The Science of Designing a Footer

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A few days ago, our Jawad made a showcase of footers. It was definitely a good inspiration but we didn’t get to know the methodology behind creating exceptional footers. Today, I’m describing just that.

Footers were never given their deserving respect, they were the most meaningless part of a website. But in recent times, designers came to realize that it can be a great place to show off their skills, and then later, developers crafted out techniques to make it useful in terms of interactivity and SEO.

Methodology: Designers

Designers believe that properly designed footers balance the website, they work as a complement (not compliment) of the header. A website with a large header can look even better if it has a large footer. Here’s an example:

unique-footer-design

An Image from Showcase of Footers

The designers started to make the footers bigger by using background patterns and repeating the header logo.
By creating large footers, designers had shown a world of possibilities to the developers.

Methodology: Developers

Developers thought to make footers more useful in terms of interactivity and SEO. Let’s take our own Designzzz footer as an example here.
The most visible and important part of this footer is the detailed navigation bar. We can’t place all those links in the header menu, because there isn’t enough space. But in the footer, space in unlimited! This footer menu has increased the user activity and time on site, and these factors have resulted in more members and better search engine rankings.

interactive footer in websites

You can also scroll down see the full size preview 🙂

We have also placed social media links and newsletter subscription form. That further increases our reader count.
Copyright notice is basically a space filler, usually copyright notices are placed in long text lines as wide as the full web page on the very end of the footer. We will also use the same method in future and place something intriguing at its place but until we decide what to place it here, the copyright notice will save the seat. If you have an idea of something to place here, such as a poll or a random freebie, do tell us, we need suggestions, we really do! 🙂

Things you can place in a footer

  • Logo: just duplicate the header logo.
  • Social Media Buttons: they increase your readers.
  • Detailed Navigation Bar: this works as a mini sitemap.
  • Affiliate Adverts: e-magazines would love an extra buck.
  • Contact Form/Contact Info: works great on business sites.
  • Achievement/Bragging Right: an award your company has won.
  • Latest News/Works: if for some reason you can’t place it in your sidebar.
  • Everything Else: of course, if you have a creative idea to put something in the footer, just do it. If it looks good, that’s all we need.

We should remember that footers usually have dark backgrounds whereas sidebars have light ones. So there can be something which theoretically should be placed in the sidebar, but because it looks good on a dark background, you place it in the footer.

Conclusion

Large footers don’t just give you an opportunity to balance the design, they are brilliant for visitor interactivity and SEO. But it should be designed properly, if the site has a small header, a large footer might not look pretty.

It is also a very good idea to fill a whole webpage in the footer, for instance if you place a Contact Form/Request a Quote Form in the footer, you save a whole web page.

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Further Related Readings

Comments
  1. aledesign.it January 23, 2012 at 3:38 am

    For my next site I redesign a new footer. So nice and with more link at social networks. In the last time I build site’s with a good design in the footer..is important…Good article. Thanks

    1. Tayyab December 15, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Glad I was a help. 🙂

  2. Mark Armstrong January 25, 2012 at 7:00 am

    I had been thinking of footers as strictly a place for “About The Author” information. You have expanded my horizon– thank you!

    1. Tayyab January 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      Thanks for the comment sir!

      Well, technically “About the Author” is post footer, not website footer. post footers can include “related posts”, “social media buttons”, “about the author” and so on.
      You’re an amazing illustrator and graphic designer (I’m a regular visitor of your blog), why don’t you do much web design? I mean you should try it!

  3. Hans Mueller August 20, 2012 at 3:00 am

    Hello,

    how about Google and ranking info placed in the footer? I thought I read the other day that footer content is not being indexed by Google anymore. Do you have any knowledge on that?

    Thanks!

    1. Tayyab August 20, 2012 at 5:58 am

      It makes sense not to index footer data, as many websites’ footers contain meaningless linkbacks to web designers, developers, hosting companies etc.
      But Google doens’t tell these things officially so I can’t be sure of that.
      My verdict is that footer should be designed keeping only the visitors in mind,not search engines.

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