Heartmade Blog

Worst Sidebar Mistakes I See + How to Fix Em’


I see a lot websites for a living + I’m often horrified by what I find + also what I can’t find. That’s why I finally decided to have the dreaded sidebar talk with you. Cue in the horror music!


So I’ve noticed that you are way too creative when it comes to filling up your sidebar with noise. That’s just gotta stop.


The thing is, if you’re running an online business, you really can’t afford to let your website slack off. Your success is directly linked to your website’s success. So, if you want to make it in the big leagues, you have to get your website in good shape.


But don’t worry it ain’t as rocket science as it seems. I’m here to help!


In today’s Friday Video Time episode I’m unveiling the worst 3 mistakes I see most people make + giving you actionable ways to fix em’.


Let’s turbo-charge those sidebars! This is the year we clean up all the clutter!


Oh + but before you go, don’t forget to share your thumbs up + thumbs down sidebar features. I’m sure all those website revampers listening in will be oh so thankful. Helping is a beautiful thing.


Now, if you want to reclaim more than just your website’s sidebar, come on over to Life is Messy Bootcamp where a bunch of us are cleaning up our act + making room for epic.


Hope to see your there!



Mayi Carles

31 Responses to Worst Sidebar Mistakes I See + How to Fix Em’

  • Angela says:

    Ooops! I’m making all these three mistakes. Maybe I should reconsider. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Another mistake that I’ve seen (and I’ve done) is having too much blinkies around your website, you know these flashing images with quotes, “leave a comment” e.t.c. that can be really distracting.

  • Angela says:

    Another thing that seems to work for me is the Popular Posts gadget. People can see in my sidebar my posts that have the more views, comments or shares and that’s a great way of using internal links because people browse my blog longer.

  • lakshmi says:

    Nice . I definitely have one thing going on wrong..but thats more to do with my ignorance with widgets & handling them..Not a problemo – will fix it.
    One thing that irks me the MOST – BIG flashy annoying advertising. Look, im all for people making money, but those sidebars need some cleaning up. I have actually left sites because they are way too busy for my eyes and I can’t feed my brain with info.
    What I do like – specific info about the person, what they do . Sometimes, its easier to get a quick intro before I look for the about me page… something that I need to do for myself too *lowering eyes*
    Thanks, and love your glasses! How do you stay serious while wearing those ?!

  • mayicarles says:

    Angela: HEHEHEHE that’s why my objectivity is here my dearest.

    Ohhh yeah blinkies. OMG those can get dizzie after a while right? Great feedback Angela!

    And I’m not surprise the Popular Post gadget works. That’s a little bit like the Content Bucket Pages I described in the video. Pre-selecting for your readers is a GREAT way to recycle content. BUT I will say, I feel Content Pages are even MORE effective because you can add an opt-in form + really style the page in a way that really converts readers to followers.

  • mayicarles says:

    Lakshmi: OMG YESSSSSSS. Big flashy annoying advertising for weight loss supplements on a handmade blog KILL ME!

    Thanks for your wisdom Lashhmi.. you rock!

    Oh + to answers you glasses question. The real question is: How can I fill without them? They are my Friday Video Time prop of choice + confidant’ + safety blanket ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Alicia says:

    I love graphics in the side bar. Blinking super animated graphics in the side bat make me a bit nauseous!

    Great tips! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • becky says:

    my biggest pet peeve is NO SEARCH!!!! sometimes i know right where i got something, but the link isn’t on the blog– and i can’t ever find it because there is no search. who wants to spend the afternoon going through pages of posts to find it? not me! please, please, please have a search on your blog.
    i agree with the blinkies and
    the dark blogs with bright text kind of bug too-

  • linda says:

    Thanks for your suggestions – I hadn’t thought about the archives in that manner… very interesting!

    I sometimes find it annoying when there is no search feature…if I’m looking for something specific on the blog and can’t remember when it was posted. I realize we can use google, but would be nice to have search on the blog itself!

