Tag Archives: sideblogs

Sideblogs: A Year Later

Around November 2007 (about a year ago), I added a “sideblog” to Webmaster-Source, where I could post “asides”Ā ā€” short updates that were, well, not long enough to merit an entire post. These little postings appear in the sidebar, as you can see (as of this writing).

Now, it’s been nearly a year since I added the feature, and I’ve added a total of 69 entries in the sideblog. I’ve posted updates about downtime, plugins being added to the WordPress/Extend respository, XKCD comics, links of interest, etc there. However, my postings there have slackened over the past months. I’ve been using my Twitter account for what I originally intended.

EDIT: What…? This post was originally three times this length! The majority of it is gone! I doubt I have a backup of it, but I’ll check…

EDIT: No, no backup. The post wasn’t saved properly because my internet connection was interrupted while writing. I’ll try to boil down my long-winded article into a few bullet points, since there’s no replacing the lost data. I doubt it will have the same impact as the full article though. :(

  • I use Twitter a lot.
  • I rarely update the sideblog.
  • Few people (like 3, to be exact) subscribe to the sideblog feed, but I have 420+/- followers on Twitter.
  • I’m planning a redesign of Webmaster-Source. Is it worth filling up a bunch of space just for the sideblog? Between Twitter and speedlinking with my BlogBuzz posts, is there really justification for it?
  • Why not have a small Twitter box in the footer or sidebar (like many other bloggers have) instead?
  • I wouldn’t delete the old posts from the sideblog, but I’d stop cluttering up the sidebar with them.

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Sideblogs vs. Speedlinking

Sideblogs are “mini-blogs” that allow you to share links and write short updates to your readers.

Speedlinking is a method of posting. When you Speedlink, you round-up a collection of links to other blogsā€™ posts that you think would be interesting/useful to your readers.

The question is: Which is better for you?


  • Sideblogs are quick to update
  • Sideblogs are instantaneous. You see something, you add it to your sideblog, and it’s out there for everyone to see. With speedlinking, you round-up your links then publish them all at once every week or so.
  • Sideblogs allow you to post other things besides links.


  • Speedlinker posts show up in you main feed. Sideblog entries generally don’t.
  • Speedlinker posts tend to get a lot of views and linkbacks. Also, everyone likes a big list of links.
  • Speedlinking gives you a break. It’s real easy to write a short list of links, and a few notes about them.

Personally, I like both. I speedlink and I have a sideblog. I use the sideblog for timely links that can’t wait until the end of the week, as well as for quick updates and things that can’t be expanded into a full-blown post. My speedlinker posts, known as “BlogBuzz,” handle the rest of my linking needs.

The Ultimate WordPress Sideblog

A sideblog, or asides as they’re sometimes called, is a great addition to a blog. It allows you to post short mini-posts into a spot in your sidebar.

Have you just hit the Digg.com main page? Give your readers a heads up. Did you just think of an idea your users may want to here? Sideblog it! Sideblogs are great for sharing links as well as posting updates. If you need more convincing, read Why You Should Use A Sideblog.

Let Michael Martin convince you to use a sideblog. This post is about setting one up.

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Using SimplePie For Your Sideblog

I’ve previously talked about sideblogs, or asides as they’re often called. The most common way to setup a sideblog in WordPress generally involves creating a second Loop to display posts from a certain category (a plugin is often used to do this). There’s a downside to that approach though.

If you use the Loop/Category approach, you end up with tons of short, two-sentence posts. That means each of your 347 sideblog entries has it’s own permalink page where 97% of the page is just the single.php template. Google doesn’t really like pages with little “original content,” so you could potentially have a problem on your hands. Even if you’re not that worried about what Google thinks of your blog, you still have 347 permalink pages, which could get in the way.

Here’s my solution:

  1. Create a new Tumbleblog using Tumblr.com.
  2. Use the SimplePie WordPress Plugin to easily put the Tumbleblog feed’s contents in your blog sidebar.

Simple (pun unintended). Now you can post your sideblog entries to Tumblr, and they will appear on your blog.

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How Should You Implement Asides?




Whatever you want to call it, there are many ways to implement the idea. There are different methods of displaying the asides, and there are different methods code-wise of setting them up. Let’s take a look at both.

Styling Asides

“Asides” is a broad term.Ā I think it’s possible to separate them into two types. Type 1 asides act like the ones on Matt Mullenweg’s blog, which intersperseĀ regular posts within the loop. Type 2 asides are displayed separately from the main content, often in a sidebar.

Both types have their own advantages. Type 1 asides are easily noticeable, and are great for those (like Matt Mullenweg) who tend to take more of a “tumbleblog” approach, highlighting links more often than writing lengthy posts.

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