Footers are the most underrated sections of a site. But, it shouldn’t be this way. There are 2 main advantages to using website footers:
- helping with website navigation
- helping with SEO, by improving internal links
And if you’re thinking that people don’t scroll that down and that footers are not visible, well, guess again.
A study by Chartbeat revealed that they do scroll. And they’ve analyzed 25 million sessions across the web. More interesting was the fact that many visitors scroll down the page before it finishes loading, which means that no portion of a typical article is viewed by 100% of viewers and the very top of the page actually has about a 20% lower view rate than slightly farther down. This totally shocked me, just look at the graph below.
Now, without further ado, let’s see what we’re going to talk about in this article:
- What can you include in your WordPress footer,
- Footer inspiration,
- How to create and edit your WordPress footer in both the Customizer and Block Editor,
- How you can make footer changes in the theme’s code or using CSS.
Do we have a deal?
What can you include in your WordPress footer?
Here’s a list of things that can go inside your website’s footer:
- Pages that didn’t fit in in your main menu, but you want to make them easier to discover,
- Copyright claims,
- Social media icons,
- Awards and badges,
- Links to company information: about us page, team, career, board of advisors, etc.
- Affiliate and loyalty programs links,
- Latest blog articles,
- Links to resources: blog, knowledge base, courses, podcasts, etc.
- Upcoming events,
- Customer service links,
- Links to Google Play and App Store apps,
- Newsletter subscription,
and the list can definitely go on.
Now, don’t include all of the above, else you’ll end up having a fat footer. Put yourself in the customers’ shoes. What would they find useful?
Now, wanna see some real footers?
Footers to inspire you
- Hubspot (one of the most popular CRMs out there) – they have 5 main footer sections: popular product features, free tools, company, customers, and partners. Personally, I love that the free tools are listed there, it’s a great shortcut. Whenever I do research, if customer and partnership data are not clear in the main menu, I’m so glad when I find them in the footer. It’s a pattern to find partners’ data in the footer.
- Planable (a social media SaaS product) – they place their logo and social profiles inside the footer. Their focus is on product features and resources.
- National Geographic – besides mentioning their main sites, I love that that they have there an option to “Pitch a story”. This is a feature that can be used by most newspapers, as well as sites that accept guest articles. Usually “Write for us”, “Contribute” or “Pitch a Story” are options that show in the footer.
- Patagonia (outdoor clothing) – I love that they are emphasizing on customer care useful links (returns, login, repair, etc.)
- Blue Apron – love the copy here: “What’s cooking”. That’s a nice touch: using a picture to introduce the blog.
- Freshly – uses the footer to show off press coverage. Also, they are placing Google Play and App Store buttons.
- Coachella (music festival) – they manage to use design to drive attention to the footer.
Blink if you made it till here!
In the next chapters I’ll show you a few methods of editing footers in WordPress.
Usually, the footer design is controlled by your theme. If you’re using a paid plan for your theme, there are probably lots of customizations available. For free themes, the options are kinda limited.
Let’s get going.
1. Managing the WordPress footer in the theme Customizer
How to create a footer inside the WordPress Customizer
This one’s easy.
- Log in to the WordPress Admin Dashboard.
- Go to Appearance -> Customize. You’ll be taken to the Customizer of the WordPress theme you have installed and activated.
- Find the section dedicated to the footer.
I’m going to use the SkylineWP theme as an example.
In the settings option you can make the following adjustments:
- change footer background,
- add new columns and rows,
- change the text color,
- decide which elements need to show on mobile devices or not,
This particular customizer has some footer templates available as well. Click on “Choose footer design” to discover them.
Pretty straightforward, don’t you think?
Now, let’s move on to:
How to style WordPress footers in the Customizer
Now, I’ll go more in-depth with the changes you can do to your footer. Customizers can differ from theme to theme, but the logic behind kinda stays. So, even if I’m using the SkylineWP theme, you’ll be able to recognize the process I’m using in other Customizers.
Before getting into the details, I wanna point out some structural elements. Each website section goes inside of a block. There the “About us” block, the “Portfolio” block, etc. Blocks can have rows. Rows get split into columns. Inside columns and rows, you can add other smaller pieces of content called components, in the case of SkylineWP. Such components can be images, videos, lists, etc. These blocks are different from the Gutenberg blocks that we talked earlier.
Now that this is clear (or so I hope), let’s do some editing.
How to make changes to the footer layout?
Let’s start by selecting the entire footer block. You’ll see some editing options on the left-hand side. Select “Layout”.
Here you can:
- adjust the width of your section. Do you want it to go from one screen side to the other, and occupy the whole width of a screen? Or just occupy the theme’s default content width? Usually, for most of the sites, the header goes full width, and the rest of the content occupies a specific percent of the whole area available. This is also valid for the template I’m using as an example.
- adjust the height of the footer. Footer height is important to give enough negative space around footer elements, which will make them more visible, easier to read and therefore, more useful.
- adjust top and bottom spacing, meaning the distance from the content till the margins of the section,
- add a header,
- add new rows.
Our current footer has one row with multiple widgets. If you select the row, the menu on the right will give you the option to add new columns. So, as a rule, when rows are selected, columns can be added. When you select a block, you can add rows to it.
How to change colors and fonts in the footer?
Let’s start with selecting text content in the footer, in the website preview. The moment you make the selection, the text editing options will be available in the Customizer’s menu. Under the “Style” options, select “Text color” to make changes to colors.
If you want to change font-size, font-family, and font-weight, you can do this inside “Typography.
It’s that easy!
From the “Content” option you can make changes to text alignment.
