Lately, I've noticed some blogs that have been infested with widgets. In the worst cases, the widgets slow down the page loading time so much that I just leave. I'm not talking 5-second delays here. I'm talking 15 seconds or longer, which is an eternity when you just want to read something.
One particular blog I'm thinking of uses a three-column design similar to this one. Widgets line both the left and right columns. The blog has good content, but I never visit it. The widgets keep me away.
Remember: People visit your blog to read it. They do not visit to look at widgets.
Take a look at your blog with a critical eye. Is it adding value to your blog or to your readers? If not, delete it. Is it causing your pages to load too slowly? Get rid of it.
Some widgets are useful. For instance, the MyBlogLog widget I have on this blog is a form of social proof. It demonstrates that people read my blog. And it gives MyBlogLog members an incentive to visit frequently. (Their photos appear on my blog, which draws some traffic to their own blogs.)
If you do have widgets on your blog, it is better to place them in the right-hand column because of how most blogs are coded. You'll notice my left-hand column has fewer items than my right-hand column. This speeds up page-load time.
After looking at my own blog design, I got rid of the list of Amazon books. They only generate about $10 in commissions a quarter. It's negligible. So I deleted the list. It's one less distraction, and it keeps more of the focus on the blog posts (instead of the books).
What will you delete to improve your blog?