Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sidebars: A Discussion

Hello! If you're a blogger, there's a good chance you have a sidebar. If not, then you've definitely seen one. It would be weird if you hadn't.

I have seen many people talk about sidebars. About how they should be neat and uncluttered. Make the focus on your posts, not on the shiny things in the sidebar!

I've always struggled with that. Right now, I absolutely love the way my blog looks. I personally think that's it's pleasing to the eye, and easy to read. Then again, I'm not looking at it for the first time. I keep wondering if I would still like it as much if I'd come here never having seen it before. Would I still like it at all?

Sometimes I think my sidebar has too many bright colors. Sometimes I think there's too much in it. Sometimes I think it's distracting and ugly. And guess what? Sometimes I think it looks great. Or at least adequate.

Getting Rid of Shit

So, right now, I'm going to go through my sidebar with you. Glance over at it as you read this. I want you to comment exactly what you think of it. You, as a person who doesn't look at my blog as often I do, tell me what you think. I really want to try to see through fresh eyes.

The first thing people always tell you is to limit the amount of shit you have in your side bar. I like to think that there's a good reason for everything in my sidebar. But I'm going to go through all of it right now, piece by piece, and I want you to tell me whether or not my reasons are bullshit. Thanks in advance.

(By the way, I'm going to be separating these by headings in case that wasn't obvious...)

Enter Our Percy Jackson Giveaway!! (post link)

I think this gadget has merit in my sidebar. It won't be there forever, and while I don't think it's necessarily eye-pleasing, it's not awful. Plus, I like to think people want to know about my giveaway, and I'd like people to enter it! That's a pretty good reason to have it in there. Especially because it's not permanent. (Note to reader: don't forget to go enter my giveaway after you read this!)

Half-Blood Readalong (Goodreads group link)

I like to have this here too. It's an easy way to promote the readalong, whereas the giveaway link just promotes the giveaway specifically. I want people to join the readalong too dammit!

Followers (I should probably change this heading honestly) (Google Friend Connect)

It's pretty clear why this is here. While many people have told me to get Bloglovin or follow by email or whatever, I haven't out of....laziness. (What a good reason!) As of right now, this works for me. And I don't think I have to explain why it's here.

Search This Blog

I don't really know what other people think of this feature. I find it really useful on other blogs when I want to look for a specific post I remember, but I don't want to go through the archive. Maybe people don't actually use this, I don't know.

And no, I don't have a good reason for why it's randomly in the middle of all the other ones. That was most likely a mistake. 

I'm participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year! (picture link)

I'm sure I don't have a good reason for this... But I want people to know I'm participating! I really do. Plus, that post has information about my book in it, and I want to know what people think of my ideas for it. Granted, I should probably make that clear in gadget, but I didn't. and I don't know what to say to do that. Also, does anyone this that click to learn more caption is important? I wanted people to know it was a link! Does that make it clear or more confusing??

Pronouns: they/them

Some people may think that this isn't important, but, honestly, if I don't put it there, people are going to screw up my pronouns even more than they already do. Well, okay, I don't know if that's actually making a difference or not, but I can dream.

Reading Challenge

Um. Yeah. I don't know why I have this. But I don't want to get rid of it now before I publish this because I want to be honest about my cluttered sidebar. I assume that this gadget is useless, and I assume that none of you have any use for it whatsoever. If you tell me that you actually think that this is useful information, you're either lying or stupid.

Currently Reading

OKAY OKAY MAYBE THIS DOESN'T HAVE A VERY GOOD PURPOSE EITHER. But I really like this on other blogs. I like knowing exactly what a blogger is reading without having to go to Goodreads. Honestly, I don't think I like this very much in list form, but it's not distracting so ha.

Blog Archive

Yes, I really do think this is vital to a blog. Sometimes, I want to know what a bloggers first post was without having to go through every other post they've ever written. I use it really often on other blogs, actually. Maybe I'm alone there I don't know.


I don't think I've ever seen a sidebar on a blog that was really that bad. I find them nice and useful. I'm sure there's probably a sidebar out there that's randomly neon orange and clashes with the rest of the blog, but I haven't seen one. 

Though, I don't think I've ever seen a sidebar I really liked either. I don't go to a blog and think oh that's a nice sidebar. I don't think that! Ever! Sidebars are an afterthought. Well, at least they should be. I think I'm doing that pretty well. I mean, I can read my posts easily. I think it's fine. I think of got all of the really important things anyone could want, even if they aren't always in a good order (silly search gadget).

I think people make too big of a deal out of sidebars. You don't have to make them a work of art. Make them match your design, make them aesthetically pleasing, make them useful. Have gadget headings and have shit easy to find! I really think people stress over them way too much.

Do you have a sidebar? Do you like sidebars? Do you think bloggers should make them as simple and functional as possible? What gadgets do you think have to be in a sidebar? Which things need to be removed? Do you like my sidebar? How do you think bloggers could change their sidebars to make them better?

and last but not least:
Do you go to a blog and think oh that's a nice sidebar?


  1. Your sidebar is completely fine the way it is, so don't worry. I get you when you explained each element in it and why it was there! I don't really pay close attention to sidebars because I'm always looking at pretty blog designs, gawking at them and stuff. Haha. But I've seen cluttered sidebars before (when I say cluttered, I mean sidebars with useless stuff like random fish things swimming on them, and online ads that aren't supposed to be there, but manage to be there anyway). This is a great post! :)

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

    1. I don't think my sidebar is the WORST. As you said, anything covered in random fish and ads seems pretty cluttered. It's hard to take seriously. It's possible I'm over-analyzing the colors in my sidebar versus the overall design... I keep wondering whether or not that hot, bright orange completely ruins the cold, pleasant look I'm going for. Most people aren't as picky as me, I guess. Thanks for your input! :)