If you’ve been reading the Web Essentials series, you already know how important sidebars are and what they can do for selling your art or getting visitors to take an action you want. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about how to making your Sidebars irresistible to your audience.

If we go back to my original analogy that your Sidebar is like a pamphlet stand at a hotel which helps to inform visitors about things on your website they didn’t know they wanted to see yet, then the following are a few good things to include.

A “New Here?” Link

Having a button that guides a new visitor to something important about you will help to direct a visitor who is a little lost and overwhelmed. If you’re a filmmaker, this is probably the About page for your film. If you’re a musician, this is probably your Bio. If you’re a photographer, this is likely your About page.

But no matter what kind of art you do, you can go one step further and create a page that is specifically designed to orient your visitor.

For example, musicians can create a page that has a little bit of history about their work, links to their latest albums and an invitation to read their most popular blog posts. Photographers can create a page that has links to their favourite shoots, some testimonials and a link to their services page.

It’s basic orientation, but it’s very useful at keeping people on your site and hopefully buying your stuff.

A Link to Your Free Resources

Now, you might be saying, “I’m an artist, not an infoproduct provider, what the heck is a free resource?”

That’s an easy one, actually. You may not be giving away a free e-book, but you’re still giving something away. That thing might be the trailer for your work, or the ability to listen to your music (or even a free download), and if you’re a photographer links to your “How to Choose a Photographer for my Wedding” and “Best Portrait Poses” posts will do just fine.

The point is, simply because you don’t make a product you can (or are willing) to give away doesn’t mean you don’t have free resources. Link to them in your sidebar to increase visitor interest and visit time.

Links to Your Products and Services

I mentioned this in the Web Essentials series, but it’s so important I’m mentioning it again. It’s huge. If you tell people about what you do, you will unquestionably increase the number of people who see them, click on them and potentially become customers.

It’s very simple math.

Links to Places You’ve Been Seen

There are few things that matter more to people surfing online than whether or not other people like them. In some circles this is called “social proof”, but in my world this is called “not wanting to be the first person to dance at a party.”

Showing people that you have been featured in other places online or off will increase their opinion of you and this will absolutely improve their chances of hiring you/buying your music/watching your trailer (and hopefully your film)/buying something from you. Be sure to include them in a way that feels good to you, since artists seem to always hate showing off their promotion.