Sidebar Left or Right?

42 replies
  • WEB DESIGN
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Hi,
For monetization purposes does anybody have a preference to putting the sidebar at the left or the right? I've been doing a bit of research, some say the sidebar at the right is better for SEO, and some that having it on the left makes for easier content reading, any views? My blog is mainly for content, the sidebar would only be for navigation, not adsense, I just want to make it as appealing as possible.
Thanks
#left #sidebar
  • Profile picture of the author Mike Baker
    I think for the best monetization strategy I would consider having a 3 column theme where you have a sidebar on both the left and the right would be beneficial, but if you only have a 2 column theme with just content and a few ads in the sidebar then I think having the sidebar would be best utilized on the right as native English speaking people tend to read from left to right. This way you want your content to be the focus of your site and not what is in the sidebar.

    Others may have a different opinion, but that is just my personal preference. Hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tmill
    I always do the right column for blogs. Looks nice and its the new look that people are most comfortable I believe
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    • Profile picture of the author Stuart william
      Originally Posted by Tmill View Post

      I always do the right column for blogs. Looks nice and its the new look that people are most comfortable I believe
      Well i always prefer left column
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    • Profile picture of the author alluris82
      Originally Posted by Tmill View Post

      I always do the right column for blogs. Looks nice and its the new look that people are most comfortable I believe
      It's right. My thought are same to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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    Originally Posted by Rachelj View Post

    some say the sidebar at the right is better for SEO
    Do they really? (Haven't heard that one before!).

    Are they saying it's better for the SEO of the sidebar contents, the "main text" comments, or the entire blog, collectively? And what reason(s), if any, do they offer?

    I've often wondered about this (just for appearance and customer-preference, if any - not for SEO!).

    I've also seen conflicting reports of split-tests on opt-ins with opt-in boxes in sidebars on either side. I haven't "kept score" but my impression is that when I've seen accounts of people having split-tested this, the majority report that they've done better with the "opt-in sidebar" on the right, but the minority who've found the opposite have reported their findings more forcefully and insistently (perhaps because they're somehow "surprising"?).

    I've also wondered, with two sidebars, whether people, overall, prefer them both on the same side or one on either side ...

    I have no conclusions to offer at all, but will be interested to see what anyone else can say.

    This should probably be in the "website design" section, but maybe a kindly moderator will move it there.
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  • Profile picture of the author online seo
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Baker
      Originally Posted by online seo View Post

      As the SEO point of view sidebar is must be at left side of a web page because the google bot crawl from left to right.......
      Really? I haven't heard that one before. Do you have any data to back that up?

      I'm sure that are designed to crawl from top to bottom of the code in the page they visit, not at all like a human.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by online seo View Post

      As the SEO point of view sidebar is must be at left side of a web page because the google bot crawl from left to right.......
      Even if that were true, why would it be a reason to put the sidebar on the left, anyway? :confused:
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    In theory, if you want links/content spidered and indexed you'd want to use a left (top in the html) sidebar. For actual clicks, it's probably best to use a right sidebar as it is closest to the browser scroll bar, which makes it "easier" to click.

    If you are a believer in the Panda updates and that Panda likes content "above the fold", you will want your content higher up on the page than before, which "could" be in the left sidebar, depending on how your CSS is structured.

    In other words, put site links and content in the left sidebar and something like Adsense in the right...But there are way too many variables to take this advice as set in stone, and using CSS will only complicate matters.
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    • Profile picture of the author worldonpalm
      It should be left of you and right of your website. I hope you understand... The sidebar should be at left if you are asking for a website and it should be at right side in case of blogs.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by worldonpalm View Post

        The sidebar should be at left if you are asking for a website and it should be at right side in case of blogs.
        Why?

        Please excuse my asking, but it's a curious assertion. Why should a "website" be different from a "blog" in this regard? A blog is a type of website, surely? Are you suggesting that the frequency with which the site's content is updated is somehow relevant to this, or the use of CSS, or what?
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  • Profile picture of the author ThrillerAuthor
    The way I understand SEO is that it is good if you have your keyword as part of your post/article content as close to the beginning of your post as possible. Which IMHO implies that it would be good for SEO if your post/article can appear as close to the start of your page's source code.

