Many ad-driven content-based websites have rich right hand columns, used primarily to cross-promote content from other parts of the site or to extend the user journey. The Daily Mail is the classic example.
There seems to be a common assumption that users do not often click on content in right hand columns - a phenomenon that is similar to that of ad-blindness.
My question is:
- what is a proven method to make visitors more aware of the right hand column (in a positive way) without distracting them from the main content, and
- in particular, whether a consistent right-hand column - i.e. the same content shown across different pages and section - actually helps or hinders the likelihood of user engaging with this content