Jason shares a few good reasons NOT to include a sidebar next to your blogs. I'm curious if anyone else has tested this and is willing to share some conversion metrics.
Sidebars can have their purposes, but in most cases there is probably a better way to give your users the same functionality and create better conversions. The post + sidebar layout is fairly common across WordPress themes. With widgetized areas allowing site owners the ability to add all kinds of functionality, ads, Twitter feeds, and more along the side of their site.
Often times at the expense of pulling the users attention away from the content they landed on the site to view in the first place.
Typically sidebars are used to drive users to additional content or serve up ads, if that’s your revenue stream. But you also want users to view your content. Not bounce off to a third-party advertiser, right?
Sidebars distract users from your content
Most sidebars are going to be laid out at the top of your page alongside the beginning of your content. Best case scenario: Someone reads your entire article and scrolls back up to view your sidebar.
Just kidding. That doesn’t happen.
So rather than showing your user related posts in a sidebar before they’ve even read the current post, you can add them after your post when a user is ready to move on. Or you can include a link