For those who love the sidebar and are not just yet ready to do away with it altogether from their WordPress blog, it makes sense to try to maximise its advantage to its full potential. The sidebar continues to be one of the most-loved elements of a WordPress site and despite many people being against it citing reasons ranging from viewer distraction to giving a cluttered and busy feel, for many bloggers, it remains a crucial aspect for more conversion and lead generation.
If you are using a sidebar as a part of your marketing or content strategy, I assume that you are already taking a lot of care about how you place it and how you put the widgets there. However, it is seen that many bloggers do not realise a sidebar’s potential as far as getting more business conversion is concerned. For them, the sidebar is there because everybody else has it and it is mostly populated by many ads and widgets that do nothing to give a better user experience.
Sidebars for better conversion
Rather than simply keeping the sidebar with no clear intent, I would recommend that you start paying more attention to how you are placing your widgets there. You should be placing only those elements that aid in getting more subscribers or followers. You can even optimise the sidebar to get more page views of specific pages or place ads to earn more revenue. A cluttered and busy-looking sidebar never looks good. Try to have the most important elements there instead of placing widgets that do not add any value to the readers.
Sticky sidebar widget
When people visit your blog to read a content there, they simply click on a post and start reading by scrolling down the content. Do you notice that as you scroll down, the sidebar also moves along with the main content? There’s nothing wrong with that. But when the content is long, and the user comes down to the bottom of the post, the sidebar is no longer seen. It has disappeared. This is because the sidebar is not as long as the content itself. Instead, what you see is a tall white space where the sidebar should have been. Is there a way to remove this white space in the sidebar area even if the reader keeps on scrolling down the content? There is. This is where the Q2W3 Fixed Widget plugin comes in.
The Q2W3 Fixed Widget plugin
This free plugin is an extremely useful tool to make a widget in your sidebar “sticky”. This means, when you use this plugin, you can make any sidebar widget float next to the content as the user scrolls down so that there is no white space at all in the sidebar area no matter how long the post is. It is up to you to decide which widget you want to make sticky. Is it going to be an affiliate banner? Is it going to be the opt-in form? The popular posts? Some of the ways by you can optimise the sidebar with Q2W3 Fixed Widget plugin are:
- Increase affiliate sales by making the Affiliate Banner sticky.
- Get more subscribers by making your Subscription Box sticky.
- To decrease bounce rates or increase page views by making Popular Posts sticky.
- Get more Facebook likes by making the Facebook widget sticky.
- Encourage an immediate response by making a Click-to-Action (CTA) banner sticky.
In short, you could make anything sticky if you think it’s going to benefit you.
Installation instructions for Q2W3 Fixed Widget plugin
Follow the standard WordPress plugin installation process.
#1: In your WordPress admin area, go to Appearance –> Plugins –> Add New
#2: Search for “fixed widget” and look for Q2W3 Fixed Widget.
#3: Click “Install Now”.
#4: Click “Activate” tab to activate the installed plugin.
#5: From the Widgets in the sidebar, pick the widget you want to make sticky and check “Fixed widget” box.
#7: Voila! Your widget is sticky now.
How to prevent the sticky widget from overlapping with the footer?
In many instances, the default Q2W3 Fixed Widget settings make the sticky widget overlap with the footer area. Or it might even make the widget float very near to the main menu or header area. To prevent these, you might want to change the settings in the Fixed Widget Options. In the WordPress admin area, go to Appearance –> Fixed Widget Options. There, you have the option to define the top and bottom margins of the widget. Normally, you need to set the bottom margin >= footer height. In my case, I was happy with a Margin Bottom value of 100 px. However, it differs from theme to theme. You can keep on changing the values as a hit-and-trial way and check for yourself where the widget fits perfectly according to you. The same is the case for the Margin Top value. Try various values to see the best option. Mine worked perfectly at 50 px. Yours could be different. Don’t forget to save the settings before checking the changes made.
What to do if the footer height is different for different pages?
If your footer height is changing from page to page, there is another option to prevent the widget from overlapping with the footer. In the General Settings of Fixed Widget Options, you can use the Stop ID option. In this case, you will need to provide the HTML tag id. Your bottom margin value will be determined by the position of the HTML id provided. For instance, let’s take the example of the Nisarg default WordPress theme. In that, if I inspect the Theme Footer (footer.php) in the Editor, I can see that the theme’s footer has an id=”colophone”. So, what you’ll be doing is simply enter colophone in the Stop ID option without any symbols. This will ensure that the sticky widget does not overlap with the footer irrespective of whether the size is different for different pages.
Disabling the plugin on mobile and portable devices
When you use a footer widget, the sticky sidebar widget overlaps with it on mobile devices. This looks ugly. The way to go about with it is to disable the plugin on mobile devices. Here, you have two options. You can choose either Disable Width or Disable Height in the General Settings of the plugin. They work the same way. If the browser width/height is less than or equals the specified value, the plugin is disabled on mobile devices.
Benefits of having a sticky widget
First of all, the Q2W3 Fixed Widget plugin is extremely easy to use. Without a sticky widget, when a reader is reading and enjoying a post, and as he scrolls down the content, he might not see the sidebar. All that is visible to him is a tall white space which makes the layout rather dull and uninspiring. But with this plugin, you can now keep things in your control and keep something valuable sticky beside the reading area. So, even if the user scrolls down the post, the Subscription Box or any such widget could be fixed in the sidebar. Neat, isn’t it?
This is a great way to make your older posts visible to the users. This ensures more reads and more page views of the older posts. The plugin helps your evergreen content to stay in the spotlight. Rather than your old posts getting buried under the heap of newer posts, if you can make those important posts visible always to the user, I think there’s no way you should not be using this beautiful plugin.
Post a comment below and let’s hear what you think of this plugin. Which sidebar widget are you making sticky or planning to make sticky? Why did you choose that particular element from all the widgets in your sidebar?