  • Nancy Liedel says:

    As I am working on the sales site today, this is really timely. It’s bare bones right now (WordPress is easy my left thigh!). I removed the archives right away and will be having fun creating my calls to action (too long right now), my inner links and my important stuff. Like, how to follow me!!!!

    I’m so fascinating. Snort.

    Thank you for this great tip and keep em coming. I can’t wait for the bootcamp to start.

    I am including my link, but…don’t look. Seriously, it’s got a long way to go. No products and every time I load the top of page logo it screams in horror and dies a terrible death. Poor baby. I have a sheet with my architecture all laid out. So I’m getting there.

  • Tracy says:

    I just knew what you were going to say ๐Ÿ˜‰ and I am sooo guilty ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you, Mayi! You are such a huge help!! xo Tracy

  • Sandra says:

    Great sugestions! My blogue it’s a little abandoned :(.

    Let’s see, one of the worst things I see in side bars it’s the widgets for music, I’m sorry but I hate to enter in a blog and have to hear all that high noise. And, or I close the blog or I spend a lot of time finding the stop button!!

    (sorry for my bad english!)

  • mayicarles says:

    Alicia: Hehehehe they are kinda nauseating aren’t they? LOL.

    Becky: No search, great one. I recently read from someone I really respect to eliminate the search bar + it got me thinking. I finally made the decision to leave my search bar cuz I feel I have a lot of content that people might want to find on their own. Thanks for the reaffirmation + reminder ๐Ÿ™‚

    Linda: Great pointed Linda, thanks for your valuable feedback.

    Nancy: Ohh Nancy you are gonna be flying before you know it with that superstar personality + drive of yours. When you commit on such level of excellence the sky is not even a limit! I AM SO SO SO excited for bootcamp. I want it to be Feb 15 already ๐Ÿ™‚

    Tracy: You’re welcome hehehehe. I like to be the kick in the pants reminder. It suits me well ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sandra: Musicccccc OMG, I hate that too. It even scared me hehehe. Great one! (Your English is perfect, have you seem my typos OMG, I’m practicing but I’m so bad with languages).

  • emily says:

    It drives me nuts when people have google ads on the title bar. That is PRIME real estate to advertise yourself! They are advertising something that is often not even relevant to their blog! That drives me CRAAAAZY!!!

  • mayicarles says:

    Emily: Right there with ya’ girl. DRIVES ME MAD! Primer real state in Upper East Side New York. It really doesn’t make ANY sense!

  • Wilma says:

    I loved this video–mainly because it makes me feel like a Superhero! Here’s why: 1. I have no blog archives! Instead, Labels and Search. 2. I have no External Links, unless I am part of the site somehow. Buuut, that means I need to let my readers know that fact. 3. No Exchange Links!!! (I’m trynna get people to my page, not send them away.)
    That’s all for now, gotta get back to the KickStart booklet!!!

  • mayicarles says:

    Wilma: You feel like a superhero because that’s exactly what you are! WOHOOOOO for rocking it like a pro! I can’t wait to dig deeper + help you go even further ๐Ÿ™‚

  • jojoebi says:

    my number one pet hate is music!
    If the site is playing music I close the window and move on.
    Second pet hate are lots of blinky, flashy things, one, slow moving widget/ad is ok any more that that and…I am out of there!
    Third, no search option
    and finally no obvious way to follow/subscribe to a blog.

    interesting points about the archives, and I have been umming and ahhhing about the labels too since that takes up a big chunk of space.

  • Deb @ home life simplified says:

    I love your Friday video posts – thank you! (I am not a creative business owner but i learn so much from you i still subscribe).

    One pet peeve of mine is people burying their contact info – have your twitter, subscription for blog, etsy store etc all at the top so if i like your page i will follow through right then. i have had sites where i have to scroll down past all those things you mentioned (little miss sunshine etc) to get to where else to find them and connect

  • mayicarles says:

    Jojoebi: Music + Blinky. I gotsha! That’s so usefult Jojoebi. Thanks for sharing! We so appreciate it!

