Should you show your Categories and Archives within your sidebar?

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I’m working on a top secret thingamajig and have a question for you all. Plus I am thinking about shortening up the sidebar for Dorm Room Biz some. So, do you feel it is necessary to show your Categories section and Archives sections on your sidebar or somewhere on the main layout of your blog?

I currently have the archives area shown because it was a requirement for a couple different paid review websites that I use, however, as month after month passes, it gets so long! I either want to get rid of it or figure out how to shorten it to say maybe the last 5 months only.

The other area I am thinking about knocking off is the categories section. Do you use it? I know for me, if I was looking for something specific I would do a search on the website rather than utilize the categories on the sidebar. Now having the categories is good for when you want to link from a post to another area of your site (say a whole topic of posts such as business ideas or monetizing websites), but this is also a long list that as time goes on, will probably only get longer.

What do you guys think? Keep them, loose them, or keep one or the other?

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13 Responses to Should you show your Categories and Archives within your sidebar?

  1. Fred Schebesta July 14, 2008 at 1:30 am #

    I reckon lose them. They clog up your site and like you said most people just search via google on your site anyway.

    I also think they count as duplicate copy so you might want to remove them from your robots.txt.

    Noticed you are allowing them still

    “User-agent: *

  2. Chris July 14, 2008 at 1:22 pm #

    Thanks for the comment! It does appear that you can set your archive to be just a drop down menu/listing – this is also a decent way to clear up the space some.

  3. Ellis Benus July 14, 2008 at 4:33 pm #

    You know my opinion. I want to get rid of both. I always default to search… A better option is to make sure you have a good link structure at the bottom of every post, or a dynamic related articles section in the side bar, but keep in mind this would not show up in an RSS reader like the links at the bottom of a post will.

  4. Fred Schebesta July 14, 2008 at 9:30 pm #

    I like the dropdown idea. The related posts thing really decreased my bounce rate and also increase the time on site of my blog.

    (Forgive me for my blogger usage :-P)

  5. Bobby July 15, 2008 at 1:37 am #

    Just some suggestions..

    The dropdown is a good idea for shortening the length that it prints. This way if someone wants to search on any page in the layout, they can without extending the length of your pages more than the content.

    Just think – the space saved is more focus for effective adspace.

    Ad for the usability buffs – make a DRB Index page.

  6. internet 4 money July 15, 2008 at 7:05 am #

    One of the reason why we should put category on our side bar is to make a clear statement for our first reader about our blog topic.
    They (1st reader) will get a clear image on what your blog about just by looking up the category

  7. Ellis Benus July 16, 2008 at 1:45 pm #

    I just found a good article on a new website I happened across talking specifically about side bars on blogs.

  8. Ellis Benus July 16, 2008 at 1:51 pm #

    Crap, I just found two more…
    Should have put them all in one comment,
    sorry about that.

  9. Chris July 16, 2008 at 10:47 pm #

    Great links Ellis. I am going to check them out while at work tomorrow when I get some down time.

  10. Chris July 21, 2008 at 10:36 am #

    Thanks for all the comments guys, I will probably be ditching the categories and keeping a drop down archives menu on the future designs of Dorm Room Biz. It will definitely allow for some more attractive things to be in the sidebar!

  11. TheContestBlogger September 19, 2008 at 9:36 am #

    Have you made your decision Chris? I think you should keep both of them, the drop down archives menu is not bulky and your categories is rather neat for a 3 year old blog.

    I think the categories are important to keep your visitors, especially the new ones, they want to know what gems you have in the depth of the archives. I think keeping it will also help with SEO, sort of having more internal links, with pages linking to one another, although I am not too sure about it.

  12. Chris September 21, 2008 at 6:43 pm #

    I’m keeping the categories and drop down archives for now.


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