12 Ways to Make Better Use of Your Footer

Filed as Features on October 2, 2007 5:26 pm

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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?

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  1. By Jonathan posted on October 2, 2007 at 7:15 pm
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    Excellent list Randa.

    How about a “Colophon” ? – It’s a great chance to provide details about the “who” and “what” that goes into the development of a site. They make for good reads and they are an excellent way to give credit where it’s due.

    Reply

  2. By BlogsTheme.com posted on October 2, 2007 at 7:18 pm
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    You could sell links and put them in the footer.

    Reply

  3. By HART (1-800-HART) posted on October 2, 2007 at 9:02 pm
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    I like the idea of placing a tagcloud in my footer, instead of the sidebar … I’ve been thinking about moving the MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog faces below there too .. that’s one of the reasons I never bothered with e.g. Bumpzee or other places that have widget with faces on them .. too many faces in my sidebar!

    Reply

  4. By Gayla McCord posted on October 2, 2007 at 10:33 pm
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    I like the tag cloud in the footer idea. I typically look to the footer for additional navigation links.

    I’m not sure I’d feel exactly fair selling links there though.

    Great post Randa. It’s nice to you here on BH

    Reply

  5. By Jermayn Parker posted on October 3, 2007 at 1:50 am
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    Do not know if I agree with duplicating the menu in the footer (just provide an anchor link to the menu).

    IMO adding links, amazon stuff etc is all well and good but it does not change the boring nature of the footer. I fully believe that a footer can be exciting and add the final punch to a well designed website. The footer can either add or break the design.

    Reply

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  7. By David Airey posted on October 3, 2007 at 8:26 am
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    I duplicate the top menu in my footer, except use a different hover colour so it merges with the footer image.

    Like Gayla said, it’s great to see you here on Blog Herald. How did that come about?

    Reply

  8. By Moses Francis posted on October 3, 2007 at 9:00 am
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    Good & timely tip, many bloggers out there are not making full use of the footer.

    Reply

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  10. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on October 3, 2007 at 4:29 pm
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    Nothing like great minds thinking alike. I just published Customizing Your WordPress Theme Footer earlier this week. I’ve long hated that so many ignore their footer in WordPress Themes. It is an invaluable real estate location for all kinds of goodies, especially deeper site navigation.

    Reply

  11. “Repeat the call to action in the footer”October 3, 2007 at 4:49 pm
  12. By Randa Clay posted on October 3, 2007 at 10:32 pm
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    @Lorelle – awesome post. I wish I had seen that before publishing this post so I could have included a link to it. Thanks for including the link here in the comments.

    Reply

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  18. By Talia Mana NZ Reality TV posted on October 4, 2007 at 10:29 am
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    Great tips, thanks. Lots of ideas I hadn’t considered

    Reply

  19. By simon posted on October 4, 2007 at 3:38 pm
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    never really thought about using my footer but i may now consider it…

    Reply

  20. By Josh posted on October 4, 2007 at 10:49 pm
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    I like the idea about the Amazon wishlist. Thanks for the idea!

    Reply

  21. By Fiar posted on October 5, 2007 at 12:19 am
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    I hadn’t even put much thought into the footer. My thinking was that it’s down there where no one looks, but now that I think about it, it’s just below the comment box, and my most loyal readers are likely to look there. I should try some things out with that.

    Thanks for the tips.

    Reply

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  23. By Steph at momshotline posted on October 5, 2007 at 2:45 am
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    Thanks Randa. Great way to unclutter the sidebar!

    My next question is, should we use it to place all the misc items (link backs etc), or make it nice so that people actually would like to scroll down and take a look at the footer. I guess it depends on the overall look of the site, but would love to hear other’s views!

    Reply

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    Thanks for an inspiritional, informative post. I redesigned my footer and really like the results.

    Reply

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  32. By Petr posted on October 11, 2007 at 9:36 pm
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    Great Idea. I’ve always wondered what to use the footer for. The only challenge I’ve always seen is do people actually see the footer? I always though of putting an ad there, but then I’ve though it useless since most people who scroll down that far. Am I just basing this experience on my own surf habits?

    Reply

  33. By Jenny posted on October 12, 2007 at 4:24 am
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    I like some of these ideas. I think I’ll try some of them and see how they work out.

    Reply

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  37. By Markus Merz posted on November 11, 2007 at 1:31 pm
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    On my website the footer is kind of a link rich navigation website by itself. On single articles some more content is added :-)

    I was inspired by a lot of nice footer articles on the net. Your article is a nice new list.

    Reply

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