for the comment, Chiranjeev!

  21. Giuliana says:

    Hi,
    I’m quite new with blogging, but I’m trying to do my best and this site is helping me a lot, so thank you for all your tips and suggestions!
    Forgive my english, as I’m Italian 😉

    This is my sidebar:
    1) Top area is dedicated to content search, so you can find:
    – Posts archives and blog map, represented by 4 icons
    – Search box
    – Compressed labels list
    2) Just under, the ‘call to action’ box, that is a subscription to my newsletter
    It’s not the first thing on top of the sidebar, but you can still notice it immediately because his title is quite visible (at least, I think so) and because the three elements over don’t take much space.
    3) Icons with the most suggested sections/articles
    4) Most recent articles divided by categories
    5) Top commentators list + recent comments
    6) Articles to start with
    7) Articles not to miss
    8) Other suggested articles/topics
    In the middle, you have a couple of ads, that also I use to create some colour (because most of the sidebar content is plain text) and to separate the different sections.

    Can I kindly ask you an opinion? 🙂
    Thank you very much,
    Giuliana

  22. Gaurang Joshi says:

    I actually agree with all of your points. Esp. CTA part was awesome.

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Gaurang,
      I am glad you liked the article.
      Do you have all these things in your sidebar?

  23. These are all true!

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Arsie,
      I am glad you liked the post.
      Do you have all these things in your sidebar?

  24. Hi,
    I’m quite new with blogging, but I’m trying to do my best and this site is helping me a lot, so thank you for all your tips and suggestions!

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Vishvast,
      I am glad the article helped you.
      Are you arranging your sidebar with the things listed above?
      If I may suggest you,
      do not forget to include a Call to Action! Very important!
      Let me know!

  25. Ambika Choudhary Mahajan says:

    Well, I believe a Facebook or Twitter plugin showing the number of followers or fans could also be added to the sidebar to make the presentation more effective.

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Yes, Ambika, you are definetely right!
      The “WP MashSocial Widget” fit perfectly in the sidebar. It is the one you see in iTechCode and in my site. Do you have it?

  26. Thanks for sharing this informative info 🙂

  27. Prakash says:

    Yes these things are essential part of sidebars, I think sidebar is made for these things only. We should utilize these things nicely for getting great results.

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hello Prakash,
      that’s great to see you enjoyed this article.

      Much time without visiting this guest post,
      it’s good to see it generates many visits!

  28. Rahul Dubey says:

    Hey Erik !

    I think you missed one important thing which is as important as these 7 things which must not be missing from your sidebar. And that is your important pages like About Us, Contact Us, Privacy Policy, Advertise With Us etc.

    Because sometimes people often ignore them when they are paces in header or footer. However, having them in top menu is good idea but I have experienced that having these import pages in sidebar means you are providing your readers an extra way to reach you directly and build a better relationship.

    By the way, good list of things. Thanks for sharing !

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Hi Rahul,
      I always add those pages you mentioned in the top menu of my blogs.
      Sometimes, I add them in the footer too.
      I guess that having them on the sidebar would be too much for me.

      But thanks for leaving your thoughts and adding your suggestions here.

  29. Anil Agarwal says:

    Sidebar is undoubtedly one of the most visible places on any blog. If you don’t use it right, you will get bad user experience. Great points Erik!