Your sidebar is a valuable piece of real estate. Location, location, location.
Question : What do I put on my sidebar?
Answer : Valuable stuff (that’s a technical WordPress term).
All of us are different and all sites are different so there’s no cookie cutter idea of ‘valuable’ but obviously you put your most important stuff first. You want your sidebar to showcase important information, to lead the readers to take the steps you want them to take, and make it easier for them to find what they’re looking for on your site.
What’s most important for you
Do you want readers to sign up to your feed?
Do you want your readers to share your stuff on social media?
Do you want your readers to see the very latest updates on your site?
Do you want to display advertisements? Or testimonials?
Do you want to offer your reader an easy way to navigate your categories?
Do you want to display an Events calendar?
Even if you use a theme that shows an opening page and the sidebar isn’t visible until a reader goes into your site, that sidebar is still a valuable piece of real estate. Once they’re past the opening page, the sidebar is the easiest navigation for them. Plus, always keep in mind that not everybody comes through the front door.
What works for me
I go for a short, uncluttered sidebar but your choice is your own.
You can use a number of different widgets to populate your sidebar. Just open up your Primary sidebar to drag and drop whatever widgets you want across.
This is where the Custom Menu comes into its own. You can put a number of items on a menu for the sidebar. Categories, for example. Don’t forget to SAVE your menu when you change it!
Experiment, see what looks best for you.