What to Remove From Your WordPress Sidebar for Better User Retention

The WordPress sidebar is full of stuff that causes visual clutter. So clean up the sidebar for better retention and have only the most relevant information there to improve user retention. Don’t stuff it with unnecessary ads, social media icons, tweets and photos since most visitors have a short attention span and want to immediately locate what they are looking for. Some side bar information is only relevant for the admin. Most of the WordPress themes come with a Meta section with “Login” or “XHTML Valid” links which information is useful only for you and not the reader, so remove them.


Appearance and widgets

widgetsThere are a number of widgets under the appearance link that WordPress adds by default. So it is a good idea to go to the sidebar and check out all the widgets and remove the ones that are not useful in the sense that they don’t add people, get you money or add some value to visitors when they are prompted to take some action. The idea is to get them to see only what you want them to see and only content they are going to find useful. So customize the appearance of the widgets by having one for pages, another for posts etc. so that users can locate stuff without getting impatient. Once you add your own the default widgets go away,

See also: 12 Useful WordPress Sidebar Widgets to Engage Visitors


pages on sidebarThe sidebar might contain a long list of pages and subpages that look like an

Encyclopedia. Visitors want to find what they want quickly. If the pages form too long a list then your visitors are likely to avoid the list, than go through the entire lot of listed pages. Feature only the most important pages and exclude the pages that have become irrelevant or outdated. It is easier to pick from a list of around 10 to 15.


Ads, Logos and Badges

Ads are displayed on the sidebar but you could have ads inside the content especially as people use mobile devices and the sidebar gets pushed to the bottom. There are bloggers who have removed the WordPress logo and have placed their own logo promotes them or their brand. So if WordPress Planet and QuickPress are not required why have them there. Directories want you to have badges but to tell you the truth these badges send very little traffic but clutter up the site.


Other visual pollution

There are a number of other things you can remove from your sidebar like Author information if there is only one writer. You can also easily remove: ‘Links’, ‘Slides’, ‘Portfolio’ and ‘Feedback’ tags as these are rarely or never used. You can also do without ‘Recent  Comments’  as it just features the name and serves no useful purpose as most comments are read on the page comments section. If your blog is not a journal or time bound one that needs you to maintain the story time wise then do away with the ‘Calendar’ also.

Read More

[How to Use Custom Sidebars on Posts and Pages](http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-use-custom-sidebars-on-posts- and-pages–wp-25142)

26 Widgets to dress up your wordpress sidebar