You might not have considered your footer when working on your site’s user experience, but it is a piece of the UX puzzle that you shouldn’t overlook. Designers once thought that footers didn’t matter all that much. The truth is that every single part of your website makes an impact. Footers can be used to boost the user’s overall experience.
Footers can use your footer to enhance navigation. Rather than just including copyright information, you can place links to categories and other navigational tools in the footer. In a study of traditional versus mini-sitemap footers, sitemap type footers create more conversions and clickthroughs than the standard footer.
Olark uses a mini-navigation sitemap in their footer. In addition to basic contact information (address and social media links), they also have three categories of links listed. This allows users to find what they are looking for no matter which page they land on. As an added feature, there is a “Need Help?” button so you can contact the company to ask questions.
2. Social Media Icons
Social media is ideal for online marketing and driving additional traffic to your website. In fact, 72 percent of websites place social icons in the footer. There’s a reason for this placement. Some website owners have found that putting these icons higher distracts visitors, causing them to navigate away. With so many site doing this, it’s become a design necessity thanks to universal user experience. Adding them at the bottom of the page allows you to keep traffic on your page while still displaying where you have an active presence on social media.
Consumers often turn to reviews when deciding whether or not to buy from a brand. When you realize that consumers trust reviews by 12 times more than product descriptions, you realize just how vital reputation management is. First, make sure you offer excellent customer service and get on top of any complaints immediately. Next, you can link to reviews in your footer or provide a few featured testimonials.
4. Mobile Footers Matter
Some designers think that mobile sites should lose the footer entirely. However, this isn’t always a good idea. A mobile footer can be quite useful when people use it to swipe to get to a CTA or more information. Also, many consumers scroll to the footer looking for contact info for a business they want to visit. Adding a working link to get directions or to phone your company is a smart idea.
The Methodist Church of Norway has a footer that features easy to find contact information no matter how you’re accessing the site. It is quite easy to find the phone number and address so that you can contact the church or get directions to the main office.
5. About Us
Perhaps you feel you shouldn’t clutter up your top navigation bar with an “About Us” option, but you still want potential customers to know who you are and what you stand for. In those cases, placing a link to more information about your company in the footer is a smart move. Visitors can learn more about you, which can add to a higher degree of trust in your brand. Once you tell the visitor your story, you are much more likely to turn him or her into a customer.
6. Login Links
Some sites have member only areas or allow visitors to login so that all their stored information can be pulled up. The footer is a great place to add this link, especially if you have several different member areas. You can also include a general login link at the top of the page, of course.
Amazon is the perfect example of this type of technique for the footer. There are many different categories of products and places to visit on Amazon, but the site also has areas for members to log into if they want to sell on the marketplace or publish books or if they’re an affiliate. By putting these links in the footer, it keeps the page from getting too cluttered above the fold.
7. Call to Action
The footer is a smart place to put a call to action (CTA) button, particularly if you are trying to convert visitors into subscribers. Popups tend to irritate site visitors, even though they can be effective. However, putting the CTA for signup in the footer allows the visitor to choose whether to focus on it. Out of the top marketing sites on the Internet, 24 percent add an email signup to their footers.
8. Search Function
Sites tend to put the search function in the header, but the truth is that adding a search function to the footer makes a lot of sense. The visitor has likely scrolled down your page looking for a link to the area she wants to visit. If that link isn’t readily available, she then has to scroll all the way back up to the top to do a search. Unless you’ve placed a search feature at the bottom of the page, of course.
Don’t Overlook the Footer
The footer isn’t something to overlook. If you want your site to get the most conversions possible, then it is vital that every single element on your page draws the visitor in and has a specific purpose. These are just a few of the things you can do with your footer to make it stand out.
Lexie is a digital nomad and web designer. When she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.