Elements to optimize your blog’s sidebar

A blog’s sidebar practically summarizes the content and all the features offered by the blog. In essence, it showcases what you have to offer in one or two neat, unobtrusive columns, depending on your chosen blog layout or template. It plays a large part in upping a blog’s usability, improving the user experience to give your visitors easy access to different sections of your blog without having to navigate their browsers away from your domain.

Since its very existence is integral to a blog’s navigation, it’s crucial to optimize its functionalities by embedding useful elements like widgets and tools. This also indirectly helps with SEO since it will help the customer stay on your website. From looking at blogs online, both popular and upstarts in their niches, you may notice that they employ different elements. Many are standard components to guide the visitors around your blog and to related offsite locations, while others use other widgets that are more twee than functional. Here are a few sidebar components your blog’s sidebar should have.

Search Box

Search boxes make it easy for your readers to find blog posts based on keywords and topics. Most sites put their search boxes within the sidebar, while others inject them at the top of the page next to the masthead. If you’re using blog publishing services like WordPress or Blogger, the search box comes as a default component. But if you’re building a blog from scratch or would prefer to employ other search boxes, you can just copy and post readily crafted search box codes onto your blog’s HTML structure from Yahoo, Bing or Google.

Short Bio

Letting your readers, especially new visitors to your site, know who you can help introduce you to your community. This can be used as a trajectory for both social engagements and for establishing your site as an authority in your slice of the blogosphere. For this, include a short bio at the very top of the sidebar about you or your brand. And by “short” we mean one to three sentences that give a gist of who you are, what you intend to achievement with the blog, and what you’re offering. Include a link to your blog’s About Us page at the bottom of the bio to direct your readers to your fully furnished profile page.

Contact Details

Provide your contact details in your blog’s sidebar to give your readers ways to reach you. Include the URLs to your other Web sites, your e-mail address/es, IM username, Skype contacts and if necessary, your phone number/s. But if you are trying to save precious sidebar real estate, you can instead have a link to your Contact Us page right underneath your short bio containing these details.

Subscriptions Methods

Give your readers a way to keep updated on the latest news about your brand, the products and service you offer, and your new posts by including ways to subscribe to your blog. Subscriptions can generate a good list of contacts for possible online marketing strategies and will help you better target your demographic. This can be done by having an RSS link to let them subscribe to your feeds, which conveniently gets sifted through their feed reader of choice. And if you have an e-mail newsletter, you can have a text field where they can enter their e-mail addresses to sign up and receive regular news from you.

Social Profile Buttons

The goal in social media marketing is to build a genuine rapport with the people in your demographic, so it’s crucial to connect with them outside your Web site or blog. The site’s SEO will be benefited from those links and connection. As such, in your sidebar, it’s important to include links to your social networking sites so they can establish a link with you and your brand by adding you to their social media contacts. You can line up the buttons to link your readers to your Twitter and Facebook profiles, or you can craft your own.

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