How Useful Is The Google Reader Sidebar?

I remember when I first encountered the Google Reader sidebar as a fabulous feature on Mark Goodacre’s blog, and soon copied it on my own. I also know that there are people who still enjoy the links they find there. But I’m curious how many readers find those links useful, and how many never (or almost never) know I’ve linked to another blog unless I actually include the link in a post. I know that many more people nowadays (myself included) tend to read the blogs they enjoy through an RSS feed reader of some sort, and in doing so one misses the sidebar and other such features. So it seemed a question worth asking – how useful is the Google Reader sidebar? Or to put it another way, how important is it that I post links that I don’t want anyone to miss in an actual blog post?

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  • Steve

    I know I've benefitted from people clicking on the sidebar. But I also realize that there are obviously many more who click on links within posts. You more than double, sometimes triple, the traffic to my site when you do that — so thanks. :)In truth, for a long time I just assumed the links in the sidebar were simply the most recent that hit your reader, but I've just recently come to the conclusion that you actually personally select the links that appear there, which means that I'm likelier to examine the list myself. Am I correct?

  • Levi

    i check it everytime i view your page.

  • James F. McGrath

    Thanks – this is helpful. Steve, I do indeed share only things that I think are worth passing on – nothing goes in there automatically.

  • Trevor

    1. I discovered *your* blog through Goodacre's sidebar.2. Your sidebar is the second thing I check every time I visit (after counting how many new posts you have written).3. Almost every blog in my bookmarks got there because I first encountered it through your sidebar. I think the exceptions are blogs which Mark noted before you did :-)4. Don't kill the sidebar!5. Please!!

  • James F. McGrath

    Hi Trevor! Thanks for the input! I have no intention of killing the sidebar – since I'm using Google Reader, I can't see any reason to sstop hitting the 'Share' Button in the foreseeable future. I'm mainly trying to find out whether there are a lot of readers don't benefit from it, because if so, it may incline me to make the extra effort to mention an interesting post elsewhere in a blog post of my own.

  • Beyond Words

    Yours is my favorite google reader. I almost never read my own rss feed anymore. If a blog post is not on your reader, it probably won't interest me….

  • Porlock Junior

    A contrary — not antagonistic — view:I try to read far too many blogs, and this makes some of my reading superificial. For example, life is too short to read all of Digby's long and valuable postings. So I mostly ignore sidebars, and am not likely to see the links that are posted there, even though I know from the rest of the blog that most of the things I find there would be good if I looked at them.BTW I don't know where I first found this blog, as I don't with most of the others I follow. This is very unhelpful to a person who naturally wants to build readership, but there it is.