Now, if you want to make changes to the entire footer block text, not in specific footer sections, you can do this inside the “Advanced” settings.
If you want to make changes to the whole website typography, you can select “Edit theme defaults”, under the “Advanced” settings. A second option would be going to the main menu, and select “Typography” under “General settings”.
Here you can make typography adjustments to headings, body texts, links, and blockquotes.
How to change the footer background?
Start with selecting your entire footer block in the website preview. Next, head over to “Style”.
You’ll see several options there:
- change the background color
- add an image, video, or slideshow as the background
- add a gradient background
- add an overlay
Sounds easy so far?
The customizer is pretty intuitive.
2. How to use footer widgets in WordPress
Another method for making changes to the footer in WordPress is by using widgets. In WordPress, widgets are blocks of content that you can add to footers, sidebars, and other areas. These are called widget areas.
Now, you can visualize the widget areas and configure them in the WordPress Dashboard.
- From the Dashboard, head over to “Appearance-> Widgets”.
- In the middle of the screen you will notice the theme’s available widget areas.
Here are the available widget areas for the Skyline theme.
- Use the “+” sign to add elements to the widget area of your choosing. These element are actually called Gutenberg blocks. Let’s select the Footer widget area 1.
- Click on the “+” to open the block inserter.
- You can type the name of a block (eg: Calendar, Categories, Image, Logo, etc.) or click on “Browse all” to better see the available blocks.
- Scroll down until you find the footer element you want to add, or type its name in the search bar.
- Click on the block you need in order to add it to the footer widget area. I’m going to add the buttons block and the calendar. You can start typing the text inside the button.
- If you want to customize the blocks inside the footer, you need to click on them to select them. Next, you will notice a block editing panel on the right hand side of the screen. Each block will have several editing options. In the button case you can adjust the size, text and background colors, typography, border, and more.
- When you’re done, just hit the “Update” button in the upper-right.
3. How to manage WordPress footers inside the Block Editor
Now, Customizers are a thing of the old WordPress experience. But WordPress is now in the Gutenberg era, where everything is block-based.
For the purpose of this exercise I’m going to use the default WordPress theme, Twenty Twenty Two.
When you use the Default WordPress Editor (aka Gutenberg) to design you site, you no longer have the classic widgets or the Customizer.
How to add footer blocks to a page using the Block Editor
Let’s enter a page.
Like I said a bit earlier, the new WordPress experience relies on blocks. everything is a block, from paragraphs and images, to categories and galleries.
The workflow is easy. Start with clicking on the “+” sign in the upper-left to open up the block inserter.
Now, choose a block or type the name of the block into the search bar, then drag and drop into onto the page wherever you see fit.
Now, several blocks can make a pattern, or some sort of website sections. Notice the patterns right next to the block menu item?
These patterns are placed inside several categories. You can see the footer category there as well. Let’s select it.
I’m going to drag a footer pattern to the page.
Now, this footer has several blocks inside: the site title block, the site tagline, and social icons blocks.
Each of them can be edited separately in the block editing panel on the right-hand side. Just click on any block in order to select it.
Each block can have its own customizations available, from text and background colors, to borders and typography.
Now, the options in the Default Editor are pretty basic. And if you really want to build a decent website you’ll need to level it up a bit. You can do this with page builders such as Kubio.
for example, let’s compare button editing in the Gutenberg Editor versus the Kubio Editor:
The button block editing panel inside the Default Editor:
The button block editing panel with Kubio:
4. How to style your WordPress footer using CSS inside the Customizer
We’re back to the Customizer, folks. Still working with the Skyline theme.
From the WordPress Dashboard, select Appearance -> Customize. Next, you’ll have to identify the Settings item inside the menu that shows up. In the SkylineWP case, it’s “General Settings”. Next, select “Additional CSS”.
You’ll see a window opening where you can paste your code.
All the changes that you’ll do will be visible in the website preview on the right.
Don’t forget to hit “Publish” when you want to go live.
Now, let’s say you are no CSS geek but you want to remove the “Powered by WordPress” text that shows up in the footer. You’ll need one line of code for that. You’ll just have to paste it in the white space as shown below. For more comprehensive methods on the topic, the article How to Remove “Proudly Powered by WordPress” from the WPklik folks is as good as it gets.
5. How to edit the WordPress footer code
If you’re unhappy with your current footer and you can’t customize it as you wish, but you know code, then this is for you.
!Important – this method of editing the WordPress footer is the most delicate one.
It is strongly recommended that you don’t make modifications directly in the footer.php code lines. Instead, you should observe one of these best practices:
You should create a child theme and apply changes to the code of the corresponding footer file, in that child theme. Check this resource on how to create a child theme.
You should create a backup of your theme files. In case the theme breaks, you only need to revert to the previous theme version stored in the backup.
Another safe option is to comment on the code in the footer.php file. You don’t need to remove any existing lines of code. Comment the code instead.
Now, let’s see how you can change the footer.php file.
- Make sure you’re logged in to the WordPress Admin dashboard.
- In the left-hand menu, go to Appearance -> Editor. Click on Editor.
- In the list of theme files on the right side, search for the file named Theme Footer (footer.php). Click on it.
- The coding lines will display as follows:
- Now, it’s time to put your coding skills to practice.
And that was it.
This being said, we hope website footer editing no longer has many secrets for you. Observing some best practices and design principles, you should manage to customize your website footer the right way. What is more, you should thus have an additional chance to make visitors remember your website. And get back to it, in the future.
Alina is a digital marketer with a passion for web design. When she's not strategizing she's doing photography, listening to podcasts on history and psychology, and playing with her 2 dogs and cat.