Footer Sitemap and the benefits of having one

Soh Tanaka website footer

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.

Some website footer sitemaps and footer designs to inspire you

BBC Website Footer

The BBC website footer makes content easy to find by using simple categories

Branded 07 Website Footer

Branded 07 use a well chosen background image and a styled contact form to enhance their footer design.

City of Grace website footer

A simple design from City of Grace, with clear links to important pages along with social media links.

Design was Here website footer

Design was Here combine links to recent posts with a cool background image and great Twitter plugin

Greg Brady website footer

A perfect example of a BIG footer from Greg Brady. The nicely styled contact form and clever use of images encourages users to make contact.

N Design website footer

N Design have used a nice light background texture with links to the main pages as well as inner pages and categories. A styled search box is a nice touch aimed at encouraging the user to stay on site

Nouveller website footer

The prominent bookmark link and simple Twitter plugin fit in perfectly with this design from Nouveller

Six Apart website footer

The Six Apart website uses a very simple and clean footer sitemap with page links and copyright

Soh Tanaka website footer

I love this footer from Soh Tanaka! The Twitter plugin has been very cleverly designed and looks amazing. Added to this, splitting the links into categories ensures easy navigation for the site user

YoDiv website footer

Another BIG footer and sitemap, this time from YoDiv. A flat background colour and well laid out design allows a large number of page links to be included without things looking cluttered

About Mark

I'm a freelance web designer based in Harwich, North Essex. I've been designing and building websites since 2008 and have gained a wide range of knowledge and experience since starting out in web design. I mainly specalise in helping start up's and smal business gain a web presence although I also create websites for individulas, groups, organisations and larger businesses. View all posts by Mark →

8 Responses to Footer Sitemap and the benefits of having one

  1. Tiffiny says:

    I knew about the majority of this, but in spite of this, I still found it turned out quite valuable. Good blog!

  2. web design says:

    Good post. Sitemaps also enable easier navigation.They allow enhanced visibility by search engines. Thanks for sharing

  3. muefty says:

    Nice website, big imveoprment on previous site and a cleaner look. Like it.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    BBC site has changed since this post but some nice examples listed here. Thanks for sharing

  5. Heidi says:

    I really like your blog. Very nice colors & theme.

    Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz answer back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. Thanks a lot

    • Mark says:

      Hi Heidi,

      Thanks for your nice comments. The site was designed by myself from scratch using the unstyled Starkers theme as a base. if you’re looking to creat your own blob and want a unique look then Starkers is a good starting point.

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