Simple & sleek header, highly valuable content, engaging footers and not to forget an effective sidebar — all of these put together make up for a good website architecture. While a lot of emphasis is laid on header logo, footer copyrights and killer content, sidebars are left out for drag and drop activity (dragging and dropping the WordPress widgets). It’s time to step back, think a little about it and then proceed. Sidebars can actually help you convert the visitors into revenue or traffic whatever your goal be. So here are 5 common yet high realizable ideas to turn your sidebar into a high converting and highly effective sidebar.
Persuasive Call To Action
This one comes from Derek Halpern [founder of Social Triggers and the marketing guy at DIY Themes] and is largely exercised by the big names in the blogosphere. Be it Tuts Network, Smashing Magazine or Brian Clark, (the person behind Copyblogger) religiously follow it as a rule. Just go through the popular blogs as a ritual and you will find that each one of them either has an e-mail sign-up form, premier membership option, a marketing strategy for pitching the services & products or a whole lot of advertisements — the active revenue generators and traffic building options for the website in the sidebar.
Popular posts, recent posts, smashing highlights and killer enteries qualify as a good option for inclusion in the sidebar. It is one of the best activities to engage your readers and increase pageviews, reduce bounce rate all at the same time. The popular posts acts like a direction instructor for your website, thereby attracting the viewers to get some more useful and valuable information at the finger tips.
Sidebars are eye-catchers. And adding a Google Search widget gives your readers one good reason to look out for more of what you offer — useful content and valuable services / products on your website.
Social Media Icons
Give your viewers and readers a chance to interact with you on major social networking platforms. But wait a minute! Did I say a lot of them. Excercise caution here! Pick and choose the most prominent ones. If you are actively promoting your website or business on FB, Twitter and Google+, why bother about others.
What Not To Include
Now that you already know what to include in the sidebar, it is worth making a note of things which are generally placed in the sidebar but for no good; like tag cloud, secondary navigation, blogroll links and so on. Hold on! It doesn’t mean to simply strike them off your sidebar. Not all things work for everyone and if it works for you, simply keep them. Check out zenhabits.net for instance. It includes the logo, subscription options, Twitter & Google+ links and primary navigation in the sidebar. Similary including the twitter feed might be a viable option for a celebrity website and acts as a clutter otherwise. It’s your call, what to include and what to exclude; depends a lot on the type of website you have or you plan to design.
What are you planning to include in your sidebar?