Keeping your readers attention and keeping your visitors on your website should be one of your primary goals. While your main focus should be on creating awesome compelling content in your blog posts, you can also use sidebar widgets to entertain and inform your audience. Here are 10 Best Sidebar Widgets for your blog you should consider implementing.
Polls and Surveys
Polls and surveys are a great way to get your readers engaged and interested in your website. They can also help you gain insight into what your audience is interested in and really cares about—which you can then use in your writing. WordPress bloggers can use the Responsive Poll plugin by TotalSoft to add polls to your sidebar.
Having videos on your blog is one of the best ways of keeping your visitors on your website for an extended period. It’s often nice to have a welcome or introductory video available on your sidebar to let your visitors know what your blog is all about. And best of all, with the latest versions of WordPress they now include a Video widget. Just go to the Widget section of your WordPress dashboard and scroll down until you see the Video widget. You can display videos from YouTube, Vimeo, and your media library.
This should be one of the first (if not The first) sidebar widgets you add to your blog. Collecting email addresses from your readers will allow you to better connect with them, and more importantly, allow you to monetize your blog by promoting products and services via an email newsletter. There are a lot of email list collection and autoresponder services available. Personally, I use AWeber which lets you create an email capture page that you can place in a sidebar widget.
While you should never overdo advertisements on your blog, it’s certainly okay to have a few ads or a block of small ads on your sidebar to generate some extra revenue. This is another area where there are a ton of WordPress plugins you can use. One of the most popular is Advanced Ads by Thomas Maier. With Advanced Ads, you can include any types of ads including Adsense and Amazon.
While there are many types of photo galleries you can include in your blog, if you’re an Instagram user, you can easily add your feed to the sidebar of your website. There are quite a few Instagram plugins for WordPress, but one of the most popular is Instagram Feed by Smash Balloon. It’s very easy to set up your feed which is responsive and mobile ready.
With Facebook’s continued popularity, it’s a good idea to have a Facebook page for your website, or you might want to post on your personal page. Either way, you can easily display your Facebook feed in a sidebar widget. Custom Facebook Feed is another great WordPress plugin from Smash Balloon. You can really customize the look of your Facebook feed and you can include feeds from multiple Facebook pages or groups.
If Twitter is your preferred social media vehicle, you can easily add your feed to the sidebar of your blog—just as you can with Facebook. Custom Twitter Feeds by Smash Balloon is yet another of their great WordPress plugins. You can completely customize the look and combine multiple Twitter feeds if you wish.
If you’re providing a lot of help to your readers, why not ask for a kind gesture of thanks. With a PayPal donation widget, your visitors can easily show their appreciation by providing a token of their thanks. PayPal Donation by Scott Paterson is a WordPress plugin that easily adds a donation button to your website so you can start collecting.
Everybody likes to win free stuff. And one of the best ways to generate traffic to your blog is to run contests and giveaways! The Simple Giveaways plugin by Igor Benic lets you add giveaway contests to your WordPress sidebar. It’s a great way to have others promote your blog on social media and also allows you to grow your email list.
Most Popular Posts
Having your most popular blog posts available from your sidebar is another good idea to keep your visitors more engaged. Since you know these particular blog posts are already popular, there’s a good chance that other visitors will also appreciate reading them. And, having these popular posts internally linked to the rest of your site via the sidebar can also help with your search engine rankings. While you could manually post links in your sidebar, why not make things easier? With the Top 10 Popular Posts plugin for WordPress by Ajay D’Souza, your blog posts with the most page views are automatically calculated and displayed in your sidebar along with the page view counts.
What are some of your favorite sidebar widgets?