Sidebars are an important aspect of a website that can often be overlooked or not utilized effectively. When designed correctly, sidebars can help improve user experience, promote your business, generate leads, and increase revenue. However, there is no one set rule as to what widgets should be displayed in your sidebars. Instead, the content should be driven by your site goals. In this article, we will explore how to choose the right widgets for your site goals to optimize your sidebars. We will also discuss a selection of the most important widgets, including displaying opt-in forms, social media links, and popular posts, among others.
Establish Your Site Goals
It is crucial to use every space of your sidebars to help your site convert against its goals. Therefore, the widgets you use in your sidebars should be directly related to the aims of your site. It may be that you are trying to grow your email list or social media following. You might be looking to keep your audience on your site for longer, encourage them to read more of your blog, or become regular returning visitors. Or you may be wanting to sell products, services, or an online course or membership. Whatever the goals, your widgets should reflect them.
The order of your widgets is also important. The widgets linked to your most important goals should be given prominent positions at the top of a sidebar. Lower ranking goal-focused widgets should be pushed further down the page. Make sure you don’t overload or clutter your sidebars. Think carefully about what you will add to your sidebar. Always make sure there is a reason behind each widget you’ve chosen.
Display an About Me Widget
An About Me widget is essential for any type of website. It helps visitors relate to your site and understand what you are trying to achieve with your business. If your theme doesn’t have a specific ‘About Me’ widget, a simple text widget will suffice. If you would like to display your gravatar, Jetpack provides a module called Extra Sidebar Widgets. One of these is the Gravatar Profile Widget. This widget enables you to add your gravatar to sidebars, as well as some of your gravatar profile data.
Add an Opt-in Form
Collecting email addresses should be a goal for all sites, whatever your business. Being able to contact your audience after they have left your site is crucial. Obtaining visitor emails means you can continue to market your business to them, send newsletters, promote articles, products and services, and encourage them back to your site. Adding an opt-in form to your sidebars is a great way to get your visitors to sign up to a monthly newsletter or general correspondence.
Promote Social Media
Social media is another key area that businesses should always be promoting. Sidebars are a good place to display follow buttons to help gain followers. You can also show a social media feed, or two, to show off what is going on on your social media channels.
Use a Popular or Related Posts Plugin
If you are looking to keep your visitors on your site for longer and explore your content then it is important to display a widget to help with that. Using a related posts or popular posts widget is a great way to give visitors a snapshot of what else is available on your site. Equally, if you have specific content that you are wanting to promote, then you can display that instead.
Display a Google Map
If your business is a brick and mortar shop, restaurant, spa, or something else, then you need to tell your online audience where you are located. Make this easy for them by adding a map into your sidebars.
Increase Your Sales
If you are looking to increase sales then use your sidebars to help you achieve this. Whether you are selling course membership, products on your site, or affiliate products, use your sidebars to encourage your audience to make a purchase.
Final Thoughts on Which WordPress Widgets to Use
As you can see, there are numerous widgets that you can add to your sidebars. Choose the ones specifically relevant to your site goals. Every widget displayed should be helping your site deliver the results you need.