A great website footer will help your website visitors navigate your site, and it will lead to a higher converting experience.

The website footer can easily be overlooked as one of the most ignored components of web design and is usually designed as an afterthought. However what if I told you you’re missing out on a big opportunity if you choose to neglect it?

As a conversion strategist, I look at the footer as an important extension of the top navigation.

The best footers will act as a safety net for your website visitors and help conversion rates by acting as a strong roadmap to the rest of your site. This is important for your desktop experience, but it’s even more important for mobile experiences.

Investing time in creating a “fat footer” may be one of the simplest and most effective methods for boosting conversions, and it won’t even take that much of your time to do.

A common mistake that companies make when designing the header and footer of their website it that they include identical information in both places on the site. This duplicity fails to provide any additional information or value for users.

The question is: How should you differentiate these two areas?

The main differentiator between the header and footer is that the header should be a condensed roadmap of the most valuable pages on your site.

The footer acts more like a “safety net” where your site visitors end up if they’re experiencing difficulty navigating the site and it should contain more indepth navigation and information on your site.

As shown in the example below, the header features the key points on the site that visitors may want to access when they first reach your landing page (service offerings, about us, contact, etc).

The footer is used to offer additional details about the company that you may want to exclude from the header, such as your terms of service, resources or privacy policy.

Header – extracted from a surgical website currently in development
Footer – extracted from a surgical website currently in development

Investing time in creating a “fat footer” may be one of the simplest and most effective methods for boosting conversions, and it won’t even take that much of your time to do.

A common mistake that companies make when designing the header and footer of their website is that they include identical information in both places on the site. This duplicity fails to provide any additional information or value for users.

The 9 key characteristics of a valuable website footer

1. Logo
2. Navigation
3. Contact Details
4. Copyright, Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions
5. Customer Support
6. Social Media Links
7. Company info (careers etc)
8. Call to Action
9. Optional: security and accreditation logos

Let’s delve into each characteristic in detail:

1. Logo

As a general rule, just like your top navigation, you’ll want to use your brand imagery in your footer navigation. This is a great opportunity to associate your logo with the value of your brand once again at the end of the page.

2. Navigation

The footer can be a great place to provide visitors with details about your service offering.

On the surgical website above (currently in development at the time of writing), their footer links act as a more robust extension of their main navigation; this helps potential patients navigate the site and learn more about each surgical procedure that the surgeon specialises in.

This tactic supports the idea of the footer being a “safety net” for visitors who may not know exactly what they’re looking for on the site.

3. Contact Details

Including contact details are important for building trust with your target audience and showing evidence that you’re a real business. To build trust, consider including details such as a phone number, physical address (with or without a map), or hours of operation.

4. Legal Pages

Three easily missed elements of the footer that every website should have are a copyright notice and links to your privacy policy and terms of service.

Not only are you legally required to have this information available on your site, but it adds credibility to your brand—and you should seize every opportunity you have to build trust with your customers.

This new surgical website has a simple and effective approach to including this information in their footer. Providing this information is a clear and effective way to add credibility to your website, and it doesn’t take very much time to add.

(Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Copyright notice on the bottom bar)

5. Provide Customer Support Contact Details

Visitors will often use your footer when they have questions before or after a purchase. Beyond your contact information, include links to other supporting resources like a help centre or any other online support. If you have a large catalogue of helpful content, including an on-site search engine box can help here.

Wayfair’s footer provides simple options for contacting their customer service department without making their customers jump to another page on the site.

This approach is especially useful for ecommerce retailers that need a space to highlight their customer service options, such as order tracking, return policies, or a customer service line.

(Wayfair make it simple to contact customer support and provide clear opening and closing times)

6. Social Media Links

Give your visitors an opportunity to connect with you on social media will further build trust with your visitors.

While some companies may opt to clearly position links to their social media buttons in the header of their landing page, I discourage this strategy because this may inadvertently increase your bounce rate by encouraging visitors to jump to your social accounts before checking out what your site has to offer.

Seventy-two percent of websites include social icons in their footer, so it’s becoming standard practice for website design. However the reason to include them isn’t because everyone else is doing it, it’s because they act as social proof that you are an established brand.

Yorkshire Owners Racing Club does a great job of this on their website by including social links within their footer.

This design ensures that visitors will need to scroll through your entire landing page before jumping to another page.

(YORC encourages social media following in the footer of their website)

7. Company Information.

Your footer is also a great place to highlight specific company info like an about us page, careers, events, press, reviews, your mission statement, a full inventory of your product offerings or categories, and any relevant business and academic associations.

8. Strong Call-To-Action.

Inserting a strong call-to-action at the bottom of your website is a great way to add value to your landing page without going into too much detail.

A clear call-to-action that encourages visitors to take action (email signup form, request a demo, free trial, consultation, etc) is a great way to keep visitors engaged and will have a positive impact on lead generation.

It’s also a clever way to drive business since you’re catching the folks who’ve made it all the way to the bottom of your page.

Sam Mehta employs this simple one-click call-to-action approach on his site to prompt potential patients to book a consultation

9. OPTIONAL: Security & Accreditation logos.

Another way to build credibility and trust with customers is to add any certifications or security logos that may be relevant to your business.

A good example would be a travel agent might display an ABTA logo and an ATOL logo to reassure site visitors they’re in safe hands.

A financial advisor might display an FCA logo to show they’re regulated and authorised by them to provide financial advice.

Be careful though. The thing with security logos is that it’s not about technical security, it’s about perceived security. If you include too many, it can sometimes inject doubt and reduce trust. Most visitors can’t tell the difference between security logos except for the big wigs like “ABTA”. A good rule of thumb is only to include the logos that would inject trust in this particular stage of the customer journey.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Don’t overlook your website footer!

It’s time for you to invest time in optimizing your website’s footer. Not only will it provide for better customer experiences on your site, but it may generate leads, lift your organic search results ranking, and improve conversions.

It’s easy to put optimizing the footer at the bottom of your to-do list, but don’t overlook the impact that a well-designed footer can have on your overall customer experience.

Surprisingly, this narrow space holds a huge range of opportunities and executed well it can provide a lot of value for your site.

If you’re looking for better results from your website but don’t know where to start, contact me and I will evaluate your website and look for key areas of improvement.

Jen

Are you finally ready to have an amazing website you can be proud of?

Don’t delay! I am ready, my notepad is open and my coffee is hot!