    Now, if you study the page source code in cases where you have a left sidebar, you'll find that the content of the left sidebar will appear before the post/article content, which in turn will appear before the content in the right sidebar. I haven't seen it done differently before, but maybe it's possible.

    Therefore for SEO, I would think it's better to not have a left sidebar, unless you incorporate your keyword in the beginning of your left sidebar, or perhaps if you just have adsense code in your left sidebar.

    Perhaps some else can enlighten us more about this?
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  • I personally always put my sidebars in the right, because human eye feels more comfortable reading content on the left.
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  • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
    I've always custom-built themes for my own sites. I have smallish AdSense/Amazon sites with a similar (but prettified and souped-up) version of XFactor John's green/black template with the topic/section navigation in the header and the "mandatory stuff" (contact us, privacy, etc) displayed more prominently in the right sidebar. Why? Having the proper navigation placed a little more inconspicuously doesn't stop/prevent people from surfing around my site, but it doesn't encourage them to do so, and seems to raise the CTR a little.

    I have bigger "authority site" blogs monetised through Amazon, Infolinks, AdSense, and whatever else with two sidebars - one on either side and the main content sandwiched in-between - with the category navigation on the left and "popular posts", "most commented", etc, on the right.

    And I have "Clickbank niche sites", on which my main and only navigation (barely consisting of more than a few links to my pre-sell pages under my opt-in form, and a link to my "Articles" section below that) is on the right. Why on the right? Because there isn't enough of a navigation to warrant having two separate sidebars, and the opt-in form (arguably the most important element on all my pages) performed better on the right.

    So I guess, a little like myself after a few hours' heavy drinking on a Friday/Saturday night, my sidebars are aaaaallllllllll over the place.
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    • Profile picture of the author marco005
      Hy,

      @DireStraits,

      I want build my site up with 2 sidebars on the right, a banner for the first sidevar, in the second sidebar beginn with ads skyscraper and under then there are my daily "news" posts.

      In the navbar menu under the header,I put there my product categories , my product review sites to make money with amazon. So my site looks alittle bit like an magazine and is mixed with adsense and amazon.

      What do you think about that, with this structure Im on the right way to make money??

      best wishes
      marco005
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Just personal observations ... no scientific data to back it up ...

    My eyes go first to the sidebar on the right. I'm right handed and my hand is on the mouse. It's very close to the right sidebar and requires no thought to click away on the right.

    3-column layouts with two sidebars always look jumbled and crowded to me. Too much. I don't like them at all.

    When I built html sites, the sidebar was always on the left. Don't ask me why. Most people did.
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  • Profile picture of the author imintern
    For me it's like this -
    Right - because I want search engine spiders to look at my content first. It's good for human reading also.
    However, for monetization I believe the 3 Column themes are the best as you can use the middle column to display the adverts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Capitalist_Pig
    Have you considered no sidebar at all?

    I've always been a fan of Elegant Themes, and used their stuff exclusively for a long time. When Wordpress 3.0 came out recently, it included a new default theme, Twenty Eleven. I actually really, really like it.

    By default, the post pages are single column with nice, wide gutters on each side. It really puts the user's focus on the content, and I typically monetize via content ads, that's a very good thing. It also makes the occasional 300x250 image ad stand out all the more when the content flows around it.
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  • Profile picture of the author JimDucharme
    This is a very interesting subject. The first time this came up was when I was editing a well known PC/Tech mag website. One of our consultants on a redesign insisted that people were developing fatigue for the right sidebar and ads there were less effective - I don't know if this is at all true, but that's what he was on about.

    Recently I read a report that people don't view things left to right or right to left. The report cited some studies which indicate that people actually see/read in a spiral pattern. In fact, based on this there's been some discussion about changing such things as the layout of instrument panels in planes.

    Unfortunately I can't offer links to back this up so please take it with a grain of salt. I for one think the spiral theory has some merrit though. What if any application that has for websites is debatable I guess.

