Sidebars are a perfect way to push content, and, if done correctly, seamlessly place your email opt-in in front of your reader’s face while not being intrusive.
So can a sidebar ever go wrong?
Yes, yes it can.
Sidebars should only be used on pages where readers are already looking for information on a subject matter you’re an expert in. Such as the blog page.
Depending on the goal of your website, a sidebar rarely goes on any other page.
Let’s say you’re a life coach and have a beautifully designed homepage. All the copy, testimonials, and imagery is being used to further the goal of: a.) having the site visitor contact you for services, or b.) hopping on your email list – giving you the opportunity to warm up the lead even more.
Now insert the side bar in all it’s awesome glory. An about you section, social media links, recent blog posts, and tags to subject you write about.
You just added the risk of distraction.
If in doubt, only add a sidebar to your blog page!
Here’s a perfect layout for your sidebar:
1. About you, the writer or owner of the site. Give a short blurb about yourself then insert the link to “Read More”.
2. Email opt-ins. They’ve gotten to know you and now are warmed up enough to be added to your email list. These work best when the user is getting a freebie.
3. Recent blog posts or related articles are great to have next. These help cement you as an expert in your field.
4. Social media links should be somewhere down the bottom of the sidebar. This helps allow the reader to go through your article, peek through the sidebar, and finally either share your content or follow you on their favorite social media outlet.
Bonus: the search box. This one depends on whether or not you have one on your navigation already. If so, feel free to place it at the bottom of the sidebar. No search box in the menu? Place it at the tippy top of the sidebar so that your users aren’t scrolling up and down looking for it.
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