Footers are possibly the least sexy part of a blog.

They’re way down there at the bottom and barely get any attention from bloggers. We’re usually focused on what is “above the fold” instead of way down there in the nether regions at the very bottom of a blog.

But I think this is a mistake! While not everyone looks the footer of a blog, people still definitely see it.

Over the weekend I redid the footer area here on Blogging Bookshelf (scroll down to the bottom of the page to check it out!) and it took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to put there. I looked at the footers of a bunch of different blogs and made notes of what I saw there.

In this post you’ll see what I found out, and I’ll also share a list of 26 things you can put in your blog’s footer. Fun!

But first…

What is a footer?

A couple people reading this might be a bit fuzzy on what exactly a footer is. In short, it’s the full-width area on a blog below the sidebar(s) and content area.

Clear? Excellent. So the next question is… What can you put in your footer? Well… Here’s a handy-dandy list for you.

26 Things to Put in Your Blog’s Footer

1. Copyright information

This is where you say

Copyright © 2010 BloggingBookshelf.com. All rights reserved.

Or something like

This work by Tristan Higbee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

2. Boring page links

To clarify here, “boring” is describing the pages, not the links. This includes the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy pages. I don’t really know much about these and have never included these on my blogs, but most major blog has them. I’ll do some research and write a post about these 2 pages soon. It will probably be a very boring yet quite informative post.

3. Standard page links

This includes links to the About, Contact, and Advertise pages.

4. Home page link

Link to the home page of your blog.

5. RSS feed link

Link to the RSS feed of your blog. Add both RSS subscription and email subscription options.

6. Newsletter subscription form

Though I don’t know how effective this would be, it couldn’t hurt to have an newsletter/list signup form down there.

7. Social media icons/links

This is probably one of the more commonly seen element in blog footers. This includes Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, and any other ones you’re a part of.

8. Popular posts

I use the Ranged Popular Posts widget in my sidebar, but it would work just fine in a footer!

9. Favorite posts

List your own favorite or under-appreciated posts.

10. Recent posts

Use the Killer Recent Entries widget that comes with WordPress.

11. Recent comments

Use the Recent Comments widget that comes with WordPress.

12. Top commenters

I use the Top Commentators Widget plugin.

13. Archives link

Link to your site’s archives.

14. Site map

This would link to your blog’s sitemap. I don’t have one of these yet (I need to), but I’ve heard only good things about the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.

15. Link to the top of the page

I’ve got one of these in my footer. This is the html for the link: <a href = #> text </a>

16. Advertisements

I’ve also got these in my footer. They’re ads for products I use and love.

17. Links to your other blogs

If you’ve got more then one blog, or if you’re part of a blog network, you can link to those blogs.

18. Links to other blogs

Of course, you could do the blogroll thing and link to other blogs you’re not affiliated with.

20. “Site by…” link

If the blog was created/designed by someone else, this is often in the footer.

21. Theme link

We’ve all seen these, “Powered by WHATEVER-THEME” links in blog footers.

22. WordPress link

“Proudly powered by WordPress” is another footer element you see a lot of.

23. Most retweeted

Is there a plugin for this? Because I think this would be really cool!

24. Contact form

You could have a really small contact form in the footer so it would be easier for people to get in touch with you.

25. “Write for Us” link

If you allow guest posting on your blog, adding a “Write for Us” or “Guest Post” link in the footer might draw more people in.

26. Another navigation menu

I’m talking here about 2 things: either an actual second navigation bar that’s more or less a copy of the one at the top of a blog, or your blog’s main pages listed in a widget.

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So the next question is…

What should YOU put in YOUR footer?

Well, first let’s check out some other big blogs and see what they’ve got down there.

