The footer is a too-often neglected piece of screen real estate that is actually the perfect spot for many of the things that are currently crowded into sidebars. But there is only so much space there, particularly if you’re only using a two column theme, and the more things that are crammed in, the more cluttered the blog appears. A cluttered blog can give a poor impression to the reader. Many themes have been released that include an extended footer, and it’s a good practice to put items down there that you don’t want to leave off the site completely, but could perhaps be put in a less prominent spot.
Since you can’t count on everyone seeing the footer, it’s not a place to put items that make your site stickier, such as your “flagship” content or most popular posts. (The exception to this might be sites that only display one post on the main page, as there is a higher likelihood that the footer will be seen.)
Instead consider the following items.
1. Navigation – repeat your nav menu so that readers don’t have to scroll back to the top for the navigation.
2. Badge farm – often blog directories such as EatonWeb, for example, require that members include a link back to the directory through a text link or badge. Join very many of these, and throw in your Alexa and Technorati widgets, and you get a nice little collection going that can look a bit “cluttery”.
3. Flickr stream – if you like to have your Flickr stream on your blog, the footer is a perfect place for it.
4. “Elsewhere” – list other places on the internet where you can be found, such as your tumblelog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or links to other blogs you write for.
5. Blogroll – while this list is often found in the sidebar, some bloggers prefer to limit the list somewhat and place it in the footer.
6. Recommended reading – helpful books that your readers might be interested in, using your Amazon Associates affiliate links of course!
7. Affiliations – the footer is the perfect place for lists of online or professional associations you are affiliated with.
8. Donations – have a PayPal donation button or an Amazon wish list you want to encourage people to purchase from? Include the links in the footer.
9. MyBlogLog/BlogCatalog – these little widgets that give a quick picture of who has recently visited the blog are really more for the blog owner than for the visitors anyway, so why not move them down out of the sidebar?
10. Search box – the search form should be easy to find, somewhere near the very top of the site, but repeating it in the footer is a great idea.
11. Repeat your “call to action” – what do you want people to do? Do you want them to subscribe? Download your e-book? Buy your product? Repeat the call to action in the footer.
12. A great quote – leave your readers with an interesting, thought-provoking or humorous quote.
How do you use your footer? What other things are good candidates for placement at the bottom of a site?