    Regards,
    jim
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  • Profile picture of the author marco005
    Most says, one of the "hotspots" so like google headmap is the navbar under the header, I think this is a googd place to put your product pages/review pages monetize with amazon or whatsever in this section.

    Under this you can use an ads unit, and other google ads wrappes in the posting/ articles content.
    Articles sorted in categories and a banner so you like it, you put on the sidebar left or right.

    I think this will be user friendly and convert.Look like darren Rowse photography website who he makes money with amazon, the product pages are in the navbar.

    Navbar is a point who is catch the users eyes.

    best wishes
    marco005
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    People read left to bottom right. This has been proven, they look at the top left first then the middle then the bottom right.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bujuk
      Originally Posted by hustlinsmoke View Post

      People read left to bottom right. This has been proven, they look at the top left first then the middle then the bottom right.
      totally agreed with hustlinsmoke.

      so if you want your visitors to focus on your blog, then your sidebar should be located on the right side of the blog. it will be more pleasant for the readers. of course if your intend is to promote something at the sidebar then the option is very clear, put it on the left sidebar.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    This question is pointless.

    Its much like asking...

    "Should I part my hair to the left or right before attending this job interview?"

    Answer is --- It doesn't matter.

    Split test it and find what works best for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author celente
    we use that egg site that scans your sites and see where people are looking and going to with their mouse cursor.

    Its pretty obvious that we read from left to right, unless you are from country with the koran or what ever LOL.

    Anyway, just study to see where you are visitors are eyeballing and looking at first and put the ads there, and test out things. Remember marketing is more about testing and tweaking, not just slapping something together and seeing if it works.

    Test, tweak, test and tweak. It is amazing what this can do for you business. Something you think will work normally doesnt. And something you do not think will work normally goes like the clappers. Interesting stuff, but dont worry about that, just test out your stuff constantly.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Dybka
      Look at what the top websites in the world do,they spent plenty of money testing these things out and from what I see most of them have the sidebar with the ads on the right,people read from left to right so their eyes will land on those ads eventually.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Iworek
    As a user I like them on right, and all my sites I build this way :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author cassiegetty
    navigation is for the right side bar, while left side is the place to monetized. most of the websites arranged that way.
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  • Profile picture of the author thewebprograms
    Right Sidebar is the Good choice, most of the Popular websites using Right Sidebar, and also monetizing your ads can be clickable....
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  • Profile picture of the author marco005
    Hy,

    Ok, Im a little bit irritated, also;

    my product review sites who should make money as amazon affiliate, I put theese in the left sidebar?
    and under theese, I put my categories with my posts, who are wrapped with google ads in the left sidebar too? (ideal is blended in). And in the navbar only home, about me, privacy-finish.

    Or should I put theese categories with my articles/posts who are wrapped with adsense in the right sidebar? (this is a 3 column model).

    Better I will use an 2 column theme not 3 column, more users like 2 column themes.

    I put product pages, posts wits ads all in the left sidebar- finish.

    best wishes
    marco005
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  • Profile picture of the author sandebdavid
    For the sake of SEO whether the sidebar is left or right does not matter since this depends on how it is rendered with CSS. The point is having the main content area before the sidebar content. The priority content area is then crawled before the sidebar irrespective of whether it is rendered to the left or the right.

    For a blog however I would prefer rendering the sidebar to the Right as most blogs are easily identified with that arrangement.
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  • Profile picture of the author Allan Leadbetter
    We have had success with both but I prefer it on the right side
    Originally Posted by Rachelj View Post

    Hi,
    For monetization purposes does anybody have a preference to putting the sidebar at the left or the right? I've been doing a bit of research, some say the sidebar at the right is better for SEO, and some that having it on the left makes for easier content reading, any views? My blog is mainly for content, the sidebar would only be for navigation, not adsense, I just want to make it as appealing as possible.
    Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author marco005
    OK, thanks very much for your tips.

    Yes, alright, its important that the spider crawls the content first before the sidebar.
    Is this enough with the wp seo plugin, or must I set manualy the m eta tags,title and description at the right place in the layout code, before the sidebar, or does make theese seo plugin good work?

    best wishes
    marco005
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  • Profile picture of the author kokopelli
    I'm right-handed, like most people are, and from a usability perspective, a right-hand sidebar (if there's only one) is better IMHO.

