I was chatting to someone about how far back they read through blog posts. The general consensus seemed to be, that unless visiting that discovering a new blog turned into “love at first sight,” you don’t tend to dig back too far, or visit archives. There isn’t the time! She was suggesting that I put information on my e-books on my blog. That worried me. Not because it wasn’t a great idea, but because that information was already there!
Look up under my blog header. See the links to the pages? They contain my full bio, e-books, feedback about my work and other information I want you to read. It seems she never noticed and from my blog stats, I know people rarely look. I quickly made sure I had my books featured more prominently.
Where do you look when you read a blog page? It seems we don’t just look back, we may also not look up, down or to the left or right.
Perhaps I missed my calling in archaeology or crime scene investigation, but I habitually poke around. I am always looking for ideas on great blog design, but I find more than that. The sidebars are great treasure troves!
I know some bloggers cram their side bars with junk and advertising, but within that minefield, there are resources I would never have found on the web any other way. I don’t have the time to do long searches for services… some which I haven’t even considered I needed before. I find them in the side bars! If the blog owner has hotlinked the image back to the source, it’s heaven! If not, at least I know what to search for. I’ve been known to bookmark blogs just to come back and raid that sidebar. Who knew you could get traffic that way?
So what have I found through sidebars? Here is a small selection. Just click on the name or link to go there.
Twitpic has a widget you can place on your blog
We Blog: Blogging Community on Facebook that shares posts freely http://www.facebook.com/groups/240976049268613/
Anti-book Piracy free badges for web sites http://www.lalasdesigns.com/search/label/Badges and more!
An excellent example of how to do an easy-to-read side bar comes from Juliana Haygert. An image of her sidebar is at the top of this post. Juliana lists her books; makes it easy to follow her around the Internet; has a great image link to her publisher; interesting information about her; her Twitter feed is at the base and from her I discovered three new bars of gold I never knew existed. Please go and have a look at her site. You cannot do much better than that. She has covered the most important areas. Think about your blog. Do you really need that calendar which don’t mean much to the reader? What are your priorities in getting information across? What represents you best?
So when you’re visiting a blog, take a look to the left, the top under the header and the right! If you are a blogger, make that sidebar count! I’ll visit to raid it.
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