What's in your sidebar?

I have gone through so many itterations of my blog(s) and I am always wondering what the heck I am doing.   Sometimes you just have to stop and look at things objectively.

What is the purpose of your blog?
A big question, trust me, but once you know what you're doing, it will make your life much easier.  So think about what you want to share with people? Are you working your way through a life event (preparing for a wedding, moving, or a new job)? Sharing your knowledge in a particular area (what's your niche?).

Once you've decided the purpose of you blog, it helps you focus and understand "your brand".

Now on to your sidebar.  What do you share?
  • Profile pic.  People want to to know who they're connecting with.
  • About you.  Keep it short, this is a quick look at you, your elevator pitch.  Keep the long story of you to a tab.
  • Social Media links. Yes you have reserved your brand name on all social media sites, but do you consistently post on all of them (and if you do I want to know YOUR secret!)?  Connect only the accounts where you are most active.  Think Twitter, Facebook, Google+.
  • Email address.  Don't make people work for it.  If they want to connect with you make it easy.  Sure they could go the extra step to CONTACT ME form, but this way is more personal.  Don't forget to use caution at how you post it.  Use text instead of symbols.  youraddress [AT] gmail [DOT] com.
  • Call to action.  What do you want from people?  Do you want followers (RSS or a subscribe option), to give stuff a away (a must have "How to Tweet" handout) or even a newsletter subscription.
I'm still working on mine.