Footers are Underrated

Let’s be honest, footers are not very glamorous, they’re very utilitarian, and they don’t often look the prettiest and they’re at the bottom of a page, a place we know doesn’t get as much attention as the top of the page. It’s a fact of the web. But I’m here to tell you that footers are the real MVP of so many sites.

OK, I know when you think of photos, the first thing that might pop into your head would be a footer of the past, maybe an entire sitemap or something disorganized and filled to the brim with random links that no one knows what to do with. For example, that random PDF that no one can categorize. Let’s put that in the resources link in the footer. That said, I’m proud to say that footers have come a long way since the early 2000s. They’ve really grown up and here’s why. I think they’re great and severely underrated. First of all, people actually use footers in our studies. People would arrive at the footer and use it for a number of different reasons. They finished reading whatever they were reading, and maybe they were interested in more content and went to the footer. Or maybe they purposefully navigated their expecting information to be there in the first place, or they turn to the footer as a last resort because they couldn’t find it anywhere else on the site. Footers, in essence, act as a guide for users. They’re also great at increasing discoverability of other parts of the site that aren’t as obvious. Global navigations may have certain constraints due to real estate, especially being on responsive or mobile designs. But footers, they allow for more flexibility because you can incorporate different styles and components and expose layers of content that maybe didn’t get top billing. Some examples of what can be included in the footer are subcategories or deeper levels of the site’s information architecture, maybe tasks that aren’t featured in the global navigation, but might still be important for certain user types. For example, information about careers, investor relations, content, customer engagement links or social media accounts, maybe customer service options. They also provide an opportunity to reengage with customers. If a user has made it to the bottom of your site, you can pretty much guarantee that they are interested enough in the content on that page. So when it comes to engaging them further, use that moment in the journey to inform other content that you might offer. Related content in the footer is a great way to reengage customers. That said, you also need to make sure that that related content is truly relevant. Keyword stuffing might lead to content looking a little bit more ad like than truly related. Contextual content is a great option as well. Maybe you have a generic footer that users might use on other parts of the site, but within an article or a product page, there might be certain common questions. Think about what those questions might be and see if there’s an opportunity to answer them in a contextual footer. Look, I know minimalism and flat design is really in right now, and maybe you could technically opt for the bare minimum for your content, the legal stuff like privacy policy, terms of use, copyright info. But we find that functional footers that is more full or fat footers that include navigational links, related content, social links, cetera, they tend to increase engagement with a site much more compared to a minimal footer. Ultimately, it’s up to you how fat or skinny you are. Footer is, but the data doesn’t lie. Footers are here to stay.

Don’t sleep on them. They might be more important to your audience than you think they are.

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