In the real world, you can make a point by speaking smartly, interacting and building real relationships. But on the web, the world is different. You don’t have direct interpersonal interactions – your website is your representative and the medium to reach people.
So, it’s not just what you say but also HOW you say it. Hence, your content does not need to be just good; it also needs to be appealing and it should catch the reader’s attention. After all, how will you make your point if the user doesn’t notice your content in the first place?
One of the main ways to optimize the content on your website is the appropriate use of Sidebars. Of course, other elements of website design like other plug-ins, fonts, layout, the navigation bars, etc play vital roles too. But we shall discuss side bars today since they can strongly optimize or enhance your content representation and highlight your content in your website design.
How Should Your Sidebar Be?
The sidebars are used to display information that you want your reader to browse through. This is great way to keep people updated with feeds, news, updates, ticker etc. But be sure you use the side bars to the right proportion and don’t over stuff your site with sidebars and throw a lot of information on your reader.
How Can The Sidebar Optimize Content In The Website Design?
The sidebars used smartly can do a great deal in reaching your content to the user.
1. Subscription Option
Your sidebar should offer the subscription bar. This works well to convert random traffic into real subscriptions. You do want people to come back to you right? Make the most of their presence on your website!
Besides the box that offers e-mail subscriptions, you could also have the RSS Subscribe button so that people can be constantly updated with the RSS Feed.
2. Display Your Best Works
The most popular articles or best rated works on the right hand side, sidebar creates a great impression. People tend to read them and share them because they are already recommended. By displaying your best works on the sidebars you are making them more accessible to people who come on to your site, instantly reaching out your content to more people.
For instance, a photography site, can present the most prominent works listed on the right sidebar. An e-commerce site can have its most popular products on sale, listed in the sidebar. It’s all displaying good work!
3. Updates and Social Plug-ins
The updates and resources are something that you build with professionalism and need to use it wisely.
Having social plug-ins on your side bar is a good option but the idea is to get readers form these social sites to your page. Your sidebar with updates should basically be something to ‘display’ your presence. You should try and go strong on social sites. People on your website are hard earned traffic and we should not be distracting them.
Resources are again something you tend to build with experience. If you have been writing or blogging for sometime or if your blog is alive for a while, then there would be resource pages with related information. Linking to such pages gives you more authenticity and helps search engines to view you with more regard. It’s something like a compilation of good work which can always be useful to readers. Why not provide them with the specific information?
5. Recent Comments and Testimonials
This is like a virtual proof shouting that your work is great. Reading is like a one – on – one experience. Hence, testimonials and latest comments are more like people talking to each other – like the ‘word of mouth’. Moreover latest comments add to the ‘discussion’ side and people like to share opinions. If it’s a blog post, they’d want to read your article and give a comment themselves. If it’s a website, they’d be interested in seing what reviews people are giving. That’s how the psyche works.
6. A Search Box
A good search option on the sidebar is again an important factor that can lead people to your content. The catch is that you need a strong search that takes the reader exactly and aptly to your content. The search can be a great tool to optimize the content on the website.
7. Categories of Work
For blogs, it’s a great idea to display the categories of your work on the right side. This helps people to browse through your works widely. For websites, this can be the categories of your work, services, products etc. In simple words, categories help become more structured. The site map becomes more evident and readers can enjoy the content that they wish to browse, base on their interest/category of interest.
Where Should You Place Your Sidebars?
Reports show (and it’s also pretty obvious) that people have the tendency to read from the left hand side to the right hand side. And we read from the top to bottom. Hence, a simple hierarchy of content display would say we must put the most important things right on top, and should start displaying them from the left to the right hand side.
Hence, based on your own discretion, you need to decide where you want to place your sidebars and how you want to place them. If you keep content on the left hand side, top corner; people are bound to see it. That’s why these sections have the ‘HOME’ and ‘ABOUT’ tabs on the top, left corner by default. So, you can place your sidebars in any region you wish to and display the content based on your choice. But just be careful, not to over load your web page with many of them and confuse the user.
The sidebars, if used smartly, can be something like a weapon to reach your content to your reader. A wise web person, you should give it a shot – it’s a win – win situation for you in the end of the day! You can also go through our Digital Marketing Course for more Details!