What Every Sidebar Should/Shouldn’t Have

I have a confession: I’m kind of a superficial person. Meaning that I let the design of a blog decide my overall opinions on it, before I actually sit down and look through the blogger’s content to see what they may be interested in. Which is totally horrible, I realize, but I can’t help it. I cringe inwardly whenever I see a badly designed blog — especially those with cluttered sidebars and topbars and freaking widgets everywhere.

That’s why I have decided to give you some tips on what your sidebar should/shouldn’t have. I don’t claim to be an expert at blog designing (I mean, just look at this current blog right here), but here are just some ways on how you can keep your sidebar neat and tidy, and also avoid slowing down readers’ browsers.

SHOULD

Here is just a list of some blog sidebar essentials — in my opinion!

1. Ways to follow
This is number one because it is INCREDIBLY important. It’s more important than an “About Me” section in your sidebar, and definitely a hell lot more important than that “Book Carousel” widget you wanted to add in. This is what lets interested readers follow your blog more closely, instead of having to open its page every single time they want to see if you’ve updated.

Essential following methods are: Bloglovin’, Feedly, RSS, and email (I would include GFC, but Google has terminated that)

2. Social media icons
This is a lot like #1, only these icons provide a wider range of options, if people want to take an extra mile and get to know you better. It’s also a lot more convenient for people who want to check you up on Twitter on Goodreads — without a link to your social media platforms, it’s close to impossible to find you on there.

Essential social media platforms are: Twitter, Goodreads, and Tumblr (others also include Facebook, Google+, DeviantART, Pinterest, Instagram)

3. A short introductory message
I don’t know, I always feel more at ease when I see a short message in your sidebar saying “hi, welcome to my blog,” or something like that. It kind of lets me know that my visit is appreciated, and it sometimes also prompts me to check out your “About Me” page just to find out more about you! Yes, I’m a stalker like that.

4. Search bar
Please tell me how else you expect people to find what they’re looking for on your blog, if it doesn’t have a search bar.

5. Blog button
It may not seem necessary, and maybe it isn’t, but if people want to link up to your blog using buttons, then this would make it a lot more easier for them to do so. (Trust me, I’ve come across this problem too many times. It’s also why I decided not to use buttons in my blogroll.) Plus, it also reinforces your blog design and image — and sometimes makes you look more professional. 😉

6. Lists of current giveaways
This is a great way to advertise your blog without shame: list down your current giveaways. Make sure you put it somewhere where it’s easily seen, like the top of your sidebar, so that you drive more traffic and more followers to your blog! This list works. A lot.

OKAY

These are things that are not necessary, but can still be added into your sidebar without cluttering things up too much.

1. Currently reading
I’m the kind of person who loves seeing what people are currently reading, and more than once I’ve wanted to add in a comment to ask how the person’s finding the book so far. Only… I keep forgetting when I get to the end of my comment. But what I’m trying to say is that Currently Reading widgets are a great way to spark off short discussions!

2. Book quotes widget
This is another thing I love seeing on blogs! I just find it really elegant to see quotes being displayed.

3. Twitter timeline
I’m actually not quite sure how effective displaying your Twitter timeline is, because it doesn’t have much of an effect on me. Like, it doesn’t make me want to follow you more, or tweet you. At most, it makes me want to check out your Twitter account and flip through your pictures. I have a thing for bookish pictures. And if you do have a timeline widget, please make sure it doesn’t display more tweets than it should, and isn’t too wide — these will only serve to mess up your sidebar, and possibly slow down the browser speed.

4. Blogroll
Blogrolls are really effective for me, because I find new blogs through them, and I also keep track of the blogs I want to actively follow. Yep, I don’t use a reader. I use blogrolls. Weird, right?

SHOULDN’T

Okay, I apologize if I get a bit ranty here. I’ve seen too many blogs that have cluttered-up sidebars with absolutely useless stuff, and not only does it ruin your layout — it also slows down the browser speed. Meaning that it takes a MUCH longer time to load your blog than it usually would. This is a major setback, because if readers are impatient (like me), then they may just close the window altogether, and poof. There went a potential commenter. The average time it takes for a blog to load on browsers is around 3 — 4 seconds. Anything longer than that is counted as slow.

