Do We Really Need Sidebars?

Almost every blog out there has a sidebar of some sort. Most of the time it’s not really useful, and only distracts from the content. After all, aren’t blogs written to be read? After the jump I’ll explain why I believe sidebars are not needed in most cases.

h4. They Distract From Content

Most bloggers these days use sidebars for advertisements, related posts, recent comments, popular posts, archives, etc. With all of the aforementioned squeezed into a sidebar, the sidebar can become longer than the content itself. This problem is exacerbated by blinking or moving ads in the sidebar. Do we really need the reader to see the recent comments or archives _while_ reading the content?

h4. Alternatives

Instead of cramming everything into a sidebar, try making a bigger footer with all the things you’d put in a sidebar. Not only does this keep the reader focused on the content, it also ensures that they stick around. Normally a footer just means “the end,” but if you put related posts, popular posts, recent comments, archives, etc. into the footer, it will encourage the reader to stay a bit longer.

What do you guys think of this? Do you think that sidebars should stay, or should they be relegated into the footer.

Posted in General, Rant, Technology, Web
  • Alec

    I have never thought about it, but now every website I look at, I’m slightly repulsed. It’s so true. Most have advertisement, the search bar, RSS, Twitter, archives, top/recent this or that, then a tiny footer with under 10 words in it. The only reason sidebars are really needed is if your going to put your buttons on it and ‘maybe’ networking sites.

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  • Benje

    I agree with you.
    I almost don’t even see the point of the Most Commented Post, and the Most Viewed Post.

    In the end it doesn’t really even matter.

  • Kris

    I see your point, Dan. But in some cases, I don’t find the sidebars to be distracting, in fact, I use it almost every day on my blog to find out what the date is, lol. Bur I like the idea of just having it in the footer.