Steve Hodson suggests that your sidebar widgets if done correctly could give people a reason to click through to your Web site: A blogger's secret weapon- the sidebar. I'm not sure how people are supposed to know that you might have something of interest in your sidebar, but that's another story. I know that on this blog, the number of people clicking through to actually read something is somewhere around 5-10% of the readership. Not very many people. Steve asks the question:
When was the last time you looked at your sidebar as a visitor?
For me it wasn't very long ago. I looked at what you were actually clicking on amongst all that crap, and figured out that you weren't clicking on anything. Which is why I removed it all. If you're coming to read, then I wanted to make reading as efficient as possible. All that other junk was just a distraction. I did put back a single link to my ClaimID after a reader suggested that it was important for students to know who wrote something should they want to site it. (Like that has ever happened. :))
Jakob Nielsen in his 2008 usability study tells us:
Web users were also getting very frustrated with all the extras, such as widgets and applications, being added to sites to make them more friendly.
I was glad that I had cleaned it up before having to be told.