1. Book cover montages
No — just no. I know it’s nice to show off what books you’ve read, or what books you’ll be reading, and using GR’s widget menu, it’s fairly easy to create on. But GR also automatically crops off the sides of covers in order for the montage to be square and even-sized — which makes the entire thing look ugly. It also really makes your sidebar look messy, and there’s no point in them.

2. Photo slideshows
If you want to display pictures of your books or of your cats, then please, please please use the Instagram widget. Having a Photobucket slideshow is another thing that slows down browser speed significantly, and let me be frank: their slideshow widget is hideous. The Instagram one is minimalistic and fits in more with a lot of designs. Plus, it’s small and doesn’t take up much space.

3. Badges & banners
Look, I know it can be very nice to show off badges of blog awards or tags or whatever, or if a social media site comes with its own banner you can attach to your blog, but in all honesty, the abundance and diversity of the badges will uglify your blog, for sure. Variety is good, but not too much, and these badges and banners most likely come in very different sizes, so it makes things a lot messier. If you want to show off the blog awards you received, then do so on your “About Me” page.

This section excludes event banners. These are completely fine; just don’t forget to take them down once the event’s over!

3. YouTube widgets
I’ve come across this only once, and this widget is not much better than that Photobucket slideshow widget. It’s ugly and doesn’t fit in with the theme. Besides, unless you’re a regular vlogger, I don’t see the point in advertising book haul videos when people can see them on your blog itself.

4. Advertisements
This is just a personal preference, but I really dislike blogs with advertisements all over the place — especially those BlogAds ones, where the ads come in different sizes. The OCD person in me JUST CAN’T TAKE IT. It’s completely fine if you want to use your blog to generate some money — I’m all for that! — but do it in a way that will compliment your design, please. A good example of good advertising is Alice Marvels. The site’s design is clean and neat, and the advertisement looks right at home.

5. Anything cluttery, really
I find that blogs with TWO sidebars — one on each side — are the messiest kind of blogs. I don’t have a problem with that if it’s done in a neat way, but just think: do you really need all these widgets? Go through your sidebar and think of the ones you think are absolutely essential to your blog. Keep those. Go through it again and pick out the ones that aren’t necessary at all, and the ones that contribute to the messiness of your blog. Remove those. 

*Please note that this list is based around book blogs only.

Over to you!

Phew! Sorry for the long post. I hope you stuck through it, though I wouldn’t blame you if you did. But what about you? What are some ways us bloggers can make our sidebars clean and uncluttery? What are some sidebar essentials? Sidebar don’ts? Feel free to share below!

This post is linked up on Let’s Discuss, hosted by Oh, Chrys! and The Fiction Conniption

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47 thoughts on “What Every Sidebar Should/Shouldn’t Have

  1. I totally agree with your whole list! Feeling kind of proud of myself because I have the first couple of things except a blogroll because well, that’s what my feedly is for (I made a whole post on Feedly, you should seriously get it, so much easier than looking at blogrolls!) I totally agree with you on the two sidebars thing. I know it looks more productive but it seriously kills the professionalism/prettiness of the blog (those two words should not be in the same sentence, I know) Awesome post! 🙂

    • Haha, you go, Shelly! Don’t get me wrong, though: this post is merely my opinions, so you don’t have to follow it exactly. I’d hate to dictate what you do on your blog. I wish I could use Feedly, but I have no idea how to connect it to my WordPress blog, since it only seems to detect Blogger blogs. OH well, I might try it out again later on.

      Thanks! 😀

  2. Ooh I used to have my blog with two sidebars until I moved to WordPress where I also deleted a bunch of gunk. But I hate those team badges, it’s like I DONT CARE.

    Fabulous post, Meg! <33

    • Hehe, I’m glad you deleted them! 😛 And I know — it really distracts me from the blogger’s posts, which is a total NO, and yep, I don’t care which team you belong to either. If you want to add it in, just put it under your “About Me” page or something.

