|My sidebar glimpse
- Tag Cloud (or categories): I want people to know what I discuss on my blog as soon as they land on the home page. So I placed my tag cloud at the top of my sidebar, with the label: "What's on this blog." I want to discuss the different aspects of being a single mom, a writer, an online dater, a sandwich generation member, a sufferer of endometriosis, and more. I feel like because I don't currently have one narrow topic, I need this tag cloud.
- Call to Sign Up for Emailed Posts: This widget comes next because I want people to get my posts emailed to them. I'm hoping that I can get a following. I'm playing with the idea of blogging a book and would like to write interesting posts that people want emailed to them, so I put this second on the sidebar.
- Recent Blog Posts: This is a list of the titles of my last 5 blog posts. I don't want two forms together on my sidebar (see below) because I think that would be confusing, and I also hope readers might be reading along on one post, see a title they find interesting, and click on it to read another post.
- Call to Sign Up for My Monthly Newsletter: So here's another form, but this one is to gather names for my monthly newsletter, where I hope to announce events, provide helpful tips about some interesting subject, promote other writers' books, and whatever else I decide. I would love people to sign up for both posts and the newsletter, but I put this one farther down on the sidebar. If I have to choose, I would rather have people receive emailed posts, and have contact with readers a couple times a week.
- Recent Comments: I am hoping for discussion, discussion, discussion. Although currently that is lacking (go on, check it out, leave a comment--wink, wink). Anyway, showing people that others are commenting might encourage them to do the same.
- Contact Me Form: Yes, one more form on the sidebar. Again, notice I didn't stack these forms, but I broke them up with other widgets. This form is for any contact someone wants to make with me from complaining to wanting to buy a book to making a private comment they don't want others to see. I feel this is important, but not as crucial as the previously mentioned forms.
That's it for the sidebar. Now the footer. On my particular template, I have three columns to my footer. I don't know how many people check the footers of websites and blogs, but when I'm looking for information, this is generally where I go--for a search bar, site map, or contact us form. On my footer (see photo for example), I placed:
- Subscribe via RSS Feed
- My social media contact information
- A dropdown menu of categories for blog posts
- Search form
- My location (if someone wants to hire me as a speaker)
Again, I might need to revise, but that's what I have for now.
What about you? What have you found to be helpful on your website's or blog's sidebar and footer? Share with us in the comments below!
Margo L. Dill is an author, editor, and teacher, living in St. Louis, MO. Check out her author website at http://www.margoldill.com and her editing website at http://www.editor-911.com for more information!