The footer is one of the website sections that people often ignore. You can even come across websites with default “lorem ipsum” content that the owners have not customized, or no content at all. The footer has a lot of potential, though, so you should spend some time to make it good. Your efforts will definitely pay off in the future.

In this article, we will look at why the site footer is important and at some good practices regarding the content you should have in it.

Why is the footer important?

  • It serves as secondary navigation. You can have the so-called fat footer and add various links that do not fit in the site main menu. This way, your site visitors will have direct links to important pages and you can easily display products or services that are worth mentioning, but have no place in the primary menu. For easier navigation, you can organize the links into columns and add a title to each column to make it easier for your visitors to find what they are looking for.
  • It gives more exposure to certain content. People may not look at all the content on a given page, but they often go down to the site footer to check for certain links or information. We will look at some of the things they expect, such as contact information or social media links, for example. Usually, if people open a website, this will be the one of the first places where they will look for such content.
  • It gives you an opportunity to engage your visitors. People usually scroll down fast, especially on mobile devices. Placing a contact option or a CTA button in the footer will allow you to try to engage them even if they have passed most of the site content. This way, they can take action without scrolling all the way up to find the option they need.
An example of engaging your customers in the site footer

As you can see, the website footer can be quite useful, so you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to use it. You should make sure that you meet people’s expectations in terms of the content you should have in the footer.

Here are a few things people expect to find there:

1. Copyright information. If you worry that somebody may copy your content without authorization, you should add a copyright note. This information is always placed at the very bottom of any website, so this is the place where people will expect to find it on your website as well.

2. Privacy policy / Terms. People always look for legal information at the bottom of any website. As you should have a dedicated Terms page, make sure that you link it clearly in the footer. Your visitors should be able to find your Terms of service, Privacy policy or Acceptable use policy easily.

3. Sitemap. While this isn’t something you need, it can greatly improve the user experience of your visitors as it will help them to find any page they need with ease. People often look for a sitemap link in the footer, especially if a given website is large, with lots of pages. A menu cannot include links to all pages, and a search box cannot list the relations between the site pages. This is when the sitemap will come in handy.

4. Social media icons. Social accounts are important for your web presence. Even if you have links to them somewhere on your website, people usually look for links or social icons in the website footer. No matter if you have one profile or you maintain accounts with several different networks, you should definitely have social media icons in the footer. Make sure they are easy to spot.

5. Contact information. You should have a dedicated contact page on your website, but you should also have at least a phone number and an email address in the footer. This is a must for any single-page website, but even if you have a standard multi-page site, people often scroll directly to the bottom of a website to find out how to contact the website owner. The information in the site footer cannot and should not be as detailed as the one on your Contact page though.

6. Awards / certificates. People will quickly notice if your website is secure by seeing a padlock in the browser address bar, but if you want to add a trust seal with additional information, you can do it in the footer. If your company is BBB-accredited, you have some personal certificate/award, or you were rated by a respected media outlet, you should definitely add one or a few seals. Of course, you can add them on your Home or About pages, but if they are in the footer, they will appear on all pages, building trust in your visitors.

There are also elements that you will find in the footer of many websites, although they can be placed elsewhere on the website as well. You will find a few such elements below and you can decide whether to add some of them in your footer as well, based on the layout and the content of your website, as well as your personal preference:

  • Short mission statement
  • List of tags and categories
  • Demo video
  • Testimonials/reviews
  • Search box
  • Calendar with events
  • Latest blog posts / articles
  • Guarantees
  • Map of your location
Many people will look for a Latest Posts section in the site footer

Do not be tempted to add all of them, though, as your footer will look bad if there are too many large elements in it. Choose only the ones you actually need. Some of the above can be added on your home page, in a side widget or in an internal page, so they don’t necessarily have to be in the footer.

Of course, building a good footer is not only about adding content, but also about the way you present that content. We have prepared a short list of things you can take into account to make your footer even better.

  • Open external links in a new tab. While links to internal pages can load in the same tab, external ones should always open in a new tab. This doesn’t look like something important, but it will contribute to the good user experience of your visitors. In addition, if external links open in a new tab, your website will remain open, so your visitors can continue browsing it later. This is important as it does not make sense to spend time, efforts and maybe money to drive traffic to your site and then to send your visitors elsewhere.
  • Make it look good on mobile devices. Most of the traffic these days comes from mobile devices. Preview the footer on smartphones and tablets to make sure it looks good on different resolutions. If you use a fat footer, you may either reduce the number of links for the mobile version, or use collapsed drop-down menus. People should not have to scroll left and write on a mobile device to be able to see the entire footer.
  • Keep it consistent with the site. While you can be a bit creative to make a visually appealing footer, keep the overall design consistent with the rest of your website. If the footer is too different, people may ignore it or may get distracted from your main content. Use the same or similar color scheme and fonts. You can also add a small logo to match the branding in the site header.
  • Add a CTA button. It should be small, but it should be there. If people go all the way down on your website, you should give them one final opportunity to sign up for a newsletter or a service. They may have missed doing that on the home page, so you shouldn’t miss the chance to try to win them as your customer or as a subscriber. The button should stand out, but it should match the overall design of the footer content. The same is valid for any contact/subscription form you add.

If you build your site using our Website builder, you can choose between several footer layouts, which you can edit with a few clicks. A sitemap module, social media icons, a logo, your contact information and a copyright note are added by default. You can also easily choose the size and the color scheme of the footer, as well as a number of other layout options.

There are things you should have in the site footer and things you should do, but there are also some things you should avoid:

  • Copying the site primary menu. It makes no sense to copy the same links and take precious space where you can add either links to other important pages, or other suitable content. The only option to have the same links is if your primary menu does not appear on some pages on purpose (if you have a large video header, for instance).
  • Adding infinite scrolling. If new content keeps appearing as people keep scrolling down, you don’t really need a footer as they can never reach it. The point of creating a good footer is for the site visitors to be able to find the information they need quickly and effortlessly.
  • Overdoing it. Too much content, too many links, too many colors or flashing images can be overwhelming, so people will simply not bother to check out your footer. Your perception about these things may be different from that of your visitors, so you can ask some friends or regular customers to give you feedback if you update the footer.
This is an example of what you should not do with the footer of your website.
  • Using broken links. If any link leads to a non-existing page, people may get discouraged to continue browsing your site. Such a thing will not be good for your SEO either. If you have external links, you can check them every now and then to make sure they still work. This is valid for any other content as well – if you embed some feed or a video, for example, you should check regularly if it loads properly.

In Conclusion

The website footer is quite important as it is one of the site elements that are visible at all times. You can use it as an additional menu (the so-called “fat footer”), as quick access to content you find important, and as an additional area to display a demo video or to engage your visitors with a small CTA button, for example. Nonetheless, website owners often ignore the footer and either do not add anything, or add just some generic content that their site theme may require.

If you want to enhance the user experience of your visitors, you should use the bottom area of your website properly. Along with the links you want to have there for quick access, add your contact details, social media links and legal information, as these are all things people will expect to find there. Depending on the nature of your site, you can also add a demo video or testimonials, for example. Once you are done, make sure that the footer is consistent with the content above it and looks good on different devices. It doesn’t take much time to create a good footer, and your visitors will definitely appreciate it.

Author

I started working in the web hosting business in 2004. My other interests are mountain biking, fine woodworking and raising my kids to be good persons.

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