  3. I am shallow when it comes down to design too – which is odd because my blog technically doesn’t have a sidebar, it has a drop down top bit and a footer with everything else. I really like the look I’ve reached so I’m not sure if I want to add a sidebar again by having to find another layout. (Your new one is looking very pretty by the way.)

  4. Yup Yup I’m over here nodding. I hate cluttered sidebars! I agree with all of the essentials but my big one–that a lot of bloggers I find don’t utilize–is the SEARCH bar. And I know it’s one of the more boring things to put on a sidebar but it really is essential.

  5. Haha I’m more interested to follow or visit other blogs if they have attractive or neat designs too. I agree with most of your points!! I just hate seeing a blog with crowded sidebar and not only it distracts me from reading the actual content, just like you say, it takes AGESSSS to load the website and I am not a super patient person when it comes to this stuff. And especially when my internet connection is slow, I’ll just hit the X button without second-thought if the site isn’t finished loading in a few minutes. I used to do some of these, like I used to put my love triangle teams and series banners on my sidebar, currently reading and some book countdown widgets and also blogroll. However as time goes by, I’ve come to a conclusion that all these widgets aren’t really useful. They made my sidebar exploding with pics and as a result my site looked messy and just not good to look at haha. I removed most of them and kept the relevant ones, and I also changed my blogroll to a list instead of buttons. My blog has definitely looked far better than when I first started blogging but now I’m wondering though, how do you find my blog design?? I’m not a pro when it comes to designing and I guess it looks good enough since I did it myself…Can I ask your opinions??

    • It’s more horrible for me because if I see a blog with a design I dislike, then I’ll click on that little “x” button almost immediately! D: I’m just judgmental like that, unfortunately. I’m actually FINE with team badges or whatever — it just has to be symmetrical and not all over the place like some blogs are. And don’t worry, Kezia, your design’s lovely! It’s adorable and totally you. You’re doing all right in that department!

  6. Preach, Megan!!! I’m superficial when it comes to blog design too but as long as the blog has a clean, simple sidebar- I’m satisfied. Otherwise, UGH. I cannot. Uber cluttered sidebars are just horrifying. I get the urge to clean it up for who ever owns the blog. Seriously.

    Anyway, I think the most important elements for me in a sidebar are ways to follow and search bars! I’m fine with ads, I understand some people use their blog to earn. But they should at least keep it to a minimum and make it look good! Too much is overwhelming and annoying. Anyway, fantastic discussion yet again, lovely! 😀

    • Ads: I’ve seen so many blogs with the stupid BlogAd boxes EVERYWHERE. Top of their blog, on both sides of their sidebars, and even all crowded into one tiny space — I HATE it so much. No one’s going to click on it anyway if it doesn’t look appealing, you know?! Thanks, Hazel!

  7. I totally agree with this post. The first thing I look for when I visit a blog are ways that I can follow and come back and visit. And I really appreciate the little “about me” on the sidebar because it lets me know about the person without having to go to the about page (even though I do end up visiting that if I like the blog a lot).

    Also, I’d add that tour stop banners are sometimes necessary — more for the blogger than the visitor. I have them so I can keep track of upcoming stops and make sure I don’t miss the date. Without them, I’d probably accidentally forget.

    And yes to the currently reading book! There are so many blogs that don’t have this, but I love to see what the blogger is currently reading so I can see what’s coming up next and to talk about the book while they’re in the process of reading. It’s easier than visiting their Goodreads to find out.

    • Haha, I always feel like a stalker whenever I go to their “About” page to read more about them. >.> And then because I like to know what my blogging friends look like, I proceed to find out if I can spot a picture of them. Creepy!

      Oh, yes! Tour banners — how could I forget? Yeah, I used to have tour banners on my sidebar on Ink Skies, but now, since I don’t participate in them (or hardly do), I don’t feel the need for them anymore. As for the currently reading book: I know! Especially if their GR profile is private. Why do they want to be so secretive, anyway? *shifty eyes*

  8. OMG your new design ❤ I luurve it.

    Anyway, so sidebars.. Mine have the archive, and the buttons. If I'm hosting a giveaway, I'll add a new widget. I know, it's not much, but when I used to have "everything" (Like the currently reading, favourite GR shelf, Popular posts, BL button, NB's ugly following widget), it was too cluttered. I should add a search bar and a welcome message though!

