To Sidebar, or Not To Sidebar...

10 replies
  • WEB DESIGN
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That is the question.
Is the sidebar dying? Decreasing in CTR? Is it actually harming the UX of your blog page?
If you have a sidebar on your blog, please tell me how well it is working for you. And also what types of CTA's you include on it.
#sidebar
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    For some a sidebar works . . . for others it doesn't work so well. I suppose it depends upon what you put into the sidebar that counts. If you are tempted to fill the sidebar with things that distract your audience from focusing on the main content, then it's probably a disadvantage to use it.


    There is only one way to know what works best in your own situation: test both with and without the sidebar and see (a) what your audience prefers, (b) which leads to great engagement, and (c) which converts prospects into sales more readily.


    Isn't that what marketing is all about . . . solving the puzzles of how to get the greatest conversions and the highest sales?


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author msulcs
    I'd say not to overstuff it.
    I don't have ads on my blog. I use the sidebar for subscribing to my list (they get a free guide). Then there's a list of categories and thumbnails of my best posts which I want readers to read. That's it.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Yes, if you include 1 ad. Go for it.

    No, if you include anything more than 1 ad.

    Or simply think through your prime call to action; what do you want readers to do? 1 thing. So share that 1 thing via sidebar and you will reap the rewards of being clear with your IM campaign.
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    • Profile picture of the author RacquetFlex
      Yes! I definitely agree with that method. In my YouTube videos, I make sure to have only 1 CTA at maximum, so I should treat the blog posts the exact same way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
    Depends on the target market and the type of website. Primarily, I develop turnkey WordPress and HTML websites for my own business and other people. Where the type of website is a WordPress or HTML single sales page a sidebar is not used too often as it deters the customer from the sale. Where the type of website is a monetized WordPress or HTML website with more than one page for the purpose of visitor content a sidebar is often a non-deterrent and tests reflect the visitor actually prefers the sidebar as it leads to additional options targeted at the visitor.


    For me, the deciding factor comes down to the target market. For some they are in seek of making an educated decision before they buy and a blog with a sidebar serves the purpose. For some they just want to buy and a sidebar deters from the sale.


    Since a lot of online marketers know that traffic is essential and a lot of beginners do not have a online budget for paid traffic they often choose a blog and SEO for free traffic. That is fine, but it is a slow way to make sales. Usually, a blog and content with a link to a sales page is the way they choose to monetize the blog.


    The bottom line for me is to never deter a targeted customer on the salespage.
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  • Profile picture of the author crackhouse
    Make the content in your sidebar relevant to readers and somethign that adds to the content on your main page, or navigational elements, then it should be good for your overall UX.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Originally Posted by RacquetFlex View Post

    That is the question.
    Is the sidebar dying? Decreasing in CTR? Is it actually harming the UX of your blog page?
    If you have a sidebar on your blog, please tell me how well it is working for you. And also what types of CTA's you include on it.
    The best way to find out is to split test, add it for a portion of your visitors and track the results. If it hurts your visitors or retention in any way then take it off or split test a different variant.
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  • Profile picture of the author dioni
    To Sidebar, I'd say

    Just don't overdo the whole thing and it'll be fine.
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  • Profile picture of the author Idontmention
    A sidebar is convenient for users if you made it well. But when you only have some useless links there, that's definitely not a good thing which is obvious.
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  • Profile picture of the author AnissamcGary
    Sidebar is really very useful thing in a website. Because the users can easily access the website without any difficulties.
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  • Profile picture of the author vlweb3d
    I personally think that the sidebar will never die. Even this forum uses a sidebar - and without it, this forum would be harder for me to navigate.

    For my website, the sidebar has an important role for search, navigation and of course Google AdSense ads. So I don't think the Sidebar will be going away anytime soon.

    What's more important is the question "Is Your Site Responsive?" For my site, the sidebar goes down below the main content on mobile devices - and I still get decent CTRs from mobile.
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