3.29.2012

Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Sidebar Help...What do you REALLY Need?


Welcome to the Bloggiesta mini-challenge for sidebar help!
This post may seem a bit ironic, seeing as how I don't even have sidebars on my blog to begin with, but I got rid of the sidebars on my blog for a very specific reason (which I'll reveal to you later). For this mini-challenge, I want you to think about one thing:


Let me tell you something about myself: I am super lazy. If something is even remotely hard to find on a blog, I'll usually give up and click away. I also have problems keeping my attention in one place. If I'm reading a post and see something more interesting in the sidebar, I'm not reading that post anymore; I'm off exploring the sidebar. The same goes for blogs that have too many ads, buttons, and widgets in the sidebars; I most likely won't stay very long, because I feel like I'm getting an overload of information.

I can tell you, this is the way the majority of people respond to these situations as well. Simply cleaning up your sidebars can do wonders for your blog. It can also ensure that those who visit your blog are able to focus on the right content, and find things easily. 

Here are some steps you can take to clean out your sidebars, and make them start working FOR you.
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that these are my own opinions, voiced for the purposes of this mini-challenge, and your opinions may differ. There are many different views on sidebars, and this is just one of them. 
If you don't like what I have to say, you are free to clutter your own sidebars as much as you'd like. :)

Step 1: Think About What You Want Your Visitors To See First
Really think about this, because the top 1/3 of your blog is the most important part of your entire blog (in my opinion). This is what visitors see first, and it gives them their first impression of your blog. And for the visitors who click away in under 30 seconds (which happens more than you think), this is also most likely the only part of your blog they will ever see. Are all those ads and buttons at the top of your sidebars that lead to other blogs and websites really the first thing you want your visitors to see? Because whatever is displayed first will be seen the most. Make sure it's something worthwhile to you, and beneficial to your blog.

Step 2: Think About How You Want Visitors to Interact With Your Blog
So they've come to your blog. What now? What is the next thing you want your visitors to do, aside from reading your content? Do you want them to subscribe, or do you prefer they find you on Twitter? Do you want them to read more about you, read an important note, or do you want them to take a look at the new set of reviews or tutorials you just posted? The answer to this question will provide you with the the links, buttons, and widgets, that you want at the very top of your sidebars. THESE are the things you want your visitors to focus on, therefore they have to most importance. 

Step 3: Determine How Your Visitors Can Follow You, Or Find You In Other Places
This usually goes along with step 2, but some may have different priorities, and that's fine. I'll just say that is VERY smart to have an easy way for people to subscribe/follow you, and a links to other social media sites (at least one), towards the top of the sidebars. Make it easy for visitors to follow you and find you in other places, and your readers will grow. If people have to search for more than a few seconds to find out how to subscribe to your blog, you're losing followers.

Step 4: Think About What Your Visitors Are Looking For
In most cases, I would say that's all you REALLY need in your sidebars. But there are other cases where it's beneficial to include other things that your visitors may be looking for. An example would be banners for tours or hops you're participating in. These are useful to have, so people don't have to search through a bunch of posts to find the right one. These are only beneficial if a.) the links are working correctly, and b.) the banner/button is only up while the tour or hop dates are still valid. Otherwise, it's just more clutter in your sidebars. 

Step 5: Utilize Pages To Get Rid of Clutter
So where does all this stuff go now? How am I supposed to get rid of all these things I love? I'll tell you: pages. By grouping like items together, pages can be utilized in a way that will clear clutter from your sidebars. 
An example would be a links page, with links to your favorite blogs, favorite authors, affiliates, and the blogging directories and groups you belong to. 
A contact page can hold the other social media sites you belong to, that didn't make the cut for top sidebar space, or made things look too crowded.
A reading challenges page can host the buttons and progress bars for all those reading challenges you signed up for.
A favorites page can host your love for all your favorite books you've read.
You can make a page for just about anything that is cluttering up your sidebars, but can't bear to part with.

