Yes Or No To A Sidebar

Have you ever wondered if your blog really needs a sidebar? If it does, should it be on the left or right side of your page?

Unfortunately the answer is not a simple yes or no. But with some testing, I have figured out the optimal layout for a sidebar on a blog. So, should you be using a sidebar? Well, it all depends.

Visitors come to a blog to read the content. Their main purpose is to devour your information and ask you questions through commenting.

If they really like your content, they may share it on the social media, but you do not need a sidebar for that. You can add social sharing buttons throughout your post or use plugins like Flare.

So, what’s the purpose of a sidebar? Well, it’s an area you can use to promote products or services as well as to get users to do anything else you want.

It has been proved that including your bio on every page of your blog, within the sidebar, is a great way to connect with your readers. This helps build a loyal community, which is the main reason I have a sidebar.

Sure, you can add a bio at the bottom of each of your blog posts, but you have to keep in mind that most people don’t read your blog posts in their entirety. And adding it to the top of each blog post is distracting as people are mainly coming to your blog to read the content, they don’t want to continually have to read about you before they are able to get to the content. In addition to that, if you are trying to get repeat visitors, a sidebar is almost a necessity.

Why? you may ask. Because within it, you can put links to all your social profiles and add an email opt-in box. Plus, you have to keep in mind that a lot of the emails have been collected within the sidebar, and the best part about having a sidebar isn’t even the email traffic. It’s the ranking lifts it provides in search engines.

I link to all the popular guides and posts on this site. The reason for this is that it helps pass search engine juice to all those pages, and it causes them to rank highly in Google. For example, if you search for “online marketing,” you’ll notice that this guide ranks on page one.

Should you always use a sidebar?

Although I recommend using a sidebar, you don’t need one on each of your pages. Consider not having a sidebar on the pages you are trying to improve conversions on or make money from. Why? Because it makes people focus their attention on the area you want, the area where you make money.

So, for my money pages, I tend to have no sidebars.

Also, for any page that has a defined goal, you should consider removing unnecessary distractions such as a sidebar. For example, with my guides, my whole goal is to get you to read each of them from cover to cover. That’s why you won’t find a sidebar on my guides.

The majority of your blog pages should contain a sidebar. For the pages that are focused on a specific goal, consider removing it as it will help boost your conversion rate.

Should you place your sidebar on the left or right side?

I’ve actually tested this one a lot. I prefer the look of a blog where a sidebar is on the right side, but it tends to convert better when it is on the left.

Here’s what I discovered;

When you place your sidebar on the left-hand side, you will get more email opt-ins, and more people will read your bio and do whatever else you promote through your sidebar. But you will also get fewer people to read your content.

I’ve found that having a sidebar on the left side causes a 9% drop in people reading the blog posts. On the other hand, it increases the number of sidebar opt-ins by 13%. Overall, I decided to place my sidebar on the right-hand side even though it generates 13% fewer opt-ins.

Why did I do it anyway? Because it increased the number of blog post reads by 9%. In the end, the purpose of a blog is to educate you through content, so why would I take that away?

In general, you should consider keeping your sidebar on the right-hand side even though it will cause fewer conversions. People are coming to your blog to read, so your primary goal should be to make your content as easy to read as possible.

Conclusion

If you don’t have a sidebar on your blog, you should consider adding one right away, and if you already have one, make sure it is on the right side and contains important elements such as email opt-ins and your bio.

If you are running a corporate blog, instead of your bio, you can always put a quick blurb about your company in the sidebar.

Lastly, you don’t want to have a sidebar on every page of your blog. Consider removing the sidebar from the pages you want to boost your conversion rate on.

What do you think about sidebars? Are you going to have one on your blog?

Instagram Marketing Techniques

 

Do you use Instagram?

If you do, you probably notice a ton of pictures of half-naked models, in this post there are ten Instagram Marketing Techniques that I Learned from Instagram Models.

Most people react negatively to these images; for example, they think that these models have nothing going for them other than their looks. Or even worse, most people assume these models aren’t intelligent.

I’ve known a handful of these Instagram models for a few years now, and the one thing I can say about them is that they are really creative marketers. I’ve learned a few tricks from them that would help you grow your social media accounts.

Here are 10 marketing techniques you can learn from Instagram models:

Technique 1: Shout for shout

On any social network, there are users who are popular. But whether you are popular or not, you want more followers.

To get more followers, you should network with other users and approach them to cross-promote each of your profiles. You can tell your followers to follow another member in the same space, and that other member can do the same for you. By doing this, you can grow your account as long as you are continually employing this technique with other members each and every week. And it doesn’t just work for Instagram you can leverage it for Twitter, Facebook, and any other social network.

Technique 2: Cross-promote your profiles

Chances are you have profiles across multiple social networks. From Facebook to LinkedIn to Twitter, you’re on a lot of social networks.