  9. I’m pretty similar with you for most of this. I think the main thing for me is that I want to be able to search your blog (especially helpful when I link to other blogger’s reviews) and find you on various social media. A welcome message is nice, but not necessarily needed for me (though I am quite happy with mine!) and a blog button is good to have but I always make my own for my blogroll so that no longer bothers me either (but I did move mine back to my sidebar instead of my About page after reading this, you’re welcome).

    For me, I always feel like less is more. I rather the reader spend more time looking at my content than getting distracted by everything going on in the sidebars. I really just try to keep it to the basics: search, welcome, follow, recent posts, button. That’s it. Everything else for me is unnecessary or can be found elsewhere.

    That being said, if someone has a bunch of crap on their sidebar or is missing something, it won’t completely stop me from following their blog. I just might be a bit frustrated and grumble a lot to myself. But who cares 😉

    • The welcome message is really just a personal preference — I should’ve mentioned that! I kind of feel more welcomed and like your blog is more personal if there’s a message like that, if I’m making sense. And haha, thank you! 😛 I wish I could make my own, but I’m too lazy. >.<

      "I rather the reader spend more time looking at my content than getting distracted by everything going on in the sidebars.” — Agreed! Which is why ads and banners and badges don’t work out for me, at all. You’re better than me in that sense. I’m so judgmental I’ll close the window before their sidebar ugliness can hurt my brain permanently.

  10. I am a design snob on a whole, but I try my best to actually appreciate the blog for its content. Sidebars are tricky little devils. I think there are two extremes when it comes to book blogs – either it is organized and necessary or cluttered and nonsensical. Of course, this is all my opinion. I do agree with the “should haves” you mentioned though I do not see the need for an About Me widget when I have a whole page dedicated to that. The search bar is so helpful. I hate when I am looking for a particular post on a blog, and there is no search bar. It does not take up much space, so I have no idea why some bloggers do not deem it vital. I also like the buttons. Even though I do not have a button blogroll, I have noticed that many bloggers have them!

    As for the widget to avoid, it feels as though you took it out right out of my brain! Ads are so troublesome on the eyes. Nothing is wrong with revenue pumping, but jeez. I have seen blogs with stellar, often professional designs with ads that make the blog look ugly! I will never place a revenue-ad on my blog for that very reason. I also do not see the need for series banners and the like. They do show one’s fervor for a book or books, but they slow down your blog’s loading time. I also do not like two sidebar blogs. They do offer more room for clutter. Those tend to be the blogs with the real sidebar widget hoarders. At the end of the day, people can do what they want with their blogs – even adding Disney tunes. However, that does not mean I have to enjoy it.

    • Gah, I really should read through my posts before publishing them! Sorry, what I meant about the “About Me” widget is more of like a welcome message; not FULLY an about me write-up, if you get what I mean. But I’m with you about the search bar! Plus, you can code it to fit your theme and whatnot, so it doesn’t look ugly at all. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a button blogroll. It can just be a list. like what Charlotte from Gypsy Reviews does!

      Unfortunately, for the free WordPress.com site, ads aren’t optional. That’s the thing that annoys me the most about WP. I can’t control whether to have ads on my blog or not, and if I want to remove them, I need to pay a whopping $30 for a year. MAD. So I apologize if you see any ads that look out-of-place! I don’t get to see them other than a little box that has a notice saying something like: “Occasionally, your readers will see an advertisement here” and blah, blah, blah. Yep, it doesn’t mean I’ll be sticking around to torture myself crazy either.

