Designing a website footer is just as important as designing the header. It might not get as much exposure as the header, but that doesn't mean it's not as important. As a result of this, the footer is often an afterthought, relegated to being a dumping ground for copyright information, legal disclaimers and links - but it doesn't have to be this way.
Why are footers just as important as headers?
Effective footers can leave long-lasting impressions on visitors, can grab their attention and be generally informative. It's the last port of call for many visitors, where they'll sign up for services, read another article or just require contact details. When your visitor reaches the bottom of your page, what do you want them to do? Knowing this will give you a great starting point for designing a footer.
If you're designing a blog, then keeping users on the site is likely all-important to you, so it will be often be wise to place something like links to the most recent and popular posts within the footer. However if the site is intended to promote a product, then either a call-to-action or small signup form would be a better choice. Something to remember is that users usually go looking in the footer for contact details, especially when designing for a business, but that doesn't mean you can't still make it attractive.
The below five footers are intended to demonstrate different ways in which website footers can be utilised - these sites have clearly thought about their footers.
The Urban Pie company are dedicated to creating the best gourmet pies possible. With the product being of the upmost importance to Urban Pie, they've kept things simple and fun, featuring need-to-know information and a selection cartoon-style illustrations.
This website footer here holds no information or call-to-action elements, so you wouldn't think it'd make the list. But the simply sketched skyline and some appealing illustrated pie characters welcoming visitors to the site is a lovely touch and is something visitors will remember. The inclusion of a search bar gives the footer something other than just visual appeal.
Tapbots are utility robots designed and engineered for iPhone and iPod touch, created by Paul Haddad and Mark Jardine. Four beautiful illustrations stand side-by-side, each with relevant information provided offering help and further details about the company. The illustrations certainly draw your attention.
Simple design is important when working with a lot of information, and that's what arga-culture have gone with. Clean elements, plenty of space and organized with purpose. Agra-Culture uses color, icons and text in the footer but it is simple and has great flow. Every link is easy to click and the detail with the farm image in the green box is a nice subtle touch that some might miss.
Carsonified make use of a beautiful and unique method of separating the footer of the website from the rest of the design. Everything you need with a site like this - contact details, follow them on Twitter and who they're in partnership with. Simple and informative, yet good looking.
Soho Fixed are a team of artists and bike technicians who build a custom-designed road bikes every few weeks and put them up for sale. The retro-style site design includes a footer that features a second menu bar, making it easy for users to navigate their way around and there's also prominent social buttons, as well as being offered the option to be informed by email in the future when a new bike hits the site.