Step 6: Be Ruthless. What Do You REALLY Need?
Now that you have your most important items up top, and most of your clutter cleared away, it's time to think about your sidebars one more time. Is there anything left that you really don't need, but just can't let go for some reason? Is there anything that doesn't fit with your blog content? Any old buttons or banners that you never got rid of? Anything that detracts from your main content? This is where I suggest you be ruthless. Yes, it's a hilarious comic strip, but do you really need it if you already have two other comic strips in your sidebar? No. Chances are, there are just a few more items you can stand to get rid of. Be Ruthless towards that clutter! ;)


How This Fits In With My Blog
If you take a look at my blog, you'll immediately see where the points I want my visitors to focus are: my blog posts (the main content), subscribing via email (something I decided I wanted to push), and a little bit of social media. I got rid of my sidebars because after thinking of an answer for step 2, I decided that I wanted the main--and for the most part, the only--focus of my blog to be specifically on my blog posts. When you visit my blog, there is hardly anywhere to go but down--straight to the post. If you continue on after that, you'll hit some other goodies, but until then, you've got nothing to do but read. Devious, I know. 

It's not a perfect system, and there are definitely some cons to it, but it works for me. It's given me the results I wanted, which were more commenting instead of passive reading, and a longer first glance from new visitors. 

How It Will Fit In With Yours
I hope you'll at least give this some thought, and find what works for your blog. It's been proven: cleaner pages are more attractive to the eye. It's just up to you to decide whether a cleaner page means one or two less items in the sidebar, or the dismissal of sidebars altogether. :)

Your challenge is to complete at least one of the items below:

  • Get rid of at least 3 items from your sidebar
  • Re-arrange your sidebar so that the most important items for your blog are at the top, AND get rid of at least 1 item
  • Add one item to your sidebar that you didn't have before, but feel is important to have (social media button, subscribing button, search tool, etc.)

It may be hard to part with some of the items in your sidebars, but let's be honest; sidebars are really accents to the important part of your blog: your actual posts! Remember where you want the focus to be, and go from there.

For reference, these are widely considered some of the most important items to have in sidebars (maybe not all together, though). It may be useful to check this list when deciding what to keep/get rid of in your sidebars.

Subscription options
Social media buttons
Search tool
Category list
Popular posts
Follow tools (GFC, Linky Followers)
Email subscription
Recent Posts
Archive list

128 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for your post. I've just got back from a blogging break so I've completed your challenge to think about my sidebar. I've clean it up by deleting some out-of-date challenge buttons. I deleted two and re-arranged the others. I've also changed my template to a simpler design. My next task is to learn about how to include pages.

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    2. Great job, Linda! And good luck with your pages venture. Have you checked out the pages challenge? http://charlotteslibrary.blogspot.com/2012/03/bloggiesta-mini-challenge-make-some.html It might be helpful. :)

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  2. This is an awesome post. I'm not technically participating in Bloggiesta as I'm on vacay this weekend, but since I'm sitting in the airport now, I'm totally rearranging my sidebar! Excellent ideas.

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    1. I'm glad you like the post! Hope you have fun on your vacay this weekend, too. I'm totally jealous!

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  3. You inspired me. I tapered down my by subject section and moved some stuff to the footer.

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    1. Nice job! I love that you utilized the footer as well. :)

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  4. Great post! I think my sidebars are pretty good, I keep them as simple as possible but they can always use work!

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  5. I am accepting this challenge. If i put my associations on my about me page..does anyone know the html code i would use to link the images together in a row? email me @ kimbacaffeinated@gmail.com pretty please.

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    1. Thanks for accepting the challenge! I just sent you an email.

