It’s completely insane what people put in their blog sidebar. Because I was trying to rack up a few Entrecard credits in the last several days and have started the massive advertising campaign, I’ve run across several blogs lately that are rather trashy looking. I’m sorry, I can only handle so many visual prompts on a web site or blog before I just click the little x in the top right corner and move on.
The trend is moving to less cluttered blogs, sidebars and somewhat less advertising as a whole and while there are exceptions, I’m seeing many less experienced affiliate marketers and bloggers stuffing their sidebar with every widget they can find. Not only does this irritate many readers because of the complete over stimulation and difficulty in finding links to recent articles (yes, real content), it also slows your blog down to a crawl. When readers have to wait 15 seconds for your scrollbars to become operational because all the frickin’ widgets have to load, they might be just like me and decide not to stick around.
How much information can any one human being absorb? Let’s take a look at one blog sidebar for an example. Now, I’m not going to name names here, but you might be able to figure it out if you are an Entrecard user and run across this one.
Starting with the right side bar moving down we have Translate This Page, Google Search, Spott Link Exchange, Entrecard widget, 12 blog directory badges, Blogroll Me, CBox widget, Blog Catalog widget, MyBlogLog widget and then as we cross over to the left side we move across Bidvertiser ads and come to a Technorati blog worth widget, a 160 x 600 Adsense tower, 2 RSS feed bookmarking widgets and finally 2 places to actually sign up for this blogs RSS feed.
That’s just too much stimulation and too many choices and it will have exactly the opposite effect the blog author is trying to create. But this is not one of the worst ones I have come across, there are many more with nearly twice as many widgets that can take up to 20 to 30 seconds to fully load on a good day. Others will add some sort of weather widget, ip address widget, current time widget (What is that one for? I have a watch, thanks), an Alexa widget, Yahoo Search Links widget, are you getting the picture, it just goes on and on.
Your sidebar is not a trash dump and I honestly don’t care who’s reading your blog or that Technorati says it is worth $50,000 which is a big fat lie, I want to see if you have some content worth reading, have a traffic generating trick I don’t know about or have a twist on some human interest story no one else has though of.
Please, take the vacuum cleaner to your sidebar, throw up 6 or so 125 x 125 ads that may interest me and let your content speak for itself. I just might be your second rss subscriber.
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