When I first started blogging, I put all sorts of unnecessary widgets, text and photos in my sidebar because I thought it was supposed to look as full as possible.
Now that I’ve been blogging for sometime, I’ve realized that your sidebar is a valuable space and should be kept minimal as possible. It’s the place where the most pertinent information for your readers is supposed to be displayed.
Below I discuss the four items that should be in every #BrownGirlBlogger’s sidebar.
Photo of You
When I land on new blogs, I like to get a visual ID on the person whose words I’m reading. If I notice a blogger doesn’t have a picture of herself anywhere in the sidebar, the blog suddenly feels impersonal to me.
Having a photo of yourself and a couple of sentences about who you are and what you blog about is a good idea because it can act as your elevator pitch for people who are new to your blog.
Note: If you don’t want to use an image of yourself either for professional or safety reasons, I suggest making an avatar that is the cartoon version of yourself or getting a logo designed that matches your blog.
Social Media Profile Links
I want to know if this blogger uses her social media platforms to promote her blog all day or if she actually tweets and shares photos of interesting day-to-day stuff.
Having your social media profile buttons large and visible makes it easier for your readers to connect with and keep up with you outside of your blog.
Note: Only link to social media profiles that you’re actually active on. For example, if you have a Google+ page but rarely use it, don’t link to it in your sidebar.
No one wants to dig through your blog’s archives to find one post about one specific topic they’re interested in. Including a search bar in your sidebar ensures that your content is easier to sift through.
List of Topics/Categories
If your blog is comprised of several different topics, you should have a category list in your sidebar. Instead of using a large jumbled up tag cloud (that most readers will overlook or ignore anyway), make a list of your top 5 blog topics and display them in your sidebar. This way, readers can go directly to the topics that interest them most.
Do you have these four items in your sidebar? What other things should bloggers have in their sidebar?