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  6. I really like this post. I've always had a simple sidebar and I love it. I want my blog to look clean. I don't want a bunch of junk on it and I want it to be quick loading time for readers. Are you taking a look at our sidebars?? See if we've done a good job? If so, I'd love a quick glance at mine! *hint hint*

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    1. Ooh, loading time! I forgot to mention that in my post, but it's a very good thing to take into consideration. Oh, and your sidebar looks great! I would be able to easily find anything I needed to while visiting your blog. :)

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  7. Great post! I have been feeling like my sidebars are perfect, but you made me rethink them. In a good way! I really need to think more about the "above the fold" content. Happy Bloggiesta!

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    1. Glad I could help! Your sidebar is super simple, and has everything visitors would need. I love it!

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  8. LOVE this! The disclaimer is awesome! I hope lots of people take note of the points you make here. After searching through 200 plus posts for Twitter accounts for the Bloggiesta list... I'm so glad for those people who make it easy to find.

    And... believe it or not, I've been ruthless in the past with my sidebar and I STILL have tons of stuff there... plus TONS of pages! What's up with that! :)

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    1. Haha, I realized I might need to add a disclaimer in case I offend anyone with all my 'clutter' this and that talk. :) And I feel you about having to find everyone's Twitter accounts; it's amazing to discover how hard it can be to find what you need sometimes! It's one of those things that a lot of people just don't think about.

      And be ruthless again! Get rid of double content, and group like items together. (Example: I see a favorites list in your sidebar, AND in your menu, and the same goes for your review lists.) Although you have a lot of posts on your blog from blogging for so long, so maybe it's better to have more ways of sorting it. Whatever works for you! :)

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  9. Ok, challenge complete here is the link to my clutter free blog :http://kimbathecaffeinatedbookreviewer.blogspot.com/

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    1. Very nice, Kimba! I love the sleek social media icons you used, too. :)

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  10. I absolutely adore your scrolling sidebar! Great idea. I may have to look into getting that at a later date. Is it a particular tool or anything? Great post!

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    1. Thank you! It is actually the one thing on my blog that I would call a right pain in the butt to install. It took my AGES to do it, and I'm still sure that I didn't do it completely right...but it looks good. Hahaha. There is something that's kind of like a widget that you can add that is similar. Here's the tutorial: http://www.howbler.com/2011/06/blogger-widget-add-floating-social.html Hope that helps!

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  11. Great post! I will definitely be doing some work on my sidebar this weekend!

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  12. Haha I had the opposite problem, I didn't know what to put in my sidebar! After reading your first step, I sort of wished I arranged my sidebar a little better but my blog design is already coded. Overall, I think I am pretty satisfied with my sidebar though. I really enjoyed reading your tips, they were super informative!

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    1. I totally understand. Once it's all coded perfectly, it's pretty much stuck. Can I just say that I LOVE your layout, though? It's so gorgeous!

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  13. thank you..i do know i have a lot going on - too busy on my blog - and have to clean up.. so hope i can get it done..

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    1. I hope so too. :) I'm glad I could help. Thanks for stopping by.

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  14. Thanks for your post! I always try to maintain clean my sidebar, but with your advises, I managed to get rid of like 5 items from my sidebar, re-arrange it to maintain the most important at the top and added a new widget for popular posts.

    Check it out! http://oh-my-books.blogspot.com/

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    1. It looks very nice! I love that you included the search bar at the very top. Great job! :)

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  15. Thanks so much for putting this post together! It gave me an excuse to do some much-needed sidebar revamping. Per your suggestions, unnecessary/outdated items were purged, more relevant new items were added, and much general rearranging ensued. I may do a bit more tweaking in the future, but I'm generally much happier with the new layout.

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    1. I'm so, so glad I could help. You blog looks great! Doesn't it feel so much better to get rid of clutter? :)

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  17. Okay...I'm going to give this another try!

    Great post...and I finished! I cleaned up and rearranged my sidebars, showing most important stuff near the top: how to follow, etc.

    While my revised version will never be as minimalistic as yours (lol), it's a definite improvement!

    Thanks!

