A website footer don't: no flip flops for business attire

This guy engaged us with his smiling header, kept us scrolling down all the way to his ankles, then lost us at his footer.

Why does a website footer matter?  Well, when dressing your professional best, you wouldn’t put flip-flops on your feet, would you? At minimum, an appropriate pair of shoes completes the outfit. For the fashion-conscious among us, footwear is a focal point that adds a splash of personality. With that in mind, take a new look your website footer. Does it get a passing grade by completing the page appropriately? Could it work harder and earn an A by adding value?

Like the header, the footer appears on every page. Designers rightly give a lot of thought to the header, as it’s the first thing a visitor sees. But in too many cases, the website footer appears to be an afterthought in both design and content. Rather than using this high-visibility area to engage visitors, many designers make it a bland repository for the “fine print” items: copyright, legal name of the organization, contact information, terms of use, disclaimers and privacy guidelines.

A visitor who has scrolled down to the footer either has finished reading the page content or has scanned the page without finding the desired information. In either case, you are in imminent danger of losing the visitor. The website footer is your last chance for engagement. Don’t waste that chance! Here’s how to put your best footer forward:

DO provide entry points to engaging content, such as the first paragraph of your most recent news item or blog article, an event invitation, a great testimonial or a passionate mission statement.

DO include a phone number and a call-to-action button, such as Download Our Free Guide, Make a Donation or Join Our Email List. All CTAs are more effective if you also tell the visitor why he or she might want to take the suggested action.

DON’T diagram your site navigation, but on a large website you may want to repeat the top navigation or link to an HTML sitemap. A link to an XML sitemap for search engines is a good idea regardless of site size.

DO use your “Good Housekeeping Seals” sparingly. Logos or insignias that convey important accreditations or association memberships can give visitors one more trust-building message. Just don’t overdo it with a mishmash of mismatched visuals.

DO place social media links in the website footer, not the header. You don’t want visitors to leave your website early, but if they are about to leave anyway, directing them to one of your social sites may keep them engaged with your brand a bit longer.

Need help designing your social media pages, website or brochure? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].

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