Often neglected by web designers, website footers are nothing less than a stop point where users can decide if your website is valuable to them or not. There’s no too much scrolling, when it comes to reaching the bottom of a webpage, users will find it and extract the most of it.
What to integrate in a website footer?
First, let’s see what elements should be integrated in a website footer. Consider one or more items from the ones listed below, and carefully decide what to include in your website footer. Research has found that improving the website footer can lead to as much as a 23.77 percent increase in conversions.
We’ll take these elements one by one:
The copyright notice, although not mandatory, is still a must-have for any website. It is a notice that helps preventing copyright infringement. In case any of the website elements is copied, the person having stolen from you cannot claim ignorance. Footers containing only the copyright notice have a simple, yet elegant presentation.
The copyright notice usually includes the © symbol (copyright symbol), the year of publication and the name of the copyright owner.
- Terms of service
Terms of service can be enforceable, through the browsewrap and clickwrap methods. The browsewrap method refers to the inclusion of the Terms of Service through a link in the website footer. The clickwrap method, however, refers to placement of the terms of service in forms, i.e. when users try to create an account. When they click “Submit”, they also have to agree to the terms of service of that site.
- Contact, address and business hours
One of the most important elements in a website footer is contact information. If people like what they see on the page, they will want to further get in touch with you. Leaving a phone number, email address and physical address in the footer will help them a lot.
Sometimes, it is also recommended to include a map for simple geo-localization as well as what what business hours a company operates.
All you need to do is transmit that you are findable through some points of contact, easy to be identified in the website footer.
- Social media buttons
It is best practice that you should place social media icons in the footer of your webpages. You want your visitors stay as long as possible on the site. And you will want to direct them to other places/groups only after they have taken into consideration the whole information presented on the website.
That is why putting social media icons in the header or body of the page is not quite recommended. However, when placed in the website footer, they make your visitors dwell longer with your business (event if somewhere else online).
Widgets are small applications that can help you insert different pieces of content into the website footer. Some examples include Calendar, Archives, Categories, Recent Posts, Recent Comments… and the list continues.
Below is an example of footer with widgets included:
Some might want to include a description into their website footer. Or some links with short presentations of what characterizes the business. The above example is representative of a website presentation placed in the footer. Here is another example – with links to short presentations of a business:
- Search box
It might be useful to include a search box in the website footer. Users might not have found what they were looking for in the page body; when they hit the page bottom, you offer them the possibility to perform a specific search for the item they are searching for. This is a sign that, although they reached the end of a page, they have not reached the end of the website. They might navigate further into the website and consult the needed information.
- Subscription option
It’s common practice to put an email signup form in the website footer. Users that find helpful the information in the website will be inclined to subscribe to a newsletter, when they find this option in the footer.
It is recommended that you include a clear CTA in your website footer. Now it’s time for you to take action. Don’t let this moment pass by, and invite users to further exploration, like in the example below. CTAs might well increase conversion rates, by helping undecided users to make up their mind, in favour of a product/piece of information/service, etc.
What inspires your website footer?
With the elements listed above, you can make a mix of visual and writing that leaves the users with certain impressions about your website.
So, what does a website footer inspire in the readers?
- Reviewing the website
A quick glimpse back into the website can trigger stronger connections of the users with that website. An overview of the most important pages/information, in the form of a short list of links, can go a long way in further engaging the users.
- Continue navigation within the website
Sometimes, the footer can be so intriguing, that it doesn’t let the user go. It invites him/her to continue navigating within the website, and find the answer to a key question: is this website appealing to me? What do you think about this:
- Action (contact, CTA)
An encouragement to take action (be it directly or indirectly) can well find its way into a website footer. Shell invites users to perform a certain action, based on their profile and in a very elegant manner:
The centered column briefly asks “Can we help?” and gives the list of possibilities to act upon the situation that best describes a certain user.
- A sense of belonging to a community
There are different ways a website owner can design their footer to express this feeling. In the example below, the designer does this visually, by expressing in several colourful graphic elements the atmosphere in a certain geo-location, at a given time.
