Why I love website footers (and what you can put in them)

by on February 11, 2014

Why I love footers

A website footer does not just have to be some little bit at the  bottom of your website where you stick in your legal links and then forget about it. It can be so much more!

Footers, while of course not as important as your header and main content sections of your website, still have a role to play. Many web surfers (I know I’m one of them) look to footers for quick and pertinent information on your business, be it your Facebook page or what time you’re open. I know that if I don’t see what I need at the top of a website, I immediately go to the bottom of it.

Haven’t given much thought to your small business’ website footer?  Well, it’s time for a pedicure.

Here are some of the reasons that I love footers…

Great for optimization

A footer is a great place to include keyword rich information about your business in a very natural way. I often suggest to clients to include a little about blurb in the footer about their business. You can also list out your services or your products, maybe even including links out to them to act as a small bit of alternate navigation if this makes sense with how your site is organized (but please don’t take this too far! Read below).

Footers are also great for local SEO. As a local business, it absolutely makes sense to include your contact details in the footer. For local SEO purposes, you want your full address (don’t forget postal code and of course your city and province/state/country!) and phone number. This is not only helpful to your website visitors (you want them to either contact you or come to you right??) but is a very natural way to include location indicators to search engines. Anyone that’s done any local SEO knows that it can be challenging to work in location indicators in a way that isn’t spammy. Putting them in your footer is just right.

Speaking of being spammy, if you have (or are considering) a website footer jam packed full of as many keywords and links as you possibly can stuff into this poor little website section, please ditch this attempt at gaming search engines right now! It doesn’t matter if you think that people won’t see this bit of sneakiness (they will by the way, a footer is not invisible, and if you have invisible content on your website, lord help you and please call me right away – you need some serious assistance!!), search engines are savvy to this kind of thing by now, we know that.  Genuine and actually helpful is what we’re going for now with SEO. A link to your most popular service. Great. Links to your most popular service using 10 different keyword variations. Crap.

Encourage contact

The #1 most lacking element of most website footers is contact information.  The more chances you have to initiate contact the better, so use your footer for all it’s worth. We talked about addresses above for local SEO, and as a local biz you could also include hours of operation and even driving directions if that makes sense for your biz. Even if you’re not a locally focused small business, you most likely want people to get in touch with you right? So include your contact details! Burying contact information is a big mistake people make on websites (and one of the topics I get into in my free download) – having it in your footer is one way to tackle this problem head on.

If you’re active on social media, your social buttons or even potentially plugins that show your latest tweets or Facebook posts for example, are something else you can have in your footer.

Be helpful to your visitors (+ encourage them to do what you want them to)

As we talked about above, some call outs to your services, or some brief “about” information, is a great and helpful thing to add to drive home to anyone who ends up in your footer that this is who you are and what you do. Think about other ways you can be helpful. Is your site huge? Maybe a search bar would be handy here. Have some awesome content or a great resource to share? Include it!

Which leads into my next point – you can also use your footer to help direct visitors to where you want them to go (which is helpful for you and helpful for them because you are solving a problem for them). So if it’s your awesome e-book, a sign-up for your newsletter or a mini-contact form, include what’s important. I want my website visitors to dig into my blog, so I’ve included my latest posts in my footer.

Exercise a bit of caution here before your footer starts to get too heavy. I’ve seen footers so big they take up half the webpage, looking more like a sprawling sitemap of every single possible page on a website. To me, this is a turn off, an eye sore, an “eek, this website is too complicated” kind of feeling. You want things to be clean and organized. Your footer isn’t a free for all. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

What do you have in your website footer? What are you going to add after reading this post? Let us know in the comments…

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