BC (before computer) sidebars were used in magazine articles to add extra bits of information that didn’t ‘make’ the main article, but were relevant enough to be included on the side of the article. They’re still used this way in publications, but in a website, sidebars do that, and a lot more.
What works well in a sidebar
- Links to your social media pages
- A short bio with your Gravatar and link to your About page
- Web buttons to your products or services landing page
- Product images with links to buy
- Advertisements / Affiliate links
- Your latest posts or
- A list of your most popular blog posts
- Links of interest to you (and your visitors)
- Your recommended tools
- Recommended resources
- A mini image gallery
- Search area
- Your latest tweets
On a mobile device your sidebar items will appear immediately after your Web Content, and display in order of appearance — top to bottom.
Your sidebar can get quite long, so if your web content is short, and you’re concerned how your website will look on a desktop, opt for fewer items.
If you use a plugin like Genesis Simple Sidebars you can display a variety of different sidebar items on each page, making each page truly unique.
The footer is a bit different
Like the header, your website footer will stay the same on every page. Most footers contain 3 columns, but you can add multiple items to each column if you wish.
A footer is not a dumping ground — it’s your final opportunity to engage with your visitors.
Your footer can contain all of the same items list above in your sidebar, plus things like:
- A final call to action
- List of your favorite vendors
- Your contact info
Viewed on mobile device, your footer will be the last items your visitor sees, so finish strong.