Do You Effectively Use That Sidebar?

VandelayDesign has published an extensive article (Effective Use of Blog Sidebars) detailing the effective use of blog sidebars. Sidebars are known as areas on a blog that stretch vertically where things such as widgets, or snippets of code can be placed. Sidebars are prime real estate to highlight various sections of your blog. The types of content most commonly seen within sidebars is, RSS subscription information, recent comments, most popular posts, recent posts and third party widgets.

After reading this article, it’s made me rethink my use of sidebars. I used to place anything of misc. origin into the sidebar as I didn’t know where else to put it. But now I think I’ll go through my blog and give my sidebar a purpose and make it more usable to visitors, especially those new to the site.

In what ways have you used your own blogs sidebar? Do you use it to highlight content or do you use it to house third party widgets/services? Which sidebar configuration do you use/prefer? I typically enjoy using a large column for content along with a large column at least 300 pixels wide for the sidebar. But the VandelayDesign website showcases how two columns for sidebars can be pulled off effectively.

6 thoughts on “Do You Effectively Use That Sidebar?

  1. You’re welcome Thomas. Once you get that redesigned sidebar in place, come back and let us know so we can take a look at it.

  2. I think planning a blog sidebar is in the top 10 of design and usability concerns. I just started a blog so my whole site gets “tweaked” daily but the sidebar is something I have been planning for a few weeks now. This post came at the perfect time for me. Now I need to implement my sidebar plan. 😛

    I personally have mixed feelings about the double column sidebar. I have seen a few use it well and most use it poorly. Thanks for the link.

  3. I can understand where your boyfriend is coming from. If someone were to click on a link and visited your other blog, they might not come back to the originating point. But I’m checking out your sidebars now and I see that your RSS subscribe button is near the center of the page in the sidebar instead of on top. Typically, I don’t see that too often. But I do like how accessible your archives are and the picture of you gives the blog a human face, literally.

    On a side note, how has your experience been like with TypePad?

  4. My boyfriend is an interaction designer and he helps me with my blog.

    I have a two column side bar set up on typepad.

    Tonight I said, “I want links to my other sites to be the first thing people see. To keep them within my blog network.”

    He said, “But don’t you want to keep them on THIS site?”

    We decided to have my recent posts at the top of the left column, with my google ads just underneath that. My picture and links to my other sites are in the farthest right column.

    Still, this is all a work in progress.

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