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.