  11. NICE! I totally agree with the follow and social media ones, because I get really peeved when blogs don’t let me follow them conveniently (I prefer it through Bloglovin, really!), or even give me an opportunity to stalk them any other way through other social media sites. Its especially sad if the blog has great content 😦 I don’t use search bars on blogs often, but its totally convenient for recaps, and the like. I don’t think the intro is necessary, but it definitely helps give the blog a warmer, more welcoming feeling! That’s important, since it encourages me to stick around 😀 The blog button makes ME feel professional truth be told, but I’ve never used someone else’s to link up to them before. HAHA D: And I’ve never hosted a giveaway….dunno what to think of that! XD In terms of the other stuff you mentioned, I prefer the Currently Reading one. I like getting my curiosity piqued with that! And blogrolls are real useful to me. Scares me if I forget a blog or two, but its nice to spread the love 🙂

    • Bloglovin’ all the way! Admittedly, I haven’t come across many blogs that don’t have a very clear way to follow, but when I do, it annoys me to bits. Yep, I’m trying to think up of ways to get readers to stick around and comment, because I’m just concerned about my blog like that. 😉 Yep, the blogroll comes with its pros and cons, but I prefer to just think of the pros rather than the latter to ease up my guilt a little bit!

  12. I love what you did with the new design Meg 😀 It looks really elegant.

    Search bar, following options and social icons are for me the top 3 important things I look for. I also like it when they have an archive, so I can scroll through posts for interesting things. Having a blogroll is great, because I’ve found many new blogs that way 🙂 I also like seeing the GR challenge widget or the book someone is reading (I can’t do that, since I read 5/6/7/8… books at the same time :p Would become quite messy, haha)

  13. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your new design, Meg. 😀 It really looks cool. ❤

    Back to topic, I am not really a superficial person. I usually go first to read the blogger's post and see what she/he has to say. But I agree with you about cluttered sidebars. It's really my pet peeve whenever I am doing a bloghop and opening 3-5 windows at the same time then everything gets laggy because some of the sites have nasty sidebars. x_x What really makes my eye bulge are those banners/buttons/widgets that are already spilling out from the margins and becoming part of the background. What the heck!!!

    1. Ways to follow- Yes. I always find it annoying when I'm participating on a Feature Follow meme and the site that I'm visiting have no ways to be followed.

    2. Social media icons- Same as number one. Some bloggers just want to make my life complicated by placing the social media icons every where. Damn it. I mean, I'm already visiting your blog. Why make it hard for me? That captcha is already annoying enough and now you want to have me scrolling back and forth just to find that damn social media button.

    3. A short introductory message- Err~ I didn't place one of this on my sidebar. I don't want very long sidebars, Meg. If possible, I don't want my readers scrolling endlessly. Hahaha.

    4. Search bar- Agree. How I hated those blogs whose search buttons are nowhere to be found.

    5. Blog button- Yes. It can be really time consuming when I have to make buttons for those blogs that I'm following through my blogroll. I don't do lists. I am more of a visual learner so it's easy for me to remember blogs using images. And don't feel weird. I also use my blogroll to check my favorite blogs. I never used bloglovin or feedburner. Everytime I visit those sites, I can't help but feel claustrophobic as if all those blog posts are closing in on me.

    6. Lists of current giveaways- How I love freebies. How I wish I am that rich to always advertise a long list of giveaways. hahaha.

    1. Currently reading- Yep. I love seeing these on blogs that's why I also placed one on mine.

    2. Book quotes widget- Err~I am not really one for quotes. Hahaha.

    3. Twitter timeline- Err~ Nope.

    4. Blogroll- I prefer to place it on a page instead of putting it into a sidebar. Since I use images, it would really look messy on my sidebar since they've got different shapes and colors.

    Pet Peeves
    1. Book cover montages- I know right!
    2. Photo slideshows- Yes! And my net connection isn't that good so it's always a torture for me when things are so slow.
    3. Badges & banners- They're really annoying if they don't have the same shape and size. And they're spilling out from the margins. Argh!
    4. YouTube widgets- *sighs*
    5. Advertisements- We're the same. I want my advertisements on the same area and that they have similar sizes.
    6. Anything cluttery, really- Yes!

  14. A blog or a website should ALWAYS have a search bar. I mean, really, how are we supposed to search for interesting stuff otherwise? And ways to follow + social media icons. If someone wants to follow your blog, they should have options on how to subscribe. Not everyone likes bookmarking.

    Ha! I like when blogs show what the readers are currently reading, too! And blogrolls are always handy to find new blogs!

