Have you ever been on a website and couldn’t find what you were looking for in the main menu? Have you ever wanted to buy something from an e-commerce site but couldn’t figure out how to return it? Some users leave because of the frustration this causes and go to a site that is more clear or easy to use. We’ll talk about what a website footer is and why it’s important to the user experience in this post.
Because of this kind of user behavior, your site needs a well-made website footer. Think of a footer as a safety net for users who haven’t been able to find the information they need in other parts of your site. By putting a link to your return policy or contact form on your ecommerce site, for example, you can keep some visitors from leaving and never coming back.
We’ll talk about what a page footer is and why it’s important to the user experience in this post. Then we’ll talk about what to put in a footer, and we’ll end with some creative examples to get you thinking.
What is a web page’s footer?
You might think that it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of time and energy on the page footer because people don’t read what’s below the fold. Most research on scrolling behavior, like the last big study done by Neilsen Norman Group in 2018, backs up this way of thinking. They found that 57% of the time people spent reading a page was above the fold.
But according to the study, people are spending less time above the fold as screens get bigger, designers focus on minimalism, and scrolling becomes more common in general. “People will scroll if they have a reason to,” says the summary of this study.
Since footers help your audience find their way around and give them information, it makes sense to make the most of this space, even though it’s at the bottom of the page. Even though Neilsen Norman Group found that people spend less time looking at a page as they scroll down, you’ll notice that there’s a rise at the end.
This shows that people know the page footer is a good place to look for information, especially when they are looking for something specific.
Now that we know how important a website footer is, let’s look more closely at what goes in this part of a website.
What to Put in the Website Footer
Notice of Copyright
It’s important to know that the only thing you need to know to make a great website footer is what your visitors want. Because of this, there is no exact way to make a website footer. There are some standard ingredients, but it’s up to you what you put in, how much, and in what order.
Let’s look at some of the things you could put in the footer of your website.
- Notice of Copyright
The copyright notice might be the most important part of a website’s footer. In a legal article on Nolo, Stephen Fishman, J.D., defines a copyright notice as “a written notice that a certain work is protected by copyright and that you own that copyright.” The goal is simple: to stop people from copying an image, animation, paragraph, or any other part of your website.
All that’s needed is the symbol (or the words “Copyright” or “Copr. “), the year the website was made or the year of its most recent major update, and the name of the person who owns the copyright. The copyright notice only needs to be on the home page of your website, but it can be on as many other pages as you want. It can go anywhere on the homepage, but it is usually at the bottom.
There are two ways to add a sitemap to the bottom of a page. You can either give many links to different parts of your website or just one link to your XML sitemap.
Creating a “sitemap footer” is the first way to do this. These footers have links that can’t fit in the top-level or global navigation bars of larger sites, or links that encourage people to look around the site. On Grace Eleyae, for example, the sitemap footer has navigation links that visitors might not have thought of when they first got to the site but would like to look into.
The second way to add a sitemap is made so that search engine bots can use it. A link to your XML Sitemap is one of the most important things a search engine bot will look for. Your sitemap is a file that lists the URLs and other information about the pages and media files on your site that you think are most important. Google says that this file is used by search engines to better crawl websites, especially large sites with a lot of content. Because of this, putting a link to this file in your footer is a good SEO practice.
In the footers of your pages is a great place to reinforce your brand. There are a few ways to go about it. You can add your logo, but it will look different from how it does in your header. You could make the font bigger. You could add a picture. You could put your brand’s mission or values below the logo. These are just a few ways you can remind visitors what your company stands for and leave them with a lasting impression.
Bequant, for instance, puts its mission statement in the footer right below its logo. It says, “Pioneering network optimization that improves speed, reduces latency and congestion, and gives full visibility.” So, even if someone didn’t read the About page, they would still know what the company did.