When I first started blogging, I thought my sidebars were a place for "flair," similar to that worn by "Joanna," in the movie Office Space (played by Jennifer Anniston, pictured, right). I figured the more the better. Soon I learned that all of those nifty little badges, buttons, widgets, scrollbars, and links were causing my blog to "leak page rank." All of that "flair," can slow down the download speed of your blog, which can also affect your page rank in Google's new "caffeine" algorithm.
Bottom line: The links in your sidebar appear on every post and page of your blog or website. That means they are helping the page rank of the sites you are linking to, but they are most likely hurting your page rank, and slowing you down.
All of these gizmos also give your blog a very amateurish and "dated," look.
So, I encourage you to bite the bullet and ditch the flair. Can't bear to part with your flair? Try first moving it all to a page or post, called something like, "Blogroll," or "Sites we Recommend," or "Blogs that have Linked Here" (assuming that's true).
B-b-but...I'll lose all of my blogger friends, you might be thinking. Chances are, your blogger friends have already figure this out, and are not linking to you, but if you want to be safe, you can always e-mail those friends to explain what you're doing and why. You can also put a link to your new blogroll/flair page in your sidebar, for anyone who might be wondering what happened to a specific link.
The space in your sidebars should be reserved for internal links (links to your own blog), and for PAID advertisers.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.