Just because the website footer is at the bottom of the page doesn’t mean it isn’t important.
Your website footer is at the bottom of every page and that should tell you something about its value.
In fact, it is the only website content that you are going to need to repeat over and over again.
Why? Well, put simply your website footer design is your safety net. It keeps users moving through your website and is vital for SEO.
In this post, we’re going to explain why website footers are essential in web design and how to design, build, and create a proper footer for your website.
What is the footer? Do all websites need one?
A website footer is the final section of a website and is found at the bottom of each web page. Normally, the website footer is used to store important information and links that a user might need to assist in navigation.
A website footer does not have to contain all of the information above but most do contain a selection of these themes. That’s because a website footer is the last line in user experience and should act as a safety net for site visitors that haven’t had these questions answered in their navigation of the site up to this point.
All websites should have a website footer. As site owners, it is important to think not just about user behavior but also user expectations.
If a user wanted to get in touch with your business, they would naturally scroll to the bottom of a page as it is expected that they would find the relevant information such as an email address or a contact form in the footer designs.
Yes, the content that you place above the fold is important. Your header should include the content that you want as many users to see as possible such as your main call to action.
But, research shows that website visitors actually spend more time engaged with content below the fold.
With that in mind, it might be worthwhile to place content you want your website visitors to interact with for the longest towards the bottom of the page or even in the website footer.
The role of a website’s footer. Are footers important?
A website footer is more than just a contact form for your business website. A website footer is one of the most important sections of your site because it is the last thing that visitors see.
That your footer provides people with the final opportunity to have every question about your company answered. It is a critical touchstone of user behavior.
Think about your website footer as the last chance to continue user engagement with your website. A good website footer design can launch site visitors back into your website or into further engagement with your brand on social media.
Meanwhile, a footer that doesn’t include all the information relevant to your business goals will more than likely cause site visitors to leave without users having had their questions answered.
Make sure to include a website footer at the bottom of every page, not just your homepage to encourage users to stay on your website for as long as possible.
How to design a good website footer
Website footer design is different on every web page but by and large, most websites follow a fairly standard template.
Your website footer design should include all of the most important links on your website as well as contact information and social media icons so that your site visitors can get in touch.
While including social icons and links is known to be beneficial for user experience many users don’t realize that the website footer is an essential part of search engine optimization in web design.
SEO and website footer design go hand in hand. By placing high-quality internal links in your website footer you can effectively redirect users around your website and improve navigation while increasing time spent on your site.
For the same reason, you should avoid placing external links in your website footer design as this can be harmful to your website SEO efforts.
Check out the way that we incorporate all of our most important links in our website footer design.
By categorizing your links, users will be able to easily navigate to the next section of interest after digesting the important information on every page.
Let’s look at some essential elements of great website footer design that you can use to make sure every site visitor has a great user experience.
Essential elements and best practices in website footer design
Good website footer designs will include the following elements to ensure that every site visitor knows where to go after getting to grips with the main content of a web page.
1. Copyright notice
The copyright notice is probably the most important element to add to a website footer. It marks you as the copyright owner of the content that appears on your website.
It is as simple as adding a copyright symbol, the year of publication, and the name of the copyright holder. While this information can be placed anywhere on a website it is usually less jarring for user experience if it is placed in the website footer.
People expect to find this information in the footer and it is one of the most common elements of website footer design. Ensure that this information is clear and easy to find to build user trust.
There are two standard approaches to adding a sitemap in the footer. The first is to create what is known as a “sitemap footer” where the footer includes links to all relevant web pages on your website which might not have fit naturally in the navigation menu in the header such as in this example from Zyro.
The second approach is to provide a single link to the XML sitemap which users can follow to access the sitemap file where all the most important URLs on your website should be listed.
Search engines use the site map to “crawl” websites and including an XML sitemap link is considered to be best practice for SEO and it is something that you will see in every good website footer design.
If site visitors want to navigate back to the homepage after engaging with your content they will likely look for a home button to take them there.
