Monday, January 2, 2017

More Than Just an Afterthought: The Power of Your Blog’s Footer

If you think the footer is obsolete and unimportant, you haven’t been paying attention to the trend towards larger footers. In fact, many blog owners and developers are looking at the footer as another place to further engage readers with additional navigation, video content, social media feeds, and more.  

Besides being a new location for housing valuable resources, the footer also contains some of the more boring information on your site. Some of the more standard footer expectations include:

  • Affiliate and earnings disclaimers. This legal stuff is a must have if you promote products for commission, or if you advise people about how to earn/save/spend money.
  • Terms of service. If you have a membership site or sell things on your blog, a TOS page is important. It contains information about refunds, guarantees, and your cookie and privacy policies. Put a link to it in your footer.
  • Sitemap. While not as important as it once was, your sitemap can help readers (and the search engines) find pages that aren’t readily available via your primary navigation.
  • Login information. If your readers need to sign in for any reason, the footer is a good place to put a link or the form itself.
  • Copyright notices. While not strictly necessary (you own the copyright for your work whether you declare it or not) some people like to put copyright information in the footer.

In addition, you can use your footer to get other important information out to your visitors, such as:

  • Social media updates – real-time Twitter and Facebook feeds can let readers know where you’re most active and how to find out more about you.
  • RSS feeds from other sites you own – Help drive traffic to your other web properties by linking to the articles you post there. An RSS feed automatically updates itself, so this is an easy way to create dynamic content.
  • Awards and recognition – Were you interviewed on NBC or featured in the Huffington Post? Add the logos (make sure you have permission first) to your footer for powerful social proof of your expertise.
  • Top comments – Let readers know about active discussions going on with a top comments list in the footer.

Most themes have “widgetized” footers, meaning whatever you end up putting in this section can always be changed later, so maybe a blog makeover is the perfect time to try something different.
As with anything else that has to do with the design of your blog - just because something works for one person doesn't mean it will work for someone else. You have to always be testing and tracking what you're doing, including the footer section of your blog.

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