Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Must Know Tips About Your Blogs Sidebar

I blog for fun, to learn, be a part of a community, to document our lives, to resource others and to inspire a little bit along the way. That all said, I am really interested in making my blog a better, nicer place. I like aesthetics and I can appreciate that as people, we are very visual and only have a few seconds to make a first impression.

In person, that impression can be made in many different ways; In the warmth of your smile, the tone of your voice, your appearance and hygiene, your body language. When it comes to your website you only have a few seconds and those seconds are usually taken up with the visual appearance of your blog.

Now, I'm not graphic design whizz, and my own website isn't perfect. Everything I know has been self or husband taught, but I have spent many years creating blog headers, keeping a website and designing church advertisements. I've picked up a few things along the way and I wanted to share them with you.

I've made a whole basic blog design series that I am constantly updating and adding to. There are links at the end of this post, or subscribe to my blog to get the latest.

Tips For Your Side Bar

  • Do include a clear about me and a "landing space" for new readers.

    What's a landing space? Its a place your new readers can rest their eyes and know about you in a glance. Its a place they will go to "next" to find out more about you. Give them that space to land. Include a few sentences to sum up you and your blog and direct them to where they should go next - Popular posts? Things they must know about you? Meet the family?

    What is the most important thing for your new readers to find when they come to your page? This should be included near the top of your side bar.
  • You want your new reader to see the best of you, so keep it fresh and new and relevant!

    Chuck out those old blog awards from 2007, you want readers to know the now you, not the old you. Do you have a new post to add to your popular posts repertoire?

    Every few months I add something new or update my side bar, this keeps it slightly different and gives a very loyal reader something new to notice and look at. It also means if my information is changing and easily accessible people will spend more time on my page.
  • Don't go overboard and change your whole design every week. You want your whole image to represent you and be recognisable to a returning reader so they remember you.
  • Have your most important things at the top - for me thats a little bit of information about myself and my sponsors. For you that might include your post history, or your shop details. Order your buttons in priority.
  • Keep all of your icons in your side bar aligned. You definitely don't want some things to the left, others to the right and a couple in the center. Have them all in the same space (center is good).

    To align them in the center, go into the HTML widget in your blogger template and add < c e n t e r > (without spaces) at the beginning of the code and < / c e n t e r > (without spaces) right at the end. Save and repeat for all of your HTML widgets. 

How To Get Your Blog in Google Searches
How To Find Out The Size of Your Blog Header
How To Link Your Email Address To Your Comments (so bloggers can easily reply directly to you!)
How To Create New Tabs On Your Blog
How To Create A Blog Header In Under 5 Minutes

Do you have a side bar philosophy? Personally I think they are one of the most important elements to determine the future success of a blog! (Eek! Pressure huh!)


  1. oh so helpful! looking forward to the rest, you know I'm total DIY so yay for super basics :) Thanks!!!

    1. Thanks Foxxy! ;) Hopefully I can manage to do every super basic. Stay tuned! :)

  2. I'm really excited for this Sophie! (I've been meaning to comment since you posted this!) I'd really like to learn how to make a good 'landing space' - I like how you have the photos of you and your little family on the side. I'd also really love to know how to make a menu at the top, under the photo/title at the top. I'd like to have some buttons there to take people to things like my birth stories and my adoption journey etc. Yay! You're so clever and generous!

    1. Thanks Jess! I hadn't thought about including tabs (the buttons at the top of the page) but I definitely will now! thanks for the suggestion / idea! :)


  3. I know I am a little behind here - but THANK YOU, I have just updated my blog header and a few other things! Simone had given me a revamp a while ago, but things have changed since then! So wonderful to have been able to revamp myself this time! It doesn't look as good as hers, but hey; it was all me this time (thanks to you and to her tutorials as well)!

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! So exciting!

  4. SO behind here, but these tips are so helpful! Especially as I am completely new to this whole blogging business, so thank you! x

  5. Hi Sophie im new to bloging and your tutorials have been a life savour. id really like to learn how you made your "landing space" with the beautiful picture at the top any tips?

  6. Hi Sophie, i am just loving your blog tips they have helped me so much already! I did a blog about 10 years ago and just got back into blogging about 2 months ago and i am so grateful for blogs like yours and people like you out there, keep it up and come and join me on my journey as i will join you on yours :-)

  7. Oops Sophie i forgot to leave my e mail address its peppermintpie727@hotmail.com :-) Desrae


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