Add your logo to your footer design to effectively redirect people around your website and increase engagement on your pages.
5. Contact information
Your company phone number, contact email address, and social icons should all be included in your footer. These are staples of all website footer designs and users expect to find this information here. Website design should always incorporate user expectations and not including a phone number or social media links in the footer design is a sure fire way to alienate visitors from your content.
6. Call to action
Depending on the main goals of your website your calls to action will vary. This could be a popup email sign-up form or a link to a landing “squeeze” page.
Outside of navigation links and contact information, the call to action is one of the most common elements of footers.
7. Email signup form
It is increasingly common to find an email signup form in the footer of every webpage.
Standard reasoning follows that if people make it to the bottom of your page then they are naturally engaged with your content.
For that reason, including an email sign up in the footer is considered to be best practice.
Users are more likely to sign up after engaging with a page that has given them value such as an informative blog post. If your content is up to scratch then you should find that including an email signup form in the footer will increase conversions.
This could be something as simple as the cookies that a user has agreed to storing or in more regulated company niches this could include important legal information.
9. Site search tool
Similar to the “sitemap footer” design, including a site search tool in your footer should help users to navigate to the pages that they want to find.
If people have engaged with the content on your pages it is likely that they will want to follow up with additional information.
You can help your visitors to navigate to the next natural point of interest by including a search bar in the footer. While this is traditionally placed in the header of a website it serves the same function at the bottom of the page.
Double down on your company mission statement by including a value statement in your footer.
Visitors will be more engaged with your company values after they have been exposed to content which has added value to their session on your website.
At this point, people will be much more likely to absorb your branding information in a natural way.
Great examples of excellent website footer design
By now you should know exactly what is a footer and why the footer is so important to your website design.
A footer is the perfect place to boost your user experience and your SEO at the same time. Footers require very little in the way of design resources but can have a huge impact on the way that people navigate your website.
Let’s put the theory to the test and look at some footer examples that take the steps listed above to the next level.
Awwwards is a platform that showcases best practices in modern web design. So, it stands to reason that the website itself should practice what it preaches.
The Awwwards footer is split into two sections, the first reiterates the brand values of the website and features the most important links that users will want to follow.
This is a common method that illustrates the broad functionality of the footer. It is neither a part of the website dedicated solely to essential, but not user friendly information, nor is it strictly for redirects but can do both at the same time.
One of the unique aspects here is the inclusion of micro interactions in the form of pop-up notifications on the links which let the user know that there is valuable content behind the navigation link.
Departures footer is clean and simple and makes use of a bold color scheme to draw visitors to the content on the footer.
Using contrast in your color scheme is a simple way to let your users know that their session isn’t over just because they have reached the end of the main body of content on a given page.
It draws the eye and creates an aesthetic break which leads users naturally into engaging with different content on a new webpage.
Aside from the standard links that you will find in every footer, Departures also choose to include navigation buttons to return you back to the top of the page.
This works in a similar way to a logo in the footer and redirects to a place where other essential elements such as a search bar and navigation menu are kept.
It is an easy way to offer your users plenty of navigation options without overcrowding the footer. If you include too many links in your footer it will devalue the link authority and have a negative impact on your SEO efforts.
Carbon beauty has a modern footer design that includes the majority of the essential elements listed above without ever seeming over crowded.
The logo offers users a link back to the home page while social icons make up the only external links but redirect to an appropriate place.
Most importantly Carbon beauty has included their calls to action in the footer. As an online store the most important generator of sales is going to be email sign-ups.
While this isn’t necessarily the most natural place for a signup form, it does ensure that every user has an opportunity to sign up no matter which page they are engaged with.
In the long run this offers new leads for precious little effort in terms of design resources. As stated before, the fact that a user makes it to the footer is a good sign that they are engaged.
Shantell Martin’s footer is creative first and foremost but also acts as a sitemap footer.
If your website offers a lot of different services or products that are of equal value then it is a good idea to list as many as possible in the footer.
In this case the links are separated by category to make it easier for users to navigate to the appropriate one and continue on their journey through your website.