Posted on 2016-05-07
Often an overlooked feature of a website, but the footer is actually incredibly important to your website, though you may not realise it.
For those of you unsure of what a 'fat footer' is, it is an area shows at the bottom of every page of your website, which means when search engines such as Google and Bing index your website, the footer section is recognised and treated with importance, and the information in it is all content for the search engines to feed on as it displays on every page of your website.
So what should you be putting in the footer?
Due to the footer being displayed globally across the website, you want a mixture of search engine friendly content and user friendly content. A three column layout is the most common for a footer, so I will base my ideas on that logic, though there is potential for more columns or even an additional row. Many WordPress templates allow for different footer layouts and numbers of columns, so check in your theme settings or the theme 'Customize' section to see what your options are.
'About us' text
This is by far one of, if not, the most important features of your footer. While users will probably only read this once (if at all), this is great food for search engines if written well. It's very important to incorporate your focus keywords and business name - this will only strengthen your search engine visibility as this will be picked up a magnitude of time throughout your website.
If you aren't familiar with search engine optimisation, seek advice from a consultant about what keywords and phrases you should be using to maximise your website's potential. You could also try using a plugin like "Yoast SEO" which can assist in optimising your website for search engines with visual aids.
Dated news articles are great for search engine optimisation. Google (and other search engines) loves regularly updated content, and having a feed on your home page with news or blog posts will do you a whole bunch of favours. It will remind the search engine that you still actively update the website or blog, and it will also remind users the same thing!
Having these updates on a regular basis will not only be good for search engine optimisation, but will bring in a level of trust in your brand as it shows the user that you are knowledgeable and experts in your niche.
This column is probably the only one solely designed for the user rather than search engines. Other than the 'Contact us' page, the header and footer are the two main places where a user would look for contact details, whether it be an e-mail address, e-mail contact form, map or telephone/fax number.
This is standard practice on most business websites and it is strongly advised you do the same if you have not already. The only thing to note about contact forms is that they are liable to be hit by spammers, so you may want to just include an encrypted e-mail address instead. If you're looking for a nifty plugin to include a contact form, you can try "Contact Form 7" which can be downloaded for free from the WordPress plugin store.
Overall, the footer is a great place to situate your vital information - use this space wisely and put in lots of search engine friendly content as advised. If your current WordPress theme does not allow for a footer area, you should seek a new template or design which does include this, and it should also be responsive. You may want to take a look at NRGTheme's great variety of themes to improve your website.
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