    I agree about all the stuff you don’t think should be in the sidebar! Photo slideshows are always annoying and if I wanted to know what books someone has read, I can either check their reviews list page (if they have one) or check their Goodreads account (if they have one). If they have neither, it’s a small chance that I’ll come back. Ugh, the advertisements are always so annoying… And I don’t like blogs with two sidebars on each side for the reason you stated. TOO MUCH. So far, the only blog with two sidebars (on one side) that I’ve liked is Bewitched Bookworms’ blog.

    Your post is really helpful! Especially to newbie bloggers who are just starting!

  15. I found this really interesting because I am still trying to establish the design of my blog. In particular, I liked your focus on different ways to follow the blog because there are some you mentioned that I haven’t utilised yet.

  16. Hello from another superficial person! At least now I don’t have to feel bad about being the only one!

    Ways to follow is super important. It’s definitely #1 on my list too. I’m glad you included Feedly in your Essentials! I always get really annoyed when people don’t have a Feedly button. I understand that it’s not as popular as Bloglovin but please acknowledge those rare Feedly users too! At the very least, provide a link to your feed so I can easily add it to my Feedly!

    Social media buttons are also a big YES. I love getting to know the bloggers behind the blogs better and social media is a great way to do that!

    I like currently reading widgets too because like you, I love seeing what people are reading. I used to have one on my sidebar but I kept on forgetting to update it so I deleted it.

    And god, no Youtube widgets PLEASE. I absolutely despise them.

    Also, while we’re on the topic of design and superficiality etc etc, I really love your new design! It is so pretty! Totally suits your blog.

  17. First of all, love the new design!

    And second, amen to all of this. I’m guilty of not having some of the “should” bits though… Particularly the ways to follow. I just have no idea how to use bloglovin’ or feedly (bad Kayla), so I don’t put it up there. One day I’ll have to sit down and figure it all out, but I just haven’t had the time yet!

    I actually recently gave up on my “Currently Reading” section on my blog. I read too quickly to sit down and constantly change the url in my text box so the right image is showing, and my Goodreads widget crapped out on me and won’t show my books. So I just decided to delete and surprise everyone with whatever review comes out that day 😉

  18. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one! When I visit a blog and see that their whole blog is CLUTTERED, I X right away because 1) It hurts my eyes 2) my computer gets effin’ slow when there’s a bunch of images trying to load. I totally agree with your tips, and darn I always meant to put a “Welcome” sign to my blog and talk a bit about me and my blog, but I always forget to do it. What I think is the most important thing on a sidebar is def. a way to follow! I also love seeing what that person is currently reading and the about me section (which I still need lol).

    Great post!

  19. ARE YOU IN MY HEAD? This post = everything I feel about sidebars. Cluttered sidebars are the worst! (Especially if the sidebar is longer than the content.) Less stuff is better.

    When people have two sidebars, I want to scream WHHHHYYYYYYY. I like everything to look organized, and two sidebars is the opposite of that. Having that is totally unnecessary and messy. It just causes the page to load slowly. I refuse to sit around and wait for all those unnecessary images of the book carousels and what series you like to to load. Time is of the essence! (And really, is it to hard to put all those series you like on a page that’s at the top menu bar?)

    Though, I’m not a big fan of Twitter widgets on the blog. It’s so small and cramp-looking. I think it’s because I prefer going on the site or on the app to see what the person is talking about it. It’s easier that way.

    (btw, YOUR BLOG LAYOUT IS SOOO GORGEOUS! <3)

  20. K, I don’t know what you mean about your comment about your blog design – I love it a lot!! I think you know design very well.

    I think I’m generally a bit more lenient when it comes to clutter than the average blogger – like, it never stops me from following a blog – but even still I found I was agreeing with you on every point!

    I think generally the more cluttered sidebars are seen with newbie bloggers. At least, I know that was the case with me. When I first started blogging, I had the two sidebar design on either side of the body of text (which I agree with you now in disliking it) and even though I don’t believe it was never as messy as many that you see, I did feel the need to have many, many more widgets than I have now. I just wanted to show off various aspects of me and there are sooo many widgets that you can put there! It was only later that it occurred to me that most of them weren’t really adding anything to my blog and I edited like crazy. So I absolutely agree with your all around take home message: keep the essentials and get rid of anything that is not necessary.