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    1. You've got all the important stuff at the top, including your cute blog button. Very nice! Thanks for taking the challenge! :)

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  18. Okay, so I gave it a try!

    I decided that I want some stuff about myself on top. Just so people get to know me a bit. I also wanted my rating to be there, because it's easy to have such a list when you're reading my review. And currently reading can come in handy, so people know which reviews they can expect the next time they visit my blog.

    I deleted 'what's on my blog'. You could find stuff like 'waiting on wednesday'. If you follow my blog, you can find out yourself. So that wasn't really necessarily.
    I took one method of following away, since I noticed that nobody used it :)

    I've placed my archive below my followers.

    There's nothing I want to add. All the important stuff is there and I don't want to use facebook (and I don't have twitter) so I think my sidebar is good this way!

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    1. Awesome job! You've got all the important things for your blog, it's neat and tidy-looking. :) Thanks for taking the challenge!

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    2. Ah, and I see you're reading The Hunger Games...YAY!!!

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  19. I have just tossed out some stuff from my sidebars that I didn't need anymore and turned some things around. It is still a work in process though, because I might want to add the social media buttons and the bloglovin button and I want to see how I will fit that in. I wanted to place more under my posts like you did but in my template this turned out a bit ugly, so I decided against it in the end.

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    1. I love it all! And I see you did end up fitting in the social media and bloglovin buttons. It all looks great! Sorry it didn't work out having some stuff in the footer, though.

      Thanks for taking the challenge!

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  20. I added social media buttons - and am torn about tossing some things on the sidebar. It's on the verge of being too cluttered, but I don't know what to cut.

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    1. Thanks for taking the challenge! Since you were wondering what to cut, can I make a suggestion?
      Instead of getting rid of items, it would go a long way to make items smaller. For instance, your book list photos could be re-made so that they are all shorter, and then it would feel like there is less in your sidebar. Or the sidebar itself could be made thinner, and your main content could be made wider, and without changing anything else, it would feel like less.

      It's your blog, so it's all about what you want, but these are just some suggestions to think about. ;)

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    2. I forgot to say that the social media icons you added are so cute! I love that they flip down on the tops.

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  21. Done! I deleted a blog ring widget, a Tumblr icon (I don't use it anymore), a Goodreads counter, and a Canadian Book Blogs widget. I also rearranged my sidebars.

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    1. Woot! Doesn't that feel good? :) It looks great!

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  22. I've always tried to keep my sidebars clean, but it seems like I keep adding things and never removing anything! I decided my Goodreads challenge bar wasn't necessary - you can find me on GR and see how I'm progressing. I also removed the link I had as a Book Depository affiliate - it's already linked on all my reviews (or will be after this weekend!). Finally I removed my blog's button - I don't feel like it accurately captures my blog anyways. It might make a resurgence later, with a fresh new look.

    I did add a search button though!

    Thanks for the great tips!

    Kelly
    Radiant Shadows

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    1. I feel ya on that! That was my problem when I did have sidebars: always adding things, but never wanting to remove anything. Good job getting rid of stuff, and also on seeing the items that are repeats of things you have elsewhere.

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  23. Awesome post. I thought that I had been ruthless with my sidebar, but hadn't looked at it in months and months and months ... and realized that there were quite a few things that could go. So I did! Got rid of the Recommended Reading widget, a seemingly broken GFC section, and moved the "I'm Listed On" section to my About page. Thanks!

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    1. Woot! Awesome job being even more ruthless! :) I love your use of scrabble tiles. :)

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  24. Thank you for hosting this mini-challenge! My sidebars are all cleaned up and I added a favorites page for the things I couldn't part with. Appreciate your post :)
    www.craftyfridays.blogspot.com

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    1. Great job! And yay, you added a page. It's so useful to have pages, when you want to keep items. :) Thanks for participating.

