One of Novel Publicity’s advice pages (http://tiny.cc/zymxk) entitled ’10 tips for creating a blog sidebar informs without overwhelming the reader’, as it would suggest, is aimed at bloggers but really applies to any writer (with or without a blog) and their writing.
1. ‘Only include content that is relevant to your blog’ = does every sentence/paragraph move the story on? Provide character development etc.? If not, take it out.
2. ‘Put the most important content at the top’ = don’t info dump at the beginning but provide a hook and filter in information as the reader goes on.
3. ‘Don’t clutter your blog by including redundant content’ = don’t waffle, especially in poetry, short stories and flash fiction.
4. ‘Use a simple drop-down category menu rather than an archive’ (is both overkill?) = don’t use flowery language (‘purple prose’).
5. ‘Make sure the widgets fit in the designated sidebar space’ = if you have a word limit, stick to it or you’ll get disqualified.
6. ‘Make sure to include links to subscribe to or follow your blog’ = most writers write for an audience (well, for themselves mostly but then to an audience). It’s no good leaving it in a drawer, unless it’s a first draft and you’re leaving it to marinate.
7. ‘Include a visible link to your RSS feed’ = if you write something good hopefully people will want to read more of your stuff.
8. ‘Include buttons to follow you on Twitter and like you on Facebook’ = if you write something good, tell people about it.
9. ‘Include a copyright’ = your writing is precious, don’t let any Tom, Dick or (Prince) Harry claim it’s theirs or forward it to all and sundry (Prince William/Princess Kate-to-be when they’re not sunning themselves on their honeymoon).
10. ‘If you include a blog roll, keep it minimal’ = less is most definitely more. Writing, whether it’s prose or poetry = a tidy house; everything in it’s place, and a joy to behold.