Sidebar Clutter

You've spiffied up your blog and now have all kinds of helpful and attractive gadgets in your sidebar. This is a good thing. Unless your sidebars are now so cluttered that your readerss can't find what they're looking for.

Visual clutter quickly happens, especially as your blog hosts add all kinds of fancy new gadgets for you to try. It doesn't mean you have to use them all, or that they are even good for you blog. For example, preview posts from other blogs sometimes simply don't support your mission. Think about whether you really need that information to make your blog better.

What about your label list? Do you have a nice, concise group of categories you shovel each post into, or is your list a mile long with one post in each unique category? Get rid of it, if so. Those post labels mean nothing to your or your readers.

Also look at your archive gadget. Is it showing daily post titles for the current month? Collapse it, so that only the months are listed. Much neater and will free up column room for a more important addition.

In Blogger, you will make these changes in the Layout section. Go now and tweak a bit, so that your blog is more attractive and easier to maneuver.


BillieJohn said...

Great advice, as usual from you, Dani!


L.J. Sellers said...

What do think about blog posts that add huge somewhat unrelated photos/images every other paragraph? I find them distracting, but a lot bloggers do it.

Katie Hines said...

What's a label list, and why do I need it?

Dani said...

Katie, visit some blogs and look for a list that says Labels. You can figure it out, I'm sure. ;)

L.J. the photos can definitely be overdone. They must relate to the blog post, and even so, they should support the writing unless the blog is a photo journal. Keep in mind that too many large photos will make the blog load slowing, Yes, it's true, not everyone has super-duper highspeed internet connection!


The Texas Woman said...

Thank you for the suggestion to unclutter our blogs. Your post made me take a fresh look at my site. I eliminated some things, reworded other things.

I don’t agree with you about archives and labels, though. Several of my readers have used labels to search out back posts, so I left mine intact. It’s lengthy but alphabetical so readers can find things quickly. I wish there was a way to collapse it until the reader needed it, though.

The archives, I decided, is useless to my readers, so I did away with it. They can easily find past posts through labels, but not so easily through archives. Using both seemed redundant to me.

One thing I wish more blogs owners would incorporate into their sidebars is a one-click method to go to their front page without limiting the blog to the current post. Mine says:

(title) Talkin' today! (body) Did you come to this blog through a back post? If so, click here to see what I'm talking about today.

Just one of those helpful gadgets you’re talking about.

The Texas Woman

Beth Groundwater said...

From my previous life as a software engineer who designed user interfaces, I've always been a fan of the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle in designing user interfaces. I like mine clear and clean with only a few choices on each page, as you'll see at my author website ( http://bethgroundwater.com/ ). Thanks for the de-clutter reminder about blog pages, too. I'm off to collapse my archive listing now...