TBP 016: The Blog Sidebar Is Dead

David recently re-designed the Blog Marketing Academy site – and in the process got rid of the traditional sidebar. Why? In this episode, David talks about the blog sidebar and whether it is – or SHOULD be – dead. Is it time to re-evaluate whether we have a sidebar on our blog? Are we simply doing it because we’re following the crowd?

TBP 016: The Blog Sidebar Is Dead

Much of what bloggers do these days they do because they see everybody else doing it. It is a big game of “follow the leader”… or in this case, “follow the guru”.

But, sometimes when everybody else is zigging, it is a good time to zag. And in this episode of The Blog Program, I ask the question…

Is the blog sidebar dead?

My readers have probably noticed that in the last few months, I have gone to a no-sidebar layout here on BMA. It started out with just my feature posts – all of which were published in full width. Then, toward the end of 2013, I went ahead and flipped the switch to ditch the sidebar throughout the entire site. I did bring back a mini floating sidebar just to make a few shortcut links more easily accessible, but the traditional sidebar definitely doesn’t exist here at the Academy.

In episode 16, I talk about why exactly I made this switch. I talk about:

  • What people usually put into the blog sidebar… and could it go anywhere else?
  • Why I believe the sidebar might actually get in the way of your content marketing.
  • Which elements of the traditional sidebar are worth keeping, and which are a waste of space.
  • Why banner ads in your sidebar is practically a waste of time
  • How removing the sidebar could change the way your audience views your landing pages.

How To Get Rid Of Your Sidebar

If you decide to get rid of your blog sidebar – and that is a decision that you have to make for yourself – then the next question is… HOW?

The absolute easiest way is to use StudioPress, based on the Genesis Framework. The Academy is based on Genesis and it makes swapping between layouts as easy as a click of the button. Literally.

If you’re not using a framework, then you’ll need to do it manually. Check out How To Use A Custom Page Template in WordPress. I did it this way for years… but trust me, once I switched to StudioPress, I would never look back to the manual way of doing it.



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About David Risley
David Risley is the founder of the Blog Marketing Academy, a 20-year veteran blogger and online entrepreneur. His focus? Building a reliable, recurring business around his "lifestyle" and the lives of his students. He has this weird obsession with traveling in his motorhome around the country with his wife and 2 kids. David also likes to talk about himself in the third person. In bios like this one. Read his full story.
  • Frank Daley says:

    Reading this in prep for today. What about putting your own products and services as individually defined on the sidebar: a book , a consulting service, along with the brief About that links to the longer one?etc? And is it a good idea to have an archive access, something like most popular posts?

    • David Risley says:

      Good to see you on the call today. 🙂

  • Eric says:

    Interesting topic, Dave!

    I think getting rid of your sidebar is definitely something to look into, depending, as you said, what your main goal for your site is.

    I’m not there myself but time may tell different. I do think it’s pretty nice-looking the way you have things setup here at The Academy.

    What plugin do you use for your small sidebar that you have now?

    • David Risley says:

      That’s custom coded. A little CSS and Jquery makes it float like that.

  • JR Griggs says:

    I was just telling someone a day or two ago that the sidebar really needs to go away, for the best responsive designs. Because one of the clunky parts of a responsive design, is that the sidebar gets shoved down to the bottom.

    It would seem that no sidebar limits you but we are seeing more possibilities with out it. And each page can be way more custom.

    Not to mention, it really just distracts from the content as you mentioned.

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