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  25. My sidebars weren't too cluttered to start with, but I did make sure that my search box, RSS button, and email subscriptions buttons were near the top. I also added a social media button (Pinterest), and changed my archive on the sidebar so that it was a dropdown box instead of a list. MUCH nicer looking!

    Thanks for all of the great tips!!!

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    1. Very nice! I love your addition of a Pinterest button. I need to add one of those to my own blog.

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  26. Your post really made me think, and I ended up tossing nearly all of one of my 2 sidebars! I'm almost kind of hoping I'll be able to toss enough to get myself down to 1 by the end of Bloggiesta. Thanks so much for such an insightful post!

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    1. Great job! I took a look at your blog, and it looks like you were able to get down to one sidebar after all. Way to go! Not that two sidebars are bad, but I love that you got rid of unnecessary items and realized you didn't NEED two for your blog. It looks fantastic. :)

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  27. I've been battling with my sidebars for a while. Maybe by the end of the weekend I will have figured them out. ;) Great post.

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    1. It's definitely a tough battle. I'm rooting for ya!

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  28. I am seriously in love with you now. For the first time ever my sidebar actually makes sense to me. I love it. I did just about everything you said. I thought about what was important to me, what people were coming to my blog to see. I moved things around, got rid of a bunch of widgets and replaced some of them with new widgets that make more sense. It took a long time but it was completely worth it. Thank you!

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    1. Erika, I am so glad your sidebar is making sense to you now. It can be very confusing to know what order things should go in the sidebar. It took me ages to figure it out myself, so I'm so glad I could help! Your sidebar looks great!!

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  29. Thanks for the tips. It's refreshing to see no sidebars and you are right that I often click away from a blog I'm at because of something in the sidebar. At the same time though ads at the top go for more money. I deleted like 5 things or more from my sidebars and will worry about the rest later. I am transfering to wordpress in the next 2 weeks so I won't worry about it too much till then.

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    1. You are very right; top ad space is prime. It's hard to find a balance, but whatever works for your blog is great. Good luck with your move to Wordpress! :)

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  30. Now I can see why you are hosting- love your simple sidebar! I'm not ready to get rid of everything yet but I did clean it up a little, got rid of 4 items and got a new set of social icons.

    I love your social icons that scroll with us. I would love to read a tutorial for that!

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    1. Glad to hear that! Even a little cleanup can feel great. :)

      And I am seriously considering a tutorial for the scrolling social media buttons; I've been asked about them a lot, so I may do one soon. :)

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  31. My sidebars aren't quite perfect yet. But they are much better after having considered your hints. I think adding social icons made the biggest difference in trimming down. Thanks.

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    1. Glad my hints helped! I love your purple social media buttons. :)

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  32. Thanks for the advice! I've spent some time now working on updating my sidebar. And yes, it was tough to let things go, but you made it easier with your explanation! Now, it`s cleaner and its function is clearer to me.

    Thanks!!

    I deleted buttons and I added social media icons, plus a widget for Linky Followers, which I didn`t have before. I created titles for clarification. And I love it. It looks great! Now, onto cleaning up my pages.

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    1. Yikes! In my excitement, I forgot to leave my link. Sorry. Here it is:

      http://zaraalexis.wordpress.com/

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    2. Ooh, creating titles is a great thing to do! I should have added that to my tutorial, because it helps A LOT. :) Thanks for taking the challenge!

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  33. You know, I thought, yeah, yeah, I'm just reading your post but I don't need to change my sidebar. And then I had a look at my sidebar anyway... and yes, there was enough to clean up. Not a big clutter, just a few things that didn't need to be there. And I made a separate page for the challenge buttons.

    Thanks so much for this mini-challenge!

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    1. Fantastic! I'm glad I was able to help. Even a small cleanup can do wonders. I love your organized sidebars. :)

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  34. Just got rid of five things that were cluttering up my sidebar! Changed the order of things and I think it looks much better!
    Thank you! (:
    I also added (draft-process at the moment) some new pages! So getting two parts of my to-do list done in one! Hehe.

