The website footer. That collection of links, contact details and legal jargon at the bottom of a website, that almost ALWAYS gets forgotten in small business website design.
The trouble is, this is a big mistake.
And I'll forgive you, because certain website platforms (it pains me to say it, but - WIX), make it difficult and unclear that this is, in actual fact, an area of big importance and opportunity. And although, you may believe that it goes unseen - you'll be surprised to know that studies have shown a 50% increase in conversion when a brand has optimised its website footer.
Here are some key reasons why an optimised website footer is important...
The footer signals to the user that they have reached the end of the webpage
This helps to provide some consistency in the user's website journey. Each time they reach the footer, they know that they have come to the end of the page. Creating this sense of consistency is so important and really resonates with the user.
It provides a final chance for user's to navigate around the website
When a user arrives at the footer of a website, it signals the end of that page. If we provide them with further navigational links, it gives us one more chance to get people to stay on our website and browse around some more. It's therefore so important that we place key links here to key pages that we think can deepen our users' journey. Your main website goal may be for people to sign up to your mailing list. THIS is the perfect spot to try and capture their attention again.
Think of a newspaper - yes, it has the headlines and all of the body content to keep you engaged, but once you've reached the bottom and turned the page, you're gone. On a website you have a great advantage of being able to finish off the page with some further hooks and routes for the customer to take. Why not use them? After all, they've just finished reading an entire page of you trying to persuade them to use your service or buy your product.
It reduces bounce rate
And when the bounce rate is reduced, your Google ranking goes up. Surely, this is reason enough to do it?! You may have a customer who couldn't quite find what they were looking for in the main navigation, but as they've read through your page and your content they've come to realise what they need. Then, ahhh, right at the bottom - the link they need! And off they go on their journey. If you didn't have a footer and you didn't have those links, you would likely lose potential customers.
It helps with your SEO
The more links on your site that Google can trawl through and navigate around, the better your rankings will be. It also provides an extra hidden spot to add extra keywords. If you've managed to add the important stuff - navigation links, contact details and the legal jargon, then why not use the excess space for another little "about" intro? It doesn't hinder anyone's experience but it gives you the opportunity to cram in a few more juicy keywords!
They make you look more professional
A well designed footer makes your brand look more professional and thereby increases trust and loyalty. Just look at the two examples below and which one looks more useful and professional to you?
The website footer is truly important, for all of the reasons listed, and I'm sure many many more. It's important to remember though, not to go over-the-top. A footer crammed with too much extra content, or even trying to cram in an entire website's navigation, quickly becomes overwhelming and will have the opposite effect.
Keep it simple and aim to include:
- KEY navigation links, but not ALL.
- A Call-to-Action
- A small piece of "about" copy
- Legal and copyright info
- If there is space, add in a brand icon or logo to reinforce your brand. Always ensure the logo links back to the homepage.