You know how you have that one drawer in your kitchen that is the junk drawer? There’s some super important stuff in there, but it’s buried beneath tidbits of trash, expired coupons, and random bits of nonsense? And then every once in awhile, you’ve had enough. You clean it up, organize, and get it looking good.
It’s time to clean up your blog’s junk drawer aka the sidebar. Here are five tips for cleaning it up and making the most of that real estate.
1. Clean Up Your Labels
This is SUPER simple and should take you less than two minutes. You should have no more than 20 labels on your sidebar, and even that is pushing it. In Blogger, go to Layout–>Labels to edit. Change from show “All Labels” to “Select Labels”. Once you select the labels you would like shown on the sidebar, click save, and you’re done!
2. Get Delete Happy
Take a good look at every single widget on your sidebar. Things to delete or reevaluate:
•Bloglist feeds for other sites.
•The Blogger followers gadget. That doesn’t even work anymore unless you have a Blogger site.
•Google+ button. If you have anyone on your site that actually wants to use Google+, they’ll find you.
3. Stop Advertising for Other People
I know, I know. It’s such a nice thing to do. But there are only so many things you can have on your sidebar before your readers eyes glaze over. What they do see needs to be related to your site. You may love a blog or website, but if it’s taking readers outside of your own site, you’re hurting your traffic and distracting your reader from your own content.
4. Size Matters
Is your sidebar longer than your post feed? Unless you have a brand new blog, your sidebar should not be longer than your post area. That’s a clear sign you’ve got too much happening on your sidebar.
5. Get Focused
Now that you’ve gotten the nonsense off your sidebar, it’s time to think about what really should be there. What are your top priorities? Probably to help your reader find content, sign up for your email list (if you have one), stay connected with you on social media, and promote your store. Those priorities get lost when your sidebar is an endless scroll of information. Decide your priorities and make sure that is clearly and simply visible.