How to Boost Site Engagement with an Optimized Sidebar

One key task that dedicated blog owners eventually need to address is how to boost site engagement. While encouraging your visitors to engage in discussions by leaving comments and showing them related posts can encourage them to interact with your site, there are a few other tactics that you can implement to increase their involvement even more.

Jetpack offers different sidebar widgets that can help keep readers on your site for longer periods of time, and can even increase your following. On the other hand, too many widgets can clutter your sidebar, which might lead to the opposite effect: poor user experiences.

As such, you need to be strategic about which widgets you add to your sidebar. Today, we’ll review three Jetpack widgets that will present your visitors with compelling information without overwhelming them.

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Boost site engagement with sidebar widgets

With Jetpack, you can use the Social Media Icons, Gallery, and Display WordPress Posts widgets to enhance the ways that users engage with your website.

Social Media Icons

The Social Media Icons widget is a great way to link your social media profiles to your website, and enable your readers to follow you on their preferred social platforms.

Use this widget in your primary sidebar or in any other widgetized area on your site. Once you drag the widget to your sidebar, enter your usernames for the social media accounts that you want to connect.

By displaying your social media pages through icons, you make it easier for readers to engage in conversations with you. This might generate new post ideas while allowing you to interact with audience members in new ways.

Another benefit of displaying social media icons is that your readers (who will ideally become followers) can stay up-to-date on your latest posts, promotions, and other news that you share through your social media accounts. This can draw them back to your site week after week to further read and engage with your content. Readers may even reshare your blog posts, helping you reach more people and growing your overall online presence.

Gallery widget

Another widget that can help boost engagement on your site and keep readers exploring is the Gallery widget. Adding images with a Gallery widget helps to break up blocks of text.

According to the education experts at eLearning Industry, 65 percent of the population is comprised of visual learners, so including images along with text can make it easier for readers to recall what they read in the future.

The Gallery widget can be added to any of your theme’s widgetized areas, and you can select any image in your WordPress Media Library to add to it.

One creative way to use the Gallery widget is to display featured images from your posts, and use the caption area to summarize and link to each associated post. This way, you can curate the best posts on your site and direct visitors where you want them to go.

You can also use the Gallery widget to create a visual index of every post belonging to a particular blog series, or just to the most popular posts within a certain category.

Alternatively, if your blog is business oriented, you can use the Gallery widget to create a roundup of your past projects with descriptions and links within the caption sections.

Display WordPress Posts widget

The Display WordPress Posts widget can be used to present recent posts from any blog or any self-hosted WordPress blog that has Jetpack installed. To configure this widget, you just need the URL for the other blog in question, and Jetpack will take care of the rest.

You can use the Display WordPress Posts widget to reveal posts from an influencer in your niche. This helps position you as an authority figure, as your readers might view you as someone who knows where to find relevant information, and how to stay on top of industry news. For example, if you’re a food blogger, you might link to posts from the experts behind Food Network’s blog, FN Dish.

Alternatively, you can use this widget to link to another blog that you manage in order to further promote your own content. This method works well if you manage several blogs about similar topics that aren’t necessarily suitable to be covered in a single blog.

Boost your website engagement with Jetpack’s help

With the help of the above widgets, you can position your website to be more accessible. In turn, this might help to improve relationships with your readers while keeping them on your site for longer periods of time.

What tips do you have for increasing site engagement? Share with us in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!

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Brenda Barron profile
Brenda Barron

Brenda Barron is a freelance writer, editor, and SEO specialist from southern California. She is a contributor to The Motley Fool and blogs regularly at The Digital Inkwell.

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  1. Stephan says:

    My personal advice would be to reduce the load time of your pages and load time of the event you trigger when enagage the client.


  2. Doug Bardwell says:

    I’d like to use the Gallery Widget to direct people to the respective articles shown in the photos. The only links I see however are to the images themselves – not the article where they are found.
    When I post the url of the article in the comment space, it remains plain text – not hyperlinked.
    What’s the easiest way to have the photo or the comment take someone back to the appropriate blog post?


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