    Great post! :D
    Faye

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  35. *Sneaks in, takes off black sunglasses and whispers* Mission "Sidebars" completed successfully! Thank you, it was fun and made me feel better! *puts sunglasses back on and sneaks out*

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    1. Hahaha, love your comment. Fantastic before and after!

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  36. So true. I got rid of several things and changed the order up a bit. Still debating the Google Connect or Follow or whatever one wants to call it. Reader numbers are pretty small (which is cool ... I mean one can always grow!) so I never felt the need. Could see how many people have it in Google Reader (which is really how I follow all my blogs, anyway ... but that is just me and not everyone). Maybe I will rethink that. Thanks!

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    1. I'm loving your sidebar. Great job!
      About GFC: ever since Google stopped supporting it, subscribers via GFC, and those who actually ever use it have gone way down for everyone. Not that it isn't still a great tool to use, but I suggest using something like feedburner, or another follower tool (Linky Followers is a good one) to get more accurate (and lasting, since GFC isn't supported) information about your followers. You may find that you have more than you think. :)

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  37. I have really deleted a lot from my sidebar and also rearranged the ones that I have left. I think it is better. I am still debating on what to do with my challenge buttons. I do have them on my challenge page, so I probably will delete them from my main page eventually.

    I do eventually want to get the social medial buttons going better, but that will probably be another day.

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    1. Good job! Doesn't it feel great? Looking forward to seeing what happens with the challenge buttons. :)

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  38. Love this mini-challenge! I didn't have many things in my sidebar to begin with, but I went through and got rid of a couple things I didn't think I needed anymore. Thanks. :)

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    1. A little cleanup goes a long way. Thanks for participating!

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  39. Funny that people always seem to advise me to ADD more widgets! I've just taken your advice and DELETED widgets. Thank you!

    Buona fortuna!

    I'm Bloggista-ing all weekend! I love to have old and new blogging friends stop by and say hello!

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    1. Isn't that funny? There are always people saying to put this and that and even more in your sidebars. I advise against it. :D Glad I could help!

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  40. Between your challenge and the creating pages challenge I got rid of at least half the items on my sidebar and I like it sooooo much better! :)

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    1. SO glad to hear that! It's such a great feeling to have cleaner sidebars. :)

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  41. I got rid of about 12 things on my sidebar and replaced them with social media buttons, then rearranged everything so that my pages and sub button were at the top. I'll probably get rid of the label clouds at some point, too, if I can replace them with pages.

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    1. Awesome work! Thanks for taking the challenge. Your sidebar is looking goooood. :)

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  42. This is a great post!! It's so hard to be ruthless though!! But I think I know what has to go!

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    1. Thanks Melissa! It is definitely hard to be ruthless. Thanks for taking the challenge.

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  43. Fantastic post, Penelope! I hate cluttered sidebars. I feel like mine is even too cluttered, lol. But, I know it's less cluttered than most peoples. I'm trying to rethink mine and see if I want to change it. You've given me some ideas to think about! Thank you so much!

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    1. Jenni! Thanks for your comment. I see that you did end up changing your sidebar, and it looks great! So clean and nice, and still perfectly fitting for your blog. Great job!

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  44. Okay! This has been a good post for me. I decided early to work on my sidebar, which turned into an entire new blog redesign. So really, even though that isn't part of this mini challenge, it was inspired by this. I did end up removing one picture, adding social media icons, and adding a blog button with a grab code (that was made for me by a blogging friend). I feel very accomplished! It's still a little too cluttered, but I'll work on it a bit more later. I think I've started at it a bit too long right now. Thank you so much for the blog post and minichallenge!

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    1. Ooh, your new design is nice! I like the clean look to it all. You should totally feel very accomplished! :)

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  45. Thanks for this! I worked on my sidebars as part of my goals. Still not 100% sure I'm happy, but it's progress!