    I would like to work in a way to use the word “uglify” regularly in my everyday speech, heh.

  21. I agree with most of your suggestions. I am always looking at my sidebar and menu and trying to decide if it is too cluttered and if there are things I should remove. I want a simple and professional look, and cluttered sidebars just aren’t the way to go.

  22. The only thing we don’t have from your suggestion list is a blog button. It’s funny because we actually do have a blog button, but every time we try and add it to the side the widget stuffs up…so we just don’t put it up haha.

    I don’t have a “currently reading” (because then I would have to change it every day/couple of days which would just be ridiculous. yeah, I read at about that speed :P). But I do have a “Book of the Month” on the side! And I really need to make a blogroll at some point…

    I agree with ALL of your pet peeves, but you know what really really annoys me? That stupid widget that makes the seagull sounds or whatever the eff it is. (I think it’s the Bane Chronicles widget, not 100% sure)

  23. I don’t like two sidebars either. There’s too much going on there and the main section seems squished. I like sidebars to be on on the right.

    I don’t consider a search bar necessary but everyone else seems think it is so I have one. I never use it on anyone else’s blog, but I have used it on my own once or twice. They’re ugly though. I don’t have a blogroll because I don’t follow anyone specifically. I just go through Bloglovin and read what looks interesting or follow links from Twitter or the weekly memes. I don’t use blog buttons so I don’t have one of my own and I don’t host giveways. I don’t really notice if people have their giveaways listed in the sidebar or not. To be honest, other the follow buttons, links to archives, and explanations of ratings systems, I tend to ignore the rest of what’s on the sidebars.

    I like the currently reading widgets but the one I was using through Goodreads didn’t work well with my sidebar and I don’t have the patience to change it manually every day or two.

  24. As I’ve just moved to wordpress I have been redesigning by blog and my first step was to take everything off my sidebar and then only put back the essentials. I think I have all your must-haves!
    I’m still debating where to put my blogroll, into the sidebar or a new page, I’m not sure so I don’t have that yet. And thanks for reminding me about book quotes, I think I’ll put that one back. Even if no one else looks at it, I like to be reminded of my favourite quotes so this one will be just for me 🙂
    And I agree, I hate the image heavy ones, they look cluttered and they are so slow to load and just hurt my eyes. I tend to read and move quickly on rather than lingering for a while.

  25. Ways to follow – YES. I still have the GFC widget on my sidebar, but I’m thinking of removing it since it has no use anymore.

    Social media icons – I don’t care about Facebook, but love to check out other bloggers Devianart, Tumblr, Pinterest pages, if they have one. Goodreads and Twitter are MUSTs! Especially Twitter.

    A short introductory message – hm, my “message” is not really a welcome message…maybe I should change it…

    Search bar – haha, I guess the next time I’m redesigning the blog, I should keep the search bar.

    Blog button – I think it rarely if ever gets used, but I have one, so…

    Lists of current giveaways – I’m not doing giveaways these days, but I like to be able to check the currently running giveaways on other’s blogs 🙂

    Currently reading – it doesn’t bother me, but I can’t bother with it

    Book quotes widget – I can do without it

    Twitter timeline – ditto

    Blogroll – I quite like them. And that reminds me, I should update mine…

    Book cover montages: agreed – just no.

    Badges & banners – one or two banners are fine, but a sidebar cluttered with hundreds of them is NOT

    YouTube widgets – haven’t see one before, and it doesn’t sound like something I’d like to either

    Advertisements – let’s just say no to Ads

    So yeah, basically I agree with 95% or so of what you said 🙂

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  29. Haha! This is great! I agree with what you said, and I think I’ve got most of the good things you mentioned in addition to some series/teams banners because they look preeeetttyyyy and who can resist pretty things? Anyway, I think somethings shouldn’t be on sidebars like fish tank…Unless it is a blog about fish but if you have a blog about cooking, and you put a fish tank on the side bar….that’s just really mean to the fish…Gone off topic slightly….*ATTACK HUG*

    Rita xx

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