The sideblog at Abduzeedo. A sideblog is a mini-blog that sits in your sidebar. The entries are only ever short snippets, and you can post them on anything you like.

They could be personal updates, like Sil does with Twitter, link recommendations like on Abduzeedo, or even blog updates.

They are very common on personal blogs but not so common on others. I’m considering adding one to Pro Blog Design though, and I can think of a few good reasons for a blog to have a sideblog.

Why Use A Sideblog

  • More frequent updates. Whilst some blogs update multiple times a day, most don’t. Your blog may only update every 2 or 3 days, which means that there are 2 or 3 days where the only new content from you is in comments. A sideblog breaks up these inactive periods.
  • More personal. Sideblogs would work for bloggers who love to be themselves, but still work hard to retain their professionalism in their posts. A sideblog is a good way of showing a little more of yourself (e.g. through recommendations), without compromising the quality of your articles.
  • Encourage RSS readers to visit. Some of your most loyal readers may never actually visit your blog. A sideblog (Which is separate from your main feed) would give them a reason to check in every now and then, which may lead to them adding comments, or even ad clicks.
  • Posting quick updates. You can probably think of a time when you had a thought/update you’d like to share, but it wasn’t substantial enough for a full post (e.g. “A guest post of mine just went up on xyz”). Sideblogs give you a place for those thoughts.
  • Spreading the love. Can you empathize with this situation? have many blogging friends now, all of whom write great articles. They rarely relate to my topic though, so I can’t link to them from my blog. With a sideblog I could be a little less stick about where I link to, spreading the love.

Why Not To Use a Sideblog

On the flip side of course, there are reasons not to use a sideblog.

  • Take up a lot of space. Even though the update are short, they still take a fair amount of room. You’ll need a good reason to justify the added clutter.
  • Easy to go over the top. It is one thing to start out only posting snippets about your blog, and the odd recommendation. It is a different thing altogether for that to develop into a stereotypical Twitter feed on your professional blog.
  • One-way interaction. Unless you use a social service like Twitter or Pownce, there is no way for your readers to reply back to you (Short of sending you an email). This may suit you better in some cases, but it does run counter to the community nature of blogging.

There has been a lot of talk lately about social media profiles, and about tumblelogs. Are sideblogs a good alternative to these?

And for the regular Pro Blog Design readers, should I add a sideblog to Pro Blog Design? I’m leaning towards it now because I want to share more links, and to largely replace the “Weekly Wrapup” sections with shorter, more timely, update snippets.

The downside is that I would most likely remove the Top Commenters widget, to stay uncluttered. Perhaps just linking to a separate tumblelog would be better then?

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