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  46. This is a great challenge! I too get overwhelmed by the large amount of content in sidebars. Like you I tend to move on AWAY from those blogs. But boy your step 5 was hard!!! I choose to rearrange and get ride of one thing from my sidebar.... I'm still crying over it lol. But it is good! Thank you again so much!

    Here is my mini-challenge post :) http://www.patriciasparticularity.com/2012/03/bloggiesta-mini-challenge-3.html

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    1. Yay! I just headed over there and left a comment. That book you mentioned sounds fantastic.

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  47. This is one mini-challenge that I was actually able to complete, thanks to all your How-Tos and suggestions :)
    I removed three things from my sideroll, but I'm also considering doing away with it entirely and going over to your kinda movable sidebar with the social icons. However, I'd rather have the social icons point to "Share this" kinda links.

    Moving the sideroll items to Pages was an excellent tip :)

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    1. Great job, Deepali! And since you mentioned it, there is a scrolling sidebar widget you can add that has share this icons. Try this tutorial: http://www.howbler.com/2011/06/blogger-widget-add-floating-social.html

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  48. THANK YOU! Did this.. I removed quite a few items from my sidebars.(still need to create a page or link for my blogroll), updated my social media icons and moved them to the top...
    one sidebar or two is my next challenge now...but will do it later after bloggiesta!

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad to be of help. Thanks for taking the challenge! :)

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  49. During Bloggiesta, I have noticed many blogs don't have a search bar anywhere on their blog...it was frustrating...Hopefully more people will be adding one because of your post!

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    1. That is one of the most frustrating things I find! Either that, or no links to their other social media sites. Grr. :) Hopefully more people will add them too, because they are so helpful!

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  50. I am SO happy to see that you eliminated the sidebar... I have wanted to do this for ages... seeing your blog was the push I needed.

    While watching a movie last night, I made some simple changes (I didn't have a lot there so it didn't take much). Most of my readers are not book bloggers so I didn't have a lot of what some have.

    I can't figure out how to add social icons (spent hours trying yesterday).... so I'm had to keep one text box at the top.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. This makes me so happy!! I'm glad you took the plunge. I found your blog after searching for it, and it looks awesome. You did a great job keeping the important pages at the top, and moving everything else to your footer. I may be doing a tutorial on my scrolling social media buttons in the future, so I'll be sure to let you know when that happens.

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  51. Great post! I had already planned to cull dead widgets/condense things to a page/add Pinterest, Posterous, etc. links to my sidebar for this #bloggiesta so your points helped streamline my thinking a bit :)

    I:
    1) moved my old blog award and First Look badges to a new "badges" page
    2) removed two old challenge badges that were already contained on a badges page
    3) fixed my dead Netflix widgets
    4) migrated my "ten lists" to the bottom of the page
    5) wrote a "Welcome!" widget to replace the Blogger one (co-opted by G+ and therefore no longer very helpful; Blogger-supplied one now migrated to the bottom of the page)
    6) wrote/scavenged a "Follow Me!" widget for all my social networks (FB, Goodreads, Pinterest, Posterous, Twitter) to go right under my Welcome message.

    The sidebar cleanup definitely shortened the load time for my blog! Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Yay! Shortened loading is an awesome side effect. I like your inclusion of a welcome message, too. :) Great job, and thanks for participating!

      Delete
  52. Thanks for this! Very helpful. I took out one widget and turned two others into drop down boxes. I added social media icon buttons, an email subscriber form, and a photo of myself. And, reordered everything as you suggested to make sure that what I really want to be seen is at the top.

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    1. Joy, your sidebar looks great! I really like that you added a photo of yourself; it helps people feel like they know your better and adds a nice personal touch. Your sidebar is fantastic. :)

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  53. I finished! Whew! I only got rid of three but it was hard! This challenge definitely made me think and I wish I was brave enough to do away with them all - but I'm just not! Ugh! It will be a slow process!! Thanks for hosting!

