Within the last few weeks, I’ve really tried to reinvest in my business and feed my professional soul. A new habit I have is plugging ye olde ear buds into my MacBook and listen to pro bloggers wax poetic about the finer points of blogging. Fascinating! Well, it is for me.
I *just* finished listening to the above video post from Darren at ProBlogger: don’t let your blog be like my sock drawer. Well, I love an edifying analogy and this was a good one! Darren wants you to inspect your blog – specifically the sidebar – and check for holey, mismatched, and ugly socks. Then throw them out!
Does your blog’s sidebar support your creative business?
I was discussing sidebars with a client this week. She had been blogging for quite a while and she was experiencing what I refer to as “sidebar creep” – the sidebar was full of what was probably useful information at one time but was now mostly noise. Your sidebar (the skinny column that stays generally static throughout your blog) is a key place to display secondary information. Links to your store, contact information, further reading, newsletter subscriptions, etc… are key things that need to be displayed in this area.
Here’s a list of things that should be in your sidebar:
- short “about” blurb that links to your “about” page
- contact information
- prominent link to your store, shop, or services
- list of your columns, categories, labels, or tags
- subscription form (rss or newsletter)
- links to connect with you elsewhere (social media)
- blog archives
Things to avoid in your sidebar:
- links that don’t enhance the content of your own blog
- “sunshine” or “nicest little blogger” award badges
- ads for other people’s stuff
- mis-matched styling – your sidebar should “match” the rest of the blog
- anything that completes with the content of your blog
How’s your sidebar?
Your task tonight is to approach your sidebar ruthlessly! Ask yourself if each gadget, widget, or whose-a-whatsit is supporting, promoting, and enhancing your business. Get rid of, edit, or makeover each one that’s not.
While you should never obsess over the design of your blog to the point of distraction, you’ll want to regularly inspect this area of your site to see how you can enhance or edit it.
What’s in your sidebar?