    In addition, with a right-sidebar, the important content is read first, since most people read from left to right.

    Of course, many websites have more than one sidebar and/or navigational aids, so this point becomes moot.

    Not sure what a usability guru like Jakob Nielsen says about this, maybe someone can investigate ...
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  • Profile picture of the author EricHall
    I always do a column on the right. I thing most will do the right side with content on the left. This seems to be the norm on the web.
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    There are - at least - two, almost unrelated issues discussed in the posts above.

    1. How to organize your (invisible) code for SEO?

    2. How to present the output of your code to optimize visitors' experience?

    1. Code and SEO
    On a website using the traditional, natural flow (logic) of the HTML code, the sequence of the different parts would be like:

    1. header portion of the website
    2. left sidebar
    3. central content area
    4. right sidebar
    5. footer
    If your site has only one sidebar and it is on the left, then you have the header, sidebar, content, footer in your code and, actually, exactly in that order.

    Blog script creators wanted to offer the content first for SE and bots... so they moved the sidebar to the right: the majority of the blog designs (e.g. WP themes) place their sidebar on the right... not even knowing why.

    Of course, if you know enough CSS, you can have a sidebar displayed on the left - if needed - AND having it in the code AFTER the content section.
    I have seen themes designed like that - although not many.
    The obvious advantage of the "content first" type of code in your HTML (be it a WP theme or a hand-coded site) is that the search engines will crawl first your content on each page... instead of having to go through all your navigational and external links from the (left) sidebar on each and every page in your site.

    So, yes, there was a SEO reason in placing the sidebar on the right at the dawn of the blogging era

    2. Output, display and visitors' experience
    Partially, this topic is related to the one above although for knowledgeable coders there is no (or shouldn't be) direct relationship; i.e. cause > effect relation, as I explained above.

    As so many smart people posted in the thread: there are tools to test visitors' behaviour on the site, the hot spots they are looking at etc. - so the decision about the visible display of a sidebar (or any other element) should be made based on that - not on the limitations of some coders

    P.S. The initial left or right question has nothing to do with the so-called SEO plugins or the meta tags in the - invisible - <head> portion of a site/page.
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  • Profile picture of the author wadeby
    It doesn't much matter left or right.
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    • Profile picture of the author oneill
      Originally Posted by wadeby View Post

      It doesn't much matter left or right.
      Yes it does, most of the websites now use right sidebar not really sure why but that is common for everyone. Personally when i visit a website with left sidebar i feel like something is wrong with that.

      First eye impact matters.
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      • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
        Originally Posted by oneill View Post

        Yes it does, most of the websites now use right sidebar not really sure why ...
        You just need to read the whole thread - to find out the "why".
        :rolleyes:
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        • Profile picture of the author oneill
          Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

          You just need to read the whole thread - to find out the "why".
          :rolleyes:
          Oh, i saw what you did there :>
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  • Profile picture of the author jburke81
    I always go with the right hand column myself and have had good results that way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tiffiney Cowan
    Okay, I'm going to go against the grain here a bit, but as a reader of blogs I find that I can ignore the ads in the right sidebar a lot easier than those in the left sidebar - mostly because they tend to be on the right so I've sort of trained myself to not see them.

    In the end though, you might just try testing and see which gets the best results.
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  • Profile picture of the author EmmaSmith
    i prefer sidebar at right side for both blogs and articles ..it's easier for users ..so u can get more benefits..
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  • Profile picture of the author webpeon
    depends totally on the site you are building, restricting yourself to one side or the other limits the diversity of the sites you build

    people read from left to right, so whichever is most important you'll display on the left, to least important moving across the page to the right, for me.

    left side i use less often, its ideal for feature rich sites where the idea is to offer better features than competitors and keeping people clicking all over the site is goal and not so much reading the content.

    for anything advertising related use the left hand side for content, its the most important part when trying to sell something even if only an idea, in this case i would place a couple of widgets on the right, shopping carts, contact forms, opt-ins etc, things that are helpful but wont redirect people off the page and away from the content
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