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7 Must Have Sidebar Widgets On Your Blog

by Sahil Umatia

Almost every blog or website you visit, you can see a sidebar section on the left or right or on both sides of the blog. Sidebar is an important section on any blog or website, so users can have a quick access to blog articles or contents. Its important that you should equally focus on your sidebar contents with your blog contents.
The sidebar gives you a huge opportunity to engage you readers with your blog or website. Your main aim is to keep your visitors digging more on your blog as long as possible. You might be using lots of widget on your blog sidebar, but this would just clutter your sidebar increasing your blog loading time. In this article I will discuss about the 7 essentials and some more optional widgets that you can add on your blog.

The 7 Essentials
1. Search Box- This is the most important widget as it helps users to find articles on your  blog simply by entering a keyword. The search box should be placed where it’s easily viewable to the user. The search box can be placed at the top navbar or in the header or in the sidebar just like this blog. This will help the user to get more engaged with your blog.
2. Subscription Widget- This is another must have widget for any blog or any website. The subscription widget will help your readers to get blog updates directly to their inbox. Also do add a RSS feed link where readers can subscribe directly in a feed reader. You can also add your twitter, facebook, or any other SN profile links with the subscribe widget.
3. Recent Post- Some users are a bit lazy to scroll down to find other articles on the blog if the blog is displaying more than 10 articles on the homepage. This widget comes handy on the sidebar displaying the most recent updates on the blog. Also the widget should be placed just after the subscription widget. This is another great idea to keep your readers engaged and get more page views.
4. Popular Post- Display your most viewed or most commented articles on your sidebar. So not just your regular readers but also your new readers get involved with these articles. This will increase your page views but will also help you to get these articles more popular on the web.
5. Recent Comments- This widget will display the most recent comments, on a article by the readers. This will help you to encourage your other readers to engage in conversation with a particular article.
6. Categories/Archive- The category and archive widgets both are different. You can display the category widget if your blog has multiple niches or you can display the archive widget if you blog on a particular niche. The archive widget displays the monthly archives. This is another great way for your readers to dig into old articles.
7. Blog Stats- This is a third party widget which can be installed by adding a code or script to the blog. Popular stats widgets are alexa and sitemeter. If you are a blogger user you can directly add the official stats widget from the page element.
Optional Widgets
Top Commentators- This will show the the top commentators which commented on your blog with highest number of comments. This is a great way to encourage your readers to come back and comment on your blog.
Cloud Tags- This will show your blog categories or tags in cloud format. See in this blog sidebar.
Advertisements- You can display adsense, BSA, or any other or your own ad slot for sale on your own blog. But make sure that you don’t irritate your readers by displaying too many ads.
Facebook Like Box- If your blog or website has a Facebook Fan page, then you can add a Facebook like box to your sidebar, so your readers can quickly like your facebook fan page.
Twitter conversation box- You can add a twitter conversation box to your sidebar, which displays your tweets, retweets and replies.
Youtube Subscriptions- You can also add a youtube subscribe box if you handle video blog or any other blog.
Blogroll- Blogroll is nothing but a list of 3 or 4 of your favorite websites related to your niche.
Community Badges- These are nothing but badges of community like blog engage, or blog interact or toplist where you submit your article or RSS feeds.
There are many other optional widgets that you can add to your blog like the “about me” snippet or your weekly or monthly popular articles and many others.
NOTE: Its not necessary that you should add all the widgets listed above.
As I said previously too many widgets can clutter your sidebar to load. It depends on your choice which one you want to add, but make sure that you have those 7 essentials widgets on your sidebar.
What widget do you use on your blog or website to engage your visitors??? Do share your views!!!

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Sahil is the Editor of iBlognet. He is a freelance writer on topics related to Website Optimization (SEO), Blogging, and Tech. He also specializes in SEO, HTML, CSS and Photoshop. Sahil has written 293 fantastic article(s) on iBlognet.


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1 Evan

Hi, thanks! I was thinking recently should I add Popular Post to my blog. I want treaders to see all my posts and not only popular one. Does it make sense?

2 marquita herald

Outside of the subscription widget I don’t have a single one of your “must haves” on my blog and yet my site ranks at 50,000 / US with Alexa – pretty good – and my subscriber list has quadrupled since this time last year. It’s not that I necessarily disagree with your recommendations – but I do take issue with the “must have” approach because I think one of the problems new bloggers face is the proliferation of posts that tell them what they “must do” versus making recommendations that provide solid features/benefits back-up for why the advice make sense.

