Neil Patel is a guy who loves to analyze things. On his blog, Quick Sprout, he just looked at the difference a sidebar can make on your blog.
Does Your Blog Need A Sidebar? Here’s how Neil answers the question:
People come to a blog to read content. Their main purpose is to devour your information and ask you questions through commenting…
…I’ve found that including your bio on every page of your blog, within the sidebar, is a great way to connect with your readers. This helps build a loyal community, which is the main reason I have a sidebar.
Along with that bio, Neil adds links to social profiles, email opt-in boxes, and any other products or services he wants to promote. He suggests that putting the bio in a sidebar works better than at the top or bottom of the page since it is more apt to be read.
Email opt-ins in the sidebar are more apt to be utilized, too — an impressive 145,971 visitors came to Quick Sprout from email over the last 30 days.
Pros and Cons of Sidebars
When your products and services are in a sidebar, it creates search engine juice, lifting the ranking of those pages when someone looks for what you offer. This is a big benefit when it comes to search engine optimization, and a good reason to decide on using a sidebar if it is appropriate.
That sidebar makes it easy to click on something that catches the eye and move a little further into the sales funnel. Because it goes on the side of the page, it’s always there, ready to be read. Neil has tested right side vs left side on placement, and recommends a right sidebar even though it results in fewer conversions because he wants people to read his blog more than he wants people to opt-in.
- left side = 13% increase in opt-ins
- right side + 9% increase in readers
For a similar reason, not every page on his site has a sidebar. On pages where the focus is making a decision, extra information on a sidebar can sidetrack the process.
Sidebars are tools that can be very effective on your blog and perhaps on other pages on your site. But on pages where you don’t want to distract from conversions, it could be a good idea to keep the sidebar off. Every feature on every page of your site should be there for a reason, and that reason changes with the purpose of the page.