Website footers have grown in size over the years. A large amount of content and navigation in the footer has become standard practice.
But is it really necessary? Do you really need to repeat all those nav links? Do users really scroll down there to look at your contact details?
The answer is yes. Research by the respected Nielsen Norman Group concluded that visitors DO use the footer. It may get less attention than the top of your page, but it’s still used.
- It’s a second chance to convince, or to promote offerings that aren’t be the main focus of your page.
- It’s another chance for hard-to-find content. Users will look for additional links that might be absent or not immediately apparent from your main nav.
- Users will scroll to the footer to find information they expect to appear there, such as contact details, company information or social links. Or perhaps to discover additional or related content.
- Navigation links in the footer are often used for convenience, if the user has already scrolled down there, in preference to scrolling back to the top to find a link.
Keep in mind that a footer is non-intrusive, staying out of the way until it’s needed. So you‘ve nothing to lose by sticking to what has now become website convention.
So, what should you put in there?
Here’s a list of content ideas for your footer and how they could benefit you and your users:
- Contact information – as mentioned above, users have come to expect to find it there and may actually scroll down rather than search for a link in the header.
- Social buttons – these are effectively exit signs on your website, so discreet buttons in the footer are a better choice than the header.
- Main navigation, repeated and expanded – help your users out by not making them scroll all the way back up to the top.
- Testimonials – if kept short, this kind of social proof can work well in a footer. Include a link to allow users to read the rest of them.
- Awards – you can shout about your accolades on every page by placing a badge in the footer.
- Logos or links to sister sites or other brands within your group.
- Newsletter signup forms are a common sight in footers. Users may actually expect to find it there.