Movie Website Design

How to Set Up a Movie Website Sidebar: For Content

Now that you know how to setup a movie website sidebar for profit, its time we move onto setting up a movie website sidebar for content. Keeping your movie website audience engaged is a good way to lower the bounce rate of your website while raising pageviews. One way to do this is with a variety of content on your sidebar.

The content that comes by default on most website’s sidebars is usually: Recent Posts, Recent Comments, Categories, RSS Feed Subscription, Search, and Archive. These are all good sources for content on your sidebar. Archive can be moved to the top of the site in its own page, in the footer (if you are inclined to move it), if your website’s theme allows it or you can leave it where it is if your site comes with one.

Your Reviews

Many successful movie websites have a section for Recent Reviews so site visitors can easily find the most recent movie reviews they have written. This is advantageous because even if their home page is constantly updated, which it should be, one of the most important sections of their movie website, their movie reviews, are only an eye shift away.

Comments Please

The Top Commentator widget allows commenters on your website to be rewarded for their comments. The widget can be set up so that it shows the number of times that person has commented on your website and provides a hyperlink back to the URL they input before commenting. If the person is a frequent visitor, commenter, and uses Comment “Name” Website Advertising, this widget can be very useful to the commenter and an inducement to visit and comment on the webmasters’ website. I used it on a previous version of one of my websites and it worked. People saw their name ranked, saw the other hyperlinks, and used the widget to visit other frequent commenters’ websites. The other webmasters saw the hits they were getting from my site (or so I imagine if they were paying attention to their referring websites) and were more inclined to comment on my site. The widget is basically a form of free advertising for top commentators on your website that comes with a no follow option.

Deleteriously Social

When I first started out, I had BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog widgets on my sidebar then Google Friend Connect. I got rid of them all. They did nothing for my website except allow my site visitors to see that I was apart of these networks (create a Networks page or something analogous), to see others that had recently visited my website or had clicked a join button. So what? Who cares? The widgets were not driving traffic to my site in anyway. I was basically advertising these widgets and services and getting nothing in return. These widgets are just boxes on your sidebar taking up valuable real estate. They all went goodbye once I wised up. Granted, this is just a personal opinion. It is more-than-likely that some webmasters have gotten some traffic and that they bare some type of content significance to their website. For what I have experienced, they do not.

No Load

Widgets that take time too load on your sidebar should be avoid as they will slow down the loading of your website as well. No matter how great their potential content may be, it is probably not worth a slow loading, troglodyte website. A slow loading site will increase your bounce rate. You want your website running as smooth as silk at all times and as pretty as Silken Floss if possible. Even with the W3 Total Cache Plugin installed and a Content Delivery Network (CDN) implemented, why tax the load time and Page Speed of your website with needless fluff widgets like Buzz Voice, Post Rank, Springboard, et cetera? Generate your own, no load content.

Advantageously Social

Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc. buttons and widgets are all good social content for your movie website sidebar. Why? Because they are popular, millions of people use them everyday. People see content on them and come to the originating site to read more. If they like what they see they may join you on that particular network. If they come to your website, like your content and see that you are on one of those networks, there is a possibility that they will join you on one of those networks.

Facebook has a widget that allows visitors to see the top posts that have been shared from your website. There is also the Facebook Fan Page widget that allows people to join your fan page at the click of one button, if they are signed in to Facebook. Them joining your fan page is their way of saying they like your site, your brand and want to be a part of it in some small way.

Twitter offers a widget that allows visitors to see your top stories that have been retweeted or your latest tweets.

A Digg widget can either show the latest stories Dugg on your site or the all time most Dugg stories on your website.

When one of your site visitors sees one of these widgets, maybe they will see a story they did not know about or are curious about a popular story and click on the story while pausing from reading another on your website. A moth to a flame reaction. This equals more page view for you. Plus if they share your content, it will show throughout their network. On Facebook it will show on their News Feed, on Twitter it will show as a story they have tweeted, and on Digg it will show in their profile at a story recently Dugg by them. Some of their friends or followers will see this, be curious, and come to your site to read more. As Jim Cramer would say: “BOOYAAAH.”

Podcast Listing

If you have a Podcast, list the episodes on your sidebar so they can be easily found, listened to, and referenced. Why go through the trouble of creating a Podcast if it can’t be easily found? You may get Podcast subscriptions out of it as well. We will talk more about Podcasts later. Scout’s honor.

Tag Cloud

Some swear by this for SEO, finding site topics quickly, and easy spidering. People can easily scan it and find a large amount of information by tags quickly but it may make your website look immature, less professional. It may be effective in topic search regards but none of the big boy movie websites use tag clouds. Then again, they do not have to. They are already heavily trafficked. My current theme uses a tag cloud but its hidden under the heading Topics. Some themes do not come with this option. Some webmasters display a tag cloud regardless of aesthetic appeal. Since we are talking about content, SEO, and potential spidering not attractiveness, they can not be faulted.


Recent Polls can also be housed on the sidebar. Polls are a fun way to get site visitors to interact with your website. Here is an example of a poll, though it is not on the sidebar, it could have easily been placed there.

A question for discussion

  • What content have you found to be the most engaging on your sidebar?

Please share those widgets and sidebar elements below.

About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A cinephile who started ProMovieBlogger to educate others on what he had learned through trial and error. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook (, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions.

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