Don’t underestimate the power of your sidebar – it is among the hottest areas on your blog. Here are some elements that can be helpful to include in it:

Site Search
Allows allows your faithful, long-time visitors easily find information they have seen in the past. It can also function as a link-building aid, bringing back old posts to life.

Site Introduction
This will allow you to personalize your blog up-front, but don’t forget to include an expanded About Us section.

Contact Information
Because blogging is all about building relationships, don’t hide who you are. This also lets visitors know how to easily reach you (consider adding a contact form to make it even easier).

Blog Categories
Blog categories help to relate what your blog is all about. And as more and more articles get created, it can help to establishes credibility.

Popular / Recent Posts and/or Comments
These lists can show off creativity and promote linkabait. They are great, especially for the first time visitor, and help with internal exploring and keeping the conversation going.

RSS Buttons
RSS buttons help visitors to add your blog to their feeds. A steady increase of RSS readers is a good indicator of success.

Other Projects/Blogs
Enntrepreneurs can take advantage of a sidebar to link to other projects, as it can be a good way to quickly promote your secondary or primary businesses.

Fun elements

  • Polls
  • Newsletter Signup
  • Reading Lists
  • Store Link

Other Possible Additions
While these have their supporters and detractors, they may help with search engine / site navigation and we list them as ideas.

  • Blogrolls
    Not perhaps for corporate blogs, yet they provide a great way for readers visiting related sites. It can serve as an excellent link-building strategy as referred traffic is always encouraged. You can also be liberal with your outward links in your posts and/or have a links page to create a similar effect without a list that may become unwieldy or outdated.
  • Archives
    While date based archives are not the best way for visitors to explore your site, they allow search engines to find every page on your blog quickly. You can also achieve a similar effect with a sitemap or with categories.
  • Advertising
    Done tastefully, ads in the sidebars can be a nice way to add contextual advertising or affiliate programs here.

Remember to re-evaluate your side bar every few months, if it is cluttering your site – it’s time to cut some elements.