3 Nishadha

I think an about me section should be there in the side bar. If someone comes across a referral source or a search engine and likes what you have written then they might be interested to find out more about you. Also an about me section add some credibility to your website.

4 John Mak

Hello Sahil, nice post and nice website overall! These widgets are a must for a top blog website. Another great widget could be “Top Services” if you have a particular skill to offer such as writing skills or tech skills – Wordpress knowledge. Also, be careful with social media plugins, they can reduce the site’s loading time. Thanks for sharing,

John

5 Pam

great tips! thanks I need to add a couple.

6 Zion

I personally think that site stats would be a bad idea to add as a widget to your blog. I prefer that I only see it. Site stats could turn off your readers, especially if you don’t have enough traffic and think that your articles are not worth their read.

7 Koundeenya

Hey Sahil!
All of them are really must, for a WP blog. I only miss the stats one and recent comments on my blog. Instead of them, I use ads and affiliate banners to make some money.

Thank you

8 Enstine Muki

Hi Sahil,
Nice blog you have here!
I have a couple of these sidebars widget but I’m thinking of dropping some of them to make my blog even more airy.

I have one widget that shows 3 components in tabs. This makes more space available

Hope you are having a nice weekend

9 Charles Zollner

This is very helpful. I use wordpress for my blog so I always assumed that I could not get sidebars to do what you describe above. Now I can incorporate all these attributes.

10 Madras Geek

Great post! This really helps others.

Recent comments is actually not so important IMO.

11 Narender Chopra

No doubt that all listed widgets are must have but as you said in last that all these are necessary. Using to much widgets may slow down your website page load time. So one should use the widgets which are the most important one.

12 James

Sahil, I presently only use two of the suggestions in your list. Recent post and search box. However, all your suggestions mentioned have been tried one time or the other on my blog. This is a good list.

13 Pawan

Adding a cloud tag increase the no of keywords that is not good as per SEO but other things you mentioned are really important. Thanks for the information. :)

14 Lei Broch

Search Box because no matter how perfect you have designed your blog, there will always be visitors who will not understand the whole navigation system of your blog. Including a search box is very important to make it easier for your users or visitors find the information they are looking for.

15 Gautham Nekkanti

Subscription box is must if you wish to get returning users

16 Colin

These are definitely the essentials. I like all of your suggestions but I will say I’m not a huge fan of a lot of the default widgets. I know they’re not meant to be anything special but it’s nice to have thumbnails of your featured images in a post list and stuff like that.
Thanks and cheers for the good suggestions!

17 Tony Nguyen

Thanks for the share mate. All your listed widgets are must have. I also have a couple of these sidebar widgets on my blog.

18 Atif Imran

Hi Sahil Umatia
Brilliant tips . Recent Post , Popular Post and Categories/Archive , these three widgets helps you to improve bounce rate . Yes , you are right , too many ads , readers hates this approach .

19 myles

a very cool list here. Also having popular posts and top commentators can be of great utility. Nice post.

20 Gajendran Megajolla

Thanks for sharing such a great information, this post helps me to gain knowledge about something new.

21 Debashisa Jena

Jetpack By Wordpress.com also offers some cools widgets and a huge range of social media sharing buttons.

22 himanshu

Widgets make your blog look cool and attractive having nice widgets means more audience.

23 Rudd

Great list of plugin.
Sidebar will be a great place to make visitor stays longer on your website. I believe less is more. Don’t put too much widget on it, it will affect your loading speed.
Agreed on no 1 to 6 on the list of essential plugins. No 7 would just be an optional, at least for me.

24 himanshu

I missed only the youtube subscripton widget will surely work on this soon. Thanks dude for great post.

25 Janmejai

I always try to avoid additional unnecessary widgets but i have almost all the widgets mentioned in the list except the recent comments.

26 chamal

These seven widgets are useful. But should we add site stats widget on our blogs ? Because some visitors might be not coming to site after seeing the amount of traffic.

27 Akshay

Hello sir,
I missed only the youtube subscripton widget will surely work on this soon. Thanks dude for great post.
You may add one more option of trending post.

28 Suresh Khanal

Rather than generalizing the required widgets, I believe it depends on what a blog focuses. In my case because I intend to monetize my blog efficiently, I’ve placed an Ad widget, Affiliate widget, Giveaway Widgets in addition to subscription and social widgets.

Similarly, if you look at Ryan’s blog you’ll see his internet lifestyle images, widgets that promotes his cash-gifting programs and so on.

However, your list of widgets are really suitable widgets for most of the blogs.

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