Let’s talk about footers, those big things that was so popular – and still is I guess – a while ago.
There are three kinds of footers:
- The non-existant, which basically just adds a copyright phrase, design credit, or something similar.
- The sidebar disguised as a footer, a common solution for one-column themes. These footers put content that usually ends up in the sidebar, in the footer instead, like categories, latest comments, and so on.
- The gigantic footer, with lots of extra stuff, like syndicated RSS feeds, widget overload (I won’t say the footer’s dead yet though), ads, services, badabing-badabom.
Do footers work? Nope, they don’t, because when you’ve seen them once you won’t look at them again. It’s basically the same reasoning as with the sidebar, since the footer rarely add to the blog’s value, what’s the point of looking at it on a regular basis?
One-column themes often puts a lot of faith in the footer, since they usually have in-depth navigation (not to be confused with the main menu/navigation) and more or less prominent features usually found in the sidebar, in the footer instead. That might make a visitor check in on it more often. The same goes for the gigantic footers, although not to such an extent since the blogs and sites using these usually have the most important features in the sidebar anyway.
Footers are suffering from the fact that you won’t see them until you scroll down. Here’s news for you: People won’t scroll down unless they have to.
In other words, regular visitors will probably not be exposed to your footer, because they read your latest posts and scurry along.
That being said, I like putting extra functionality in the footer myself, as long as too much exposure isn’t needed, or I know that it will be seen. Like the subscribe graphic over on OrnTales.com for instance. The idea there is that an interested reader will finish each post, and then see the graphic since the short story parts don’t have any comments or anything.
Also, it’s a great way to remove clutter. Are you one of the rare few with visitors who actually care about your MyBlogLog widget? Well, if they really care, they’ll scroll down to the footer, so stash it there. The same goes for badges and statistics stuff that you might need or want to display.
To me, the footer is a nice touch to finalize a design, put an end to it so to speak, and a way to remove clutter.
What are your thoughts on the footer?