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    Replies
    1. Woohoo, that's great!! I'm glad it was able to make you think about your sidebars more, and see what you really need. :)

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  54. I didn't get everything done for Bloggiesta but I got this challenge done! Thanks for the great advice :) My sidebar still has plenty on it, but at least I've de-cluttered it a bit. It will shrink further once I get my pages sorted out. Cheers!

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    1. I'm so glad you at least got this one done! Thanks for taking the challenge!

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  55. I am on this! I have went from two sidebars to one, and that created a whole new blog layout that I was not planning...ha ha

    I like the idea of pages and my new layout allows for that in a very neat tidy manner.

    I am still working on this but want to get my finale post up as I also have to post the Monday meme tonight but plan on continuing on this throughout the evening (I will mention it in my wrap up.

    Thanks for the awesome tips!

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    Replies
    1. You're so welcome! I'm glad you like the pages idea. I think they're really useful. :)

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  56. I love ideas, particularly getting rid of three items from the sidebar and creating pages if you really need them. My writing blog isn't too bad with only one sidebar, but two of my other blogs could really use some pruning,

    Thanks for this challenge!

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    1. You're welcome! I'm glad it was helpful. :)

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  57. Even though it might not look like it, I've definitely reworked my side bar. I did have two, now I have one (well, one that splits into two and then goes back to one. And I've taken several things away. I added a linky list and put a few things in my footer. Here's what it looks like! http://dianasamazingbookadventures.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Diana, it looks great! I know this comment is extremely late, but I did go through and look at everyone's blogs when they posted these comments...I just completely forgot to come back and comment. But your blog looks awesome!

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  58. I only have 1 sidebar, and I didn't think it was too cluttered. But it could do without some of the stuff on there, so I got rid of the list of Challenges tags (I separate my tags), my Memes tags list, and my to be read list. Looking better already! I added a new item to hold social media stuff, but have yet to add any buttons to it yet. Great challenge! Thanks for the tips!

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    1. That's great! I like that you added social media stuff, as well. :)

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  59. I'm still working on my sidebars little by little, but I removed a ton and moved a few things around. I think they're doing okay now, but I want to link up a few more things at the bottom. I'd love feedback or suggestions on how to make them better (unnecessary things or reposition things)

    Thanks!
    Jessica @ The Midnight Bookworm

    ReplyDelete
  60. Thanks for this! I recently rearranged my sidebar, putting my search tool at the very top (didn't realize how important this was until this weekend!), followed by what I'm reading, then ways to follow my blog. I also have my FTC Disclaimer, my blog button, and some other things. I added my Recent Posts and Top Posts, but I'm not sure if it looks too cluttered?

    Sidebars really bother me on some blogs ... the thing that irks me is when I want to follow a blog, but all of their following options are scattered everywhere! Or there's no search function, or it's also buried. This post definitely helps sort it all out!

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  61. I had to laugh. I worked so long and hard on a new Banner, which was tricky and exhausting, and THEN I read your post. My blog was much cleaner before my banner!!! Lol.

    I do manage my sidebars regularly, but I also do keep WAY too much stuff in 'em. I removed a few things and re-arranged 'em, but I'm not done... I'm gonna knock off at least half the mess and create pages instead - great idea!! And track down a way to concise-ize my social stuff.

    I think the most helpful part of your post is sharing your opinion when you visit a blog, how it looks to you. 'Cause I'm a piler and I can hardly function without lots of stuff going on all at the same time, but I shouldn't assume everyone wants to see all my piles, too!!!

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  62. Great post, very helpful point of view! I never really thought much into this until now so now I'm inspired to repolish my sidebar too! :)

    New follower of your blog, you can check mine out if you'd like at mommyhoodmakeupandmusthaves.blogspot.com

    I'm currently making a comeback and trying to revamp my blog so posts like this are so great to find.

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