And I bet that your profiles don’t have all of the same friends and followers. So why wouldn’t you cross-promote? For example, you can post on Facebook a few times a month, telling people to follow you on Twitter or LinkedIn.

And on Twitter, you can tell people to add you as a friend on Facebook. When doing this, just make sure you don’t cross-promote more than one network at a time as you’ll see a diminishing return. In other words, if you told people on Facebook to follow you on both Twitter and LinkedIn, it wouldn’t be as effective as if you asked them to follow you on just one of those networks.

Technique 3: Time your posts

You can’t post on these social networks whenever you want. Why? Because your followers may not be there when you are posting, which means they won’t see your status updates or posts.

So, when should you post? Well, you shouldn’t just rely on generic data, telling you that 8 a.m. or 3 p.m. is the best time to post.

Instead, you should use the following free tools by Simply Measured to determine when most of your followers are online. From Google Plus to Twitter and Instagram, they will analyze all of your social profiles and tell you when to post.

Once you have the data from Simply Measured, you will know when to post. This is why you are seeing a lot of these Instagram models posting at certain times, e.g., 6 p.m. It’s not because that is when they are free it’s because they figured out that the majority of their followers are on that social network during that time.

Technique 4: Post multiple times a day

You can’t expect to post once a week or once a day and get the most traffic. I know some people say you get better engagement if you spread out your posts. And although that’s true, it doesn’t really matter if the content you are posting is exceptionally good.

Just look at these models: they are only posting content that their followers want to see. In addition to that, they are posting the content multiple times a day as it helps them get more engagement faster.

Spend the time to curate great content. If you are pushing out great information, more people will want to follow you.

Technique 5: Show some love

Have you noticed that these Instagram models show a lot of love to their fans? They have contests that allow their followers to win a Skype date with them. To enter, all their followers need to do is post an image of the model on their accounts and tell their own followers to follow the model.

It works wonders for them when it comes to follower growth. You too can do similar things.

For example, Gary Vaynerchuk has an Ask Gary Vee show, allowing people who want his advice to tweet at him.

He then selects some of the tweets and answers the questions in a video format. This has helped him grow his follower count to over a million.
Technique 6: Participate in the community

This one is simple, but most people forget to do it…even I forget at times.

You have to participate if you want to build a loyal community. Respond to comments and messages, and help out your followers when you can. If you show that you care about them, they will reciprocate.

Social media is all about being social. So, don’t just post on these social sites and expect people to buy all of the products and services you are selling without participating.

Technique 7: Don’t forget about the stats

What’s interesting with these models is that the good ones don’t put naked pictures of themselves on Instagram. Why? Because they have found that showing too much skin slows down your follower count (plus Instagram bans nude images).

By leaving some things to the imagination, these girls generate more engagement per post, which causes them to pick up more followers and fame.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, you need to experiment. You have to analyze your status updates and tweets to see what performs the best. This will give you some insights into what you should be posting about and what you shouldn’t.

It’s just like how these girls figured out that they shouldn’t post naked pictures leaving something to the imagination works better.

Without analyzing your social media updates, however, you won’t know what your audience is craving.

Technique 8: Focus your energy

Besides Instagram, what other social networks do most of these Instagram models use? It’s Snapchat.

Sure, they may have a Twitter or a Facebook profile, but they focus over 90% of their time on Instagram and Snapchat. Why? Because they know that there isn’t enough time to be on every social network.

If you want to be big on the social web, pick a network or two. You can expand into a third or a forth later on, but first focus your time and attention on a couple.

Once you’ve built up your popularity, you can then use your following to cross-promote other social networks like I described in Technique 2.

Technique 9: Have fun

This is probably the simplest technique, but you probably don’t see it this way. When you look at social media, you probably see it as a chore. It’s something that you have to be on because of work or financial or marketing reasons.

But what would happen if you actually enjoyed being on these social sites? Your content would get better; people would want to read your updates; and you’d gain more followers.

Don’t make social media a chore. It should be something you are passionate about and are having fun with. If you aren’t, then you need to rethink your strategy.

These Instagram models love their jobs and truly enjoy posting pictures all over the social web. That’s one of the main reasons they are blowing up.

Technique 10: Don’t fight fire with fire

As you can imagine, these Instagram models are loved by a lot of people. But at the same time, they are also hated by thousands of people too. And many of those haters are more vocal than their passionate fans.

What should you do when people start bashing you? You could start bashing them back, but that would just create a feud.

Instead, embrace criticism. Try to learn from it, and if you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say it. Let your fans defend you which they naturally will as you build up your following.

Conclusion

You can learn something from everyone in this world. From kids to flight attendants to even Instagram models, the possibilities are endless.

Sure, you may already know some of the tactics I mentioned above, but I bet you are not leveraging all of them. Just try them out for 30 days, and I promise you will see a world of difference.