One of things that is interesting—probably only to me—is how I changed my sidebar as I continued blogging.
I started blogging in order to join a community. I was reading a lot of blogs—I occasionally commented, but it seemed wrong to be a consistent lurker without identifying myself or having a real personality. So I started a blog, and found I had more to say than I thought.
Anyhow, I think I started out with the Blogroll at the very top. “You don’t know who I am,” it said, “but these are the people who I read, and that tells you something.” A brief About was at the bottom.
Once I had enough posts, and had commented around a bunch with this link, I moved the Categories to the top. “Okay, you’ve situated me as an academic. Now here are the things I talk about.”
When I had been blogging a while, I put the About page linked at the top. “Okay, I have regular readers, who might be interested.” (except it says nothing, but oh well) The Blogroll comes next—“this is the community I belong to, more or less.” Then Categories—“I talk about a lot of stuff—check it out.”
Now I’ve put a Twitter feed at the very top, largely to refresh content for anyone who may be clicking by.
(The use of monthly archives is usually dependent on the template—if the template doesn’t let people page through individual posts, I add archives to allow back-reading.)
See also: The Bitter and the Sweet on “The Ethics of the Blogroll”