By respecting a certain hierarchy of information, and grouping links accordingly, a website footer can give the impression of being organized, neat and clean, and ready to be explored. This is what the example below conveys when being scanned by users already reaching the website footer:
A good-looking footer has all chances to look professional and transmit that there are no superfluous items in the dedicated space. No items are redundant, and everything is well placed to transmit the values inherent to the organization.
Most popular types of website footers
Below you can find the most popular types of website footers, learn when to use them, and what they do for your website.
There is a general trend in web design that encourages the creation of footers with plenty of elements and information. Why this?
A study revealed that, although the most-viewed space of the page is placed above the fold, the most-engaged users are those that spend more time and engage with the website more at the bottom of the website. The below the fold space is thus viewed for nearly 3 times longer than the above the fold space.
Joulefinancial.com offers plenty of information in its footer, making it easy for visitors to find contact data and plunge into more educational info provided by the site.
Sub-footers let website owners add a secondary level to a webpage footer. Information that is necessary, but which website owners do not want to showcase in a specific way, can be placed into a sub-footer.
Copyright, social media icons or subscribe buttons can be arranged under some useful site links and any other valuable information.
Demicreative.com has a plain call-to-action, when inviting users to “Give us a shout”. The invitation is followed by the mail address and the phone number, facilitating people to “give a shout” regarding their brand. The blue background is reassuring and professional, smoothing the way these people can enter a collaboration with Demicreative.
Bluestag.co.uk also has a clear call-to-action, “Hire Us”, followed by the contact details. The phone number and the email address are clickable and ease the contact process for all who are inclined to “hire” Bluestag.co.uk.
Socialtriggers.com has a more obvious call-to-action. The traditional CTA button is outstanding – in the website footer, by its placement and its salient color.
Emaildesign.beefree.io is another example of CTA-focused footer. After having consulted the webpage, people are more inclined to select the services the company provides. That is why the button saying “Take me to the Bee Mail Editor” invites people to try the service of the company, even from the website footer.
“About Company”-focused footer
Social Fresh only has a link in the menu, towards an “About us” page. The rest of the homepage is filled with articles that consolidate their competencies, so the need to find out more about the company might arise when reaching the page bottom. As a result, they included a short description of the company on the left side of the footer, for people that are more interested in their activity.
Wpbeginner.com has a similar footer, with some space dedicated to a description of the company. It addresses people who have been interested in one article, and who are afterwards interested in finding out more about Wpbeginner.com. Based on how convincing the description is, people decide whether they mark the website as a point of reference for future related searches.
Sitemap and links at the center of the footer
This footer example for our Mesmerize Fashion website demo was designed to be rich in links, presenting the organization and the latest posts published on the blog. They are structured according to a simple hierarchy, to meet the standards for cleanness and avoid clutter.
Nytimes.com has a footer that lists all the categories and subcategories of the journal. A great part of it is filled with links towards those categories. After people consulted some articles directly from the homepage, they can easily switch, from the footer, to a different section and browse the articles corresponding to it.
Webflow.com/ecommerce lists a wide range of products/services destined to designing online stores. You only have to choose from the different segments of offerings, and you will be taken to the page presenting those offerings in detail.
Copyright and usage-focused footer
There might be such a thing as a simple footer. It only includes the copyright notice, with no other information added.
Contact-focused website footer
Bluefountainmedia.com has a footer which is rich in contact information: maps for geolocalisation, offices addresses and headquarters address are included. In the background, a suggestive image seems to invite people to get in touch with the company’s team.
Social media-focused website footer
As obvious as the space for newsletter subscription, social media icons invite users to follow “Guerlain” in social media and contribute to the company’s community.
Footer that keeps people wandering in the website pages
The footer of the Ebay website offers links that urge people to stay on site and wander about, exploring for more.
No footer at all
The idea of inexistent footer is correlated with infinite scrolling. It suits some websites with lots of user-generated content or newspapers where new articles are presented one group after another, endlessly.
A good example of this is Mashable.com:
To put it all together
The website footer is not to be neglected. According to research and different studies, it is a favourable place to capitalize on to increase conversions. Depending on the website type and the objectives of each page, the footer might include different elements of use for the visitors. The only thing you have to do is choose the RIGHT elements to put in the website footer, and organize them according to a clean structure, easy to browse and take benefit from.