A lot of people still think of a web site footer as a place to put everything that isn’t very important such as “back to the top” link, disclaimers or copyright notices, along with other details which couldn’t be placed in the main content.
These days however, more and more site owners and web designers are realising the benefits of using the footer section to place their sitemap and/or direct links to other pages.
Instead of following what most website do, why not make full use of the footer by adding those all important extra links and some nice design elements to give it the attention it deserves. So let’s take a look at a few reasons why you might want to think about making full use of this often neglected area.
Engage your visitors and increase the time they spend on your site
Visitors often tend to scan web pages as they scroll down, rather than read everything, so chances are the footer is the last thing they see before their next action. It’s also on virtually every page of your site so having a sitemap in your footer increases the chances of visitors clicking through to other pages on your website.
Promote important links in your footer
If you have certain pages you would like to promote but are struggling to find room in your main content area, or you want to keep your content clean and uncluttered, placing them in the footer is an alternative location. You don’t have to list everything, just those important links.
Save your visitors time & effort
Something as simple as having a sitemap in your footer can save visitors time by allowing them to easily move from page to page. It also saves uses a click as they don’t need to navigate to a separate page to find what they need. This is another way of holding onto your visitors for longer.
Improve your site design
Having a sitemap in the footer frees up space in your main content area, allowing more freedom with the design of your page. A footer sitemap also helps to make your site look bigger. If you have a large number of link in your footer, try to place them in such a way as to not confuse your visitors. Splitting them up into categories or sections is a good way of keeping things uncluttered.
Images & Backgrounds
The addition of images or backgrounds to the footer can make them much more visually appealing to the viewer. Making the footer pleasing to look at can give users an unexpected surprise and can help to keep them on your site. Remember to choose your backgrounds carefully however to ensure links and text can be still be easily seen.
Facebook & Twitter plugins
The huge number of people now using social networks means it’s becoming vital to integrate sites like Facebook and Twitter into your website. The problem is that these plugins are often difficult to fit into the sites design style and as a result they can look out of pace on the page. One great solution is to place them in the footer. Not only does this make it easier to fit them in with the design but it also gives visitors another reason to stay on your site, or click through to your Facebook or Twitter page.
Footer contact forms
A simple contact form in the footer can encourage visitors to get in touch after they have browsed your page. Take this a step further by styling your form to fit in with the overall design and colour scheme.