Most bloggers don’t think much about their blog footer. After all, it’s so far down the page. But you should definitely give it some thought.
I remember a scene from one of the greatest television shows ever produced, The Andy Griffith Show, in which Deputy Barney Fife scolds acting Deputy Gomer Pyle for not having shined the backs of his shoes. Gomer — along with Sheriff Andy Taylor — say it’s not that important. I think a lot of bloggers view their blog footer that same way.
Barney repeats advice passed to him by a German World War I soldier, one Hugo Haupfleisch, that the backs of one’s shoes are the last thing people see of you and, therefore, the last thing they remember.
I generally don’t notice the backs of someone’s shoes. I’ll go ahead and admit that I don’t generally notice someone’s shoes at all unless I have a lot of time to study the person. It’s easy to assume that no one notices your blog footer.
If you’ve ever looked at a heat map of your site, you can understand the assumption. A heat map generates where people go and more specifically where people click things on your site. It uses colors to show you where your site’s visitors are most likely to click. Most heat maps also add a little feature with a declining percentage as you scroll down your site. That indicates the percentage of visitors who take the time to scroll as far as you have.
The results, in a word, can be depressing.
Even on professional news sites that are packed with information and a variety of stories, you quickly reach the 33% mark, meaning only a third of people who visit that front page ever scroll that far down. By the time you scroll all the way down to that little footer, you might be lucky to still be above 15%. You can do the math with your own site’s analytics to determine how many actual people that 15% translates into.
Like I said, it can be depressing.
But for the people who do scroll that far down, I think it’s not unreasonable to give them something that makes the scrolling worth their time.
I recently found an old article on Torque written by Nick Schäferhoff. He offers 12 content elements that you could use to beef up your blog footer. Most of them could work for any blogger, I think.
Schäferhoff makes an important point in his article:
A footer isn’t just there for decoration. It’s also not a place to dump random information and links you’re not sure where else to put. It actually has two important uses.
The first, of course, is to provide relevant information. The second is to encourage people to go deeper into your site.
Let’s face it: if we, as readers, take the time to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, we must be looking for something. It doesn’t necessarily mean we didn’t find anything compelling enough higher on the page. But if they’re going to take that effort, give them a reward.
What’s worth adding to your blog footer?
A blog footer can help provide some relevant content that might not have jumped off the page earlier. Using Schäferhoff’s article, I modified my existing footer to either reposition or modify some of the elements that were already in my footer and even add a few others that I agreed should be there.
1. My logo
This is a footer item most people wouldn’t think of adding all the way at the footer. After all, it’s at the top of the page and on some themes, it even stays at the top when you scroll.
But most professional websites add a footer to the bottom, just as a reminder of the brand. It’s an easy step to make your site look more professional.
2. A call to action
In my case, I chose the email newsletter signup form as my call to action. Yes, it’s already in the sidebar, but giving visitors one more reminder isn’t a bad thing. Who knows? That might generate one more free subscription.
3. Social media icons
At one point, I did have social media icons in the footer. During a theme change a while back, they disappeared and I honestly never thought to re-add them. The article served as a good reminder that I should!
4. A search bar
Again, higher up the page, there’s already a search bar. But for someone who took the time to scroll to the bottom, it’s right there in case they’re looking for something specific.
You never know who will next scroll all the way to the bottom of your site. Likewise, you never know when one of those more determined scrollers might see something in the footer that might make them give you one more click.
If you think the backs of one’s shoes is the last impression one has of you, like old Barney did, maybe your blog footer can give your readers one more favorable impression of your site.