Technology

Where To Place That Sidebar

About 24 hours ago, I published a poll on Performancing asking readers which sidebar configuration they used on their blogs. Although the poll has yet to run its course, the majority of you voted for having one sidebar that is presented on the right hand side of the site.

An article written by Addicott Web ending up being the inspiration for the poll as Addicott takes a closer look and the reasons behind why a sidebar should be placed on the left or right side of your blog.

Sidebar On The Left:

  • Emphasize the content, not the navigation
  • People look for, and even expect, navigation there
  • We read left to write

Sidebar On The Right:

  • Blog sidebars go on the right. Period
  • More SEO Friendly
  • We read left to right

On my personal blog, I use one large sidebar that is approximately 300 pixels in width on the right hand side of the blog. I’m a big fan of the one large sidebar as opposed to the two smaller ones placed next to each other. Also, having the sidebar on the right just feels natural to me rather than having it on the left.

Also, thanks to the Slayers Custom Widgets plugin for WordPress that I reviewed here, you can now use your sidebar more effectively by assigning widgets to appear only on specific content pages. I’m using a similar plugin to configure widgets that display post meta data in the sidebar as a means of cleaning up the content area. Usually, things such as tags, related posts, and comments are displayed within the content. Thanks to the plugin, I can place that information within widgets and only have them appear on the single page view of my template in WordPress.

Conclusion:

So tell me, why do you prefer one sidebar configuration over another? It’s obvious that there is a science involved with one or the other but in my instance, I threw science out the window and picked the side that best resonated with me.

Author: jeffc

10 thoughts on “Where To Place That Sidebar

  1. I would say that the right hand side is correct. It is a written rule if i’m not mistaken. The eyes naturally are drawn to the right hand side of a page hence advertising in Yellow Pages being twice as much for right hand pages.

    I wouldn’t gamble with that until I could afford not to worry.

    Dan

  2. Wouldn’t the SEO negatives of a left sidebar be negated by having the HTML/php generate the content before the sidebar and then have the CSS put the sidebar on the left side which would leave all of the good SEO content at the beginning of the HTML file?

  3. Eye tracking and user experience experts will tell you that the upper right part of the screen is a “power” spot. Click-through rates tend to be higher on the upper right than the upper left (hmm, can’t find the numbers to back that up, so I’m going from memory).

  4. Because I have a subscribe option there, and it has been proven with eye tracking and analytics that people naturally look to the right and that your conversions will increase by having a subscription option on the right instead of the left.

    And it is also a much nicer interface if you ask me.

  5. I remember back in the day when sidebars were almost always on the left. Now I pretty much expect to see them on the right and I’ve found they’re more accessible there – maybe because it allows us to put our content at the top left, which is where visitors probably look first. Interesting study.

  6. These days I’m so used to ‘expecting’ to see navigation on the right that when I see it on the left it now feels unnatural. What Addicott Web fail to reason is the navigation on the right is closer to the scroll bar, therefore we’re already over that side of the screen a) because we’re scrolling as we move our way around the content, and b) because ‘we’ (some of us), indeed read from left to right.

    The major news publications have figured that out, I haven’t seen one yet that has the main navigation on the left. Most of the time they have their navigation sits below their masthead with links and teasers to their content on the right. It works.

  7. I am not a web designer by profession but I used to design myself for my own works. I run a blog called FeatehrPot If you take a look at the current design you can see that its incomplete (pardon me 😀 ) Now it is undergoing a re-design from the lessons of past experience, like.. I made a deep analysis of the visitor trends and clicks etc… For me some research like that will work, if it is for a client he will run away seeing the time consumed by the designer.
    As you have said, we need reader to concentrate on the article.. for that left sidebar will do the best. northxeast it has side bar on left in the ‘single post’ view and sidebar on right in the home page view. Its a good solution for that according to me. And taking some miscellaneous stuffs off the sidebar will make user navigation easier and do flawlessly.
    In some cases,according to the visitors we have to change the style of navigation and display of contents. A regular theory will not give a solution for that. To get a good navigation and layout we have to run a short research on the type of readers and the visitor trend of that specific web site.

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