The good news is that – you can actually have both layout styles around your blog! For instance, you could use full-width layout for pages and add a cute sidebar to your blog entries, as most modern themes offer this choice.
So here’s a quick cheat sheet to help you decide when you need a sidebar or not. Read on!
What Makes Sidebar Layout Ah-mazing
Sidebar is a handy piece of web real estate you can use to prominently display some essential content and navigate users towards discovering more on your blog. If they’re just casually browsing around, they could quickly hop to other pages and learn more about your main offerings.
What content to feature on your sidebar?
Your bio. Having a lovely headshot along with an enticing description will help you connect with your readers. They will get more familiar with your friendly face, feel inspired to check your “About me” page and click around. Even Neil Patel (huge marketing guru) admits that having his bio on the blog has helped him build a more loyal community.
Email Subscription Box or Freebie Opt-In. Returning loyal readers are the backbone of your blog business and email subscribers are often a blogger’s biggest supporters. After all, they get more personal attention from you if you’re doing your email marketing right. But most people won’t scroll down to the end of your page and search specifically for a subscription box. Placing it on your sidebar means that it constantly stays within their reach and they can hop in anytime.
Recent or Popular Posts. Again, you want to steer your readership towards more awesome content you have on your blog. While a good header already offers them the navigation, the sidebar can complement it and display enticing new reads to click through.
Links to Social Media. Again, make it easy to connect with you!
Curated shop finds if they go in line with your blog brand and visuals, of course. Placing links to your recent fashion or décor finds with snappy descriptions that compliment your content can result in higher affiliate payouts. Gal Meets Glam nailed this concept on her blog:
When To Opt For Full-Width Layout
While there are numerous benefits to having a sidebar on your blog, some pages just don’t need it. For instance, your homepage can perfectly exist without it and still entice readers to browse through your blog.
Sidebar might instead act as a distraction on your About Me or Shop Page as well. And also If you have a dedicated landing page for a certain offering e.g. on the one promoting your podcast or featuring real-time life updates. For example there are bloggers who don’t have sidebar at all on their blogs like Margo & Me and Advice From Twenty-something.
Full-width layout creates a more immersive reading experience and keeps your readers focused on just one thing at a time – either your words or gorgeous visuals. This may be a bit of a bold move for new bloggers, who are still en route to finding their voice and creating their brand experience, so tread carefully. If you want to put more emphasis on a single post and feel confident enough that it’ll wow your readers and make them scroll till the very end, opt for the full-width layout without hesitations!
In any case, don’t be afraid to experience with your blog design and A/B test different page layouts. If you install a heat map plugin, you will be able to see exactly where readers click and what information they read the most!
Are you a chloédigital publisher? Take action with this post by asking your support specialist about your current blog layout and ways to improve it!