Focusing on the Sidebar: Show me the Money!

Last time I mentioned how the sidebar contributes to the blog in terms of aesthetics and usability (navigation), one thing I failed to mention though is that the sidebar can also be very important in terms of monetization. Obviously you can use the sidebar to insert all kinds of ads – from Adsense to the direct sponsor’s banners. If you do choose to use your sidebar as a venue for blog monetization though I urge you to keep to the following guidelines: Think appropriate – Make sure you only put up ads that are appropriate for your readers. Obviously if your blog are for kids do not become an affiliate for adult websites. Advertise things that will be of real interest to your readers. Do not use your sole sidebar purely for monetization – As I mentioned in my previous posts one of the major benefits of sidebars in the increase in usability. Make sure you still put in navigation elements so that people will have a way to get around your blog more easily. Make it pretty – A deluge of varied ads can make for a messy looking sidebar. If you are putting up sponsor blogs limit them to specific dimensions so that your blog will at least look streamlined. Think about your color scheme and don’t put up ads that really clash with your blog’s look. You can ask sponsors for several (color) versions of ads so that you can choose to post the one that best fits your blog. For adsense, you can always tweak the color scheme so don’t settle for the default.