  • mayicarles says:

    Deb: I love having you here Deb. This space is for creative hearts + from the looks of everything you’re putting out into the world you are bound to feel right at home here ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for your contribution about burying contact info. That’s SOOOO important. It’s like OMG I want to hire you but I don’t even know where to look for your e-mail address. So frustrating right?

  • Ashley says:

    I thought having a Most Viewed widget would be great . . . and it was, at first. It got new readers clicking through my posts. The problem is that a post that got a lot of traffic – let’s say it was about a celebrity I interacted with on Twitter – due to the traffic, it was featured by the widget. New readers clicked on it – which kept it in the “most viewed”. People kept clicking on the same posts over and over and it wasn’t truly telling me which were most viewed, it told me which were most clicked on because they were right there in the reader’s face.

    I can accomplish that via a content page and I get to choose what is in their face. Such a good tip!

  • mayicarles says:

    Hi Asheley: so happy to see your here. I’ve missed you girl! I’m also so glad you found an actionable tibbit to help grow your business. So excited for all that’s to come for you!

  • Tiffany Whipps says:

    Yep I’m guilty and I’m glad you set the record straight, this whole web site thing can get confusing!!

  • mayicarles says:

    You are very welcome Tiffany. Glad this was helpful.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Best thing: Mailing list signup. My feed reader is so out of date that it’s moldy, but if there’s a site I adore, I want the emails, ladies! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Worst thing: I’m with all the music haters. I can. not. stand. when blogs play music. Especially when it’s aaaaaaalllllll the way down at the bottom of some insane sidebar (or worse, in the footer) where you can’t TURN IT OFF in a reasonable amount of time. ARGH! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • mayicarles says:

    Hi Elizabeth: I too like clear sign up boxes. And I really enjoy the ones that tell me what I’ll get for joining ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  • Laura says:

    I can’t stand it when someone has an icon with every blog they’ve ever been mentioned/interviewed on, and every web award they’ve ever won… on the side bar! Stretching miles into the abyss, cluttering out the only things I ever really look for (Search, follow/email list, and occasionally, “Best Of” for stand-out blog posts. Thanks for the great video!

  • mayicarles says:

    Laura: “Stretching miles into the abyss” OMG I’m in the floor laughing. You are totally hilarious lady + so so wise ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Adelaida says:

    – The worst thing, that irritates me the very second it appears, is music on site. I’m instantly in a crazy search for a stop button. It’s OK to share your favourite music but maybe in some different way (please please please) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    – Next thing: colours. Some sites just go crazy with them. I think it’s better to have a black & white blog than to make it look like a rainbow vomit. I can’t find anything when I’m distracted by all those colours.

    – And the last – looking cheap. Witch ridiculous gifs, sparkles here and there, flashing sings, every line in different font and size. If it looks like a collection of a crazy lady then it’s just bad.

    And what I like:
    -opposite of those above (no music, or at least stopped when you open the page and you can click ‘play’ button when YOU want to; perfect colour palette; sophisticated layout and all those widgets and add ons)

    – I also like when the sidebar does not change constantly, so when I get used to it, it will stay more or less the same and I can find everything I need on it.

    Thank you Mayi for the tips ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope they will help my blog look fab ^^

  • Sรญlvia Nolan says:

    I am totally making these 3 major mistakes. My weekend homework has just increased ๐Ÿ™‚ I am definitely in need of re-planning, re-organizing my project’s page. Mayi, thanks again for the great tips. I learned about your page on Constanรงa Cabral’s blog and I am loving it. You are truly inspiring and motivating.

  • Salinda says:

    Wow! When I read the title of this post, I just knew I was committing all 3 of them! But…I’m not, I don’t think.

    Would you consider categories as archives?

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