Top 10 small business blogs & the contents of their footers

I checked out Technorati’s top 10 small business blogs and looked at their footers. Here are the results:

  1. TopRank Online Marketing Blog – hosting sponsor link, copyright, link to top
  2. Search Engine Journal – contact us link, advertise link, regular menu, link to top, “Site designed by” link, copyright
  3. Small Business Trends – social media links, “resources” (internal) links, awards, RSS feed from a partner blog, copyright, privacy policy link, home link, advertise link, link to a plugin, about, archives, FAQ, contact, “Site created by” link
  4. Social Media Examiner – copyright, Twitter button, subscription buttons, blog name
  5. College Pro Blog – social media, copyright, “Theme by” link, WordPress link
  6. Duct Tape Marketing – products, “consulting programs,” “speaking/workshops,” resources/tools, “site by,” WordPress link
  7. ProBlogger – categories, about, resources (affiliate stuff; 2 columns)
  8. Social Media Explorer – copyright, theme and design info, CC statement
  9. Tehranpi – (What a horrible blog!!) – copyright, topics covered, WordPress link, links to partner sites
  10. Inside AdWords – copyright, privacy policy link, terms of service link

So based off of that information, the most popular elements to have in your blog’s footer are…

  • copyright information
  • privacy policy
  • links to the Home, About, and Contact pages
  • Social media/networking information

Ok, that’s a solid enough little list… So let’s move on to what’s in MY footer and why.

Why I put in my footer what I put in my footer

Wow, that’s a very inelegant heading…

For your viewing pleasure (and so you don’t have to scroll down), here’s what the footer here looks like:

Blogging Bookshelf Blog Footer

First off, I was debating between 3 and 4 columns and chose 4 simply because I wanted to put more stuff down there.

The copyright information is below everything else in the footer.

I put the “Stuff I Recommend” affiliate links in the footer because I want to see if they get any clicks down there. If you remember my lessons on blog advertising post, I mention that there was I think only one of the world’s top 20 blogs had ads in the footer. But I wanted to try it out because I don’t particularly like having the ads anywhere else.

I put the categories down there because I didn’t like them in the sidebar.

I added the “About Me” bit because I’ve seen this on blogs before (ProBlogger comes to mind) and I like it. And I didn’t want to put a picture of myself or bio in the valuable sidebar space.

The “Connect With Me” section is there simply because I’ve seen it on other blogs and it seems like a good thing to have in there. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone ever clicks on those. I’ll be replacing the text links with social media icons at some point in the future when I have more time.

The “Return to Top” link is there because it seemed like a good idea! My posts are long, so it saves people from having to scroll all the way to the top.

The footer, like everything else on the blog here, is a work in progress. I’ll add and take away stuff as I do more testing and find out what works best.

As I stated above, I didn’t put privacy policy or terms of service links because I don’t have those pages on my blog yet.

I don’t have the Home, About, or Contact page links because I ran out of space!

AARGHH! HELP! How do I put stuff in my blog’s footer?

“Great, I want to put all sorts of crap in my footer now, but HOW DO I DO IT?”

If there’s enough interest in an answer to that question, leave a comment and I’ll address this in a future post. Or if just one or two people are interested I can email you more info. Or you can just Google it :)

The easiest way to add a footer is to get a WordPress theme that comes with widgets built in to the footer (I’ve used several of the Woo Themes that have this). Or do I what I did and use Thesis and customize it a bit.

EDIT: If you DO use Thesis, I’ve copied the custom_functions.php and custom.css code that I use. You can find it here (php file) and here (css file). Both of these are .txt files.

EDIT #2: If you want to quickly check out the footer on any blog you’re at just hit Ctrl + End (or Cmd + End on a Mac?) and you’ll immediately be taken to the bottom of the page. Use Ctrl + Home to get back to the top.

Over to you!

So I’ve got some questions…

  • What’s in your blog’s footer?
  • What would you like to add to your blog’s footer?
  • What would you like to see in Blogging Bookshelf’s footer?
  • What do you like to see in footers?
  • Do you ever even look at blog/website footers??

I’m looking forward to these answers!