Of all the trends perhaps led by the popularity of WordPress based websites, the expansion of the page footer, is one having most impact on the design world – within WordPress and beyond.
In years gone by it was almost a last amend. A single line that was given short, sharp, shrift by designers. Usually reserved for simply a copyright citation and perhaps hosting company name check. Then times changed and we saw an era of keyword stuffing – a jumble of words, perhaps not even in sentences, sometimes even hidden in different colour font but designed to help improve embryonic SEO.
In the modern era, the footer is now probably the most important part of your site. Keyword stuffing is no longer an option if you are to stay on the right side of Google but it is a great place to ensure all the essential words and signposts are included on your site.
The footer is now literally the hub of a site, a mini sitemap in many ways providing a multi-function quick-view guide to a site. That in turn has changed the way visitors see footers too and how they approach using website full-stop.
This is why you need to spend more attention on your footer than ever before. Visitors expect a footer in the modern era to be full of information. If they need to contact you, if they want to find out more about your company, if they want to know your social media handles, more often than not they will head to the footer first.
Footers server two purposes and designers are wising up more and more to that. There are those who just scroll down the page to see everything they can – so there is a need for your footer to be attention-grabbing – and then there are those specifically seeking information, and probably the main reason why footers are getting bigger.
Big and informative footers are certainly here to stay. People expect your footer to be information ladened now and any professional designer worth their salt should give suitable prominence in the design to the footer. As a signpost, it is important to ensure a footer remains uncluttered and easy to read.
Combining that with the information that needs to show there is where the best designers earn their money. Colour, lines, blank space. There’s no one answer but there is a need to be distinctive from the main site enough to identify it’s status as a footer.
While the purists may dislike the rise of the larger footer, the user experience experts will probably counter-argue with ten times more reasons to give it suitable prominence. The visitor is why you have taken time to produce a website in the first place, so it makes sense to serve them well with it.
So the big footer is here and it looks like here to stay. Do you agree or disagree?