What is important in a blog footer design?

I had an inspiration for a WordPress theme. And as I thought about the custom homepage, translating it into a wireframe, I began to think. What’s so important about the blog theme’s footer?

My search for an answer wasn’t very accurate. All I got were inspirational blog footer designs which highlighted the end of the posts and not the general footer itself.Β I was looking for the purpose of a general blog footer. What type of content belongs in it?

google screenshot

From Google

The closest and only answer which I got was 1 article titled; 3 Things to Remember When Designing a Blog Footer. And in the article, the author’s tips were:

  1. Attention decreases from top to bottom
  2. Your footer is not a navigation bar
  3. Keep it interesting

Close, but still didn’t answer the purpose of the blog footer.

From Twitter

I got responses from friends saying:

@kamigoroshi: My theory is that they aren’t important hence there are placed at the footer. The reader would have to scroll far down to view it.

@aio193: since ur user made it all the way there, make it worth while πŸ™‚

@parasquid: it’s your final chance for a call to action. pique the interest enough to keep him in the site = more chances to get user action.

My friend; parasquid (Tristan), did make a point. It’s really the last chance for you to get an action from your visitor since they visited your blog and took the effort to scroll all the way down.

However, this isn’t a website but a blog. When you imagine the default blog template, what would it display?

  • Most recent entries
  • Most recent comments
  • Introduction to the blog
  • Archives (Categories, tags, monthly and more)
  • Search
  • Links
  • Advertisements

These are the basic content you’d find in a standard blog. Note, I’ve defined standard blogs to include ads. But let’s say I give you this scenario.

You’ll have Β search portion at the top and your main navigation would have a category dropdown menu, including the RSS subscription. The recent posts will be displayed in a catalog style with a reserved space for 1 advertisement with an approximate size of 300 x 250. The bottom of the catalog would have a pagination for you to cycle through your posts.

Now, what other relevant or important information would you include into your footer?

And to make you think a little harder, here are my arguments of some ideas:

Archives/tags

Why would I need to display a monthly archive or tags, when the user may already find it via categories or search?

Recent comments

Why would I be interested to know who commented on a post if I wasn’t interested in the post written?

Recent posts

Why would I read this if it’s the same information displayed already?

Pages

Why would I create a repeated navigation of the top menu, if my custom homepage already displays a lot of posts thanks to its catalog view?

Contact details

Why again repeat this information when it’s easily accessible from the top menu?

Sharing tools

Why would I share a blog which I’ve not read any articles yet?

Twitter

Do my users really care to know, I’m in the 4th cubicle in the toilet of some shopping mall?

Even when I wireframe, I’m constantly questioning the existence or requirements as I tend to draw them out. I keep asking questions for its purpose and how would it benefit my user on the website or in the case, the blog.

As I thought about the examples I’ve seen, the tips written and what Tristan said, I’m considering only the items listed below which is important for a blog footer.

  1. Search
  2. Social networks (Links to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter – link to account)
  3. RSS/Email subscription
  4. Ownership and recognition (copyright and platform used)
  5. News or announcements (if it’s a corporate blog)
  6. Contact details (if it’s a corporate blog)

Besides this, I can’t think of any other items which is important to have in the blog footer. Even if it were, I’d ask myself again, why should it be here? Especially when it’s accessible from say, the top menu. With less clutter, the footer would be more focused and easier understood by the user.

But, what do think about your blog footer?

7 Replies to “What is important in a blog footer design?”

  1. rather than have a set list, think of what the objectives are:
    1. Search (good idea, they might want to search for another article or some keyword after reading an article. even for a home page, they might scroll all the way down and not find anything. so search la. users impatient. they cant get what they want, they find another way, faster)

    2. Social networks (Links to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter – link to account) – now this depends, if your twitter is all about where you are om nom noming, and your blog is about sports, its weird. usually I’ll tell my clients to create a specific twitter accoutn if they want to broadcast them on their website that is relevant to site. i forgot, there is one company that does this. they have daily specials. one webpage is all about wine. one is all about anything. they could be selling book racks for 300 bucks for that day only. so what they did was, they had two twitter accounts. one to tell about wine special of the day and to quickly by it because it wont be available tomorrow. and they cross sell the other website’s promotion as well.

    another great use of twitter is a mobile korean stall in california. also i have lost the link. sorry danny. they twit where they are parked. and basedon replies, they know where they should be. sales quadrupled. they sell 1000lbs of beef in a day and twitter helped. i guess beef bugolgi must be a killer

    3. RSS/Email subscription – people still use RSS ah? haha. email subscription or any other call to action is great at the footer. as if, after reading the article on photoshop CS4, “LEAVE YOUR EMAIL NOW AND RECEIVE EXCLUSIVE BRUSHES for CS4!”

    4. Ownership and recognition (copyright and platform used)
    standard πŸ™‚ useful. that’s where EVERYONE will want to find it.

    5. News or announcements (if it’s a corporate blog)
    usually news or announcements are pretty important and should be at the top. maybe yesterday’s news or announcements.

    6. Contact details (if it’s a corporate blog)
    yup. standard.

    my addition – more on design elements:
    7. a personal message. either company says something or if its a blog,something that they can take with them. not easy. but since your user made it all the way down, like my tweet, make it worthwhile. Something like frank here: http://ideas.frankchimero.com/. love his site. awesome illustrator. and best of all, reminds me how I need to be more articulate in explaining my design ideas/approach πŸ™‚

    8. complementary design element. i like to make mine distinctive. i know attention goes from hero to zero top to bottom, so i try to make it hero to sidekick. hope you get what i mean. like yours. although you have recents pots, bookmarks, search, admin at the bottom, because you made it a different colour (pale yellow), i did scan it for a while.

    9. do not neglect content hierarchy. make scanning easier. some footers are ‘flat’. distinguish headers and make distinctive segments

  2. A very in-depth feedback. And I’m sure many others may share the same views you have. But seriously, I wonder how much time 1 would spend at the footer. Because, it’s the footer.

    You stop, you scan and move forward. Definitely not expecting my users to spend more than 2 minutes there.

    I’m embarrassed to use my blog as an example. Because it’s old and I’ve not done it justice of using my own theme as of yet. πŸ˜›

  3. You make a good point. I wasn’t going to even entertain putting the stuff you mentioned Twitter and what not on my footer. In fact, you might even have given the idea to remove “Recent Comments” from my next design entirely.

    However, stuff like Meta information and links you find interesting are not as interesting as to warrant the top of the page, but not that dull enough to warrant a page of its own. I would be inclined to put those on the footer. Besides, you don’t want to clutter the top bit of your blog, so you do have to make some pretty hard choices between what you want on it, and what your reader would actually want to read.

    Also, if I am designing a footer-centric theme, I’d keep the main page short, limiting the amount of scrolling the reader has to go through.

  4. I’m sure many of you noticed that some blog designs / themes have archives placed at the bottom.

    To me, footer is generally the place to hold little bits of information that’s not important but needs a place that does not distract.

    There ya go!

    Less distracting? Yes, I believe design with content at the footer shows that the emphasis is on the header, side (if any) and most importantly CONTENT.

    As for myself, so far I’ve only one design that has content around the footer ………. and that also was done out of the context of design only.

  5. yeah you’re right. i mean, its a footer but nevertheless, we shouldn’t anak-tirikan the element. hehe.

    i dont mind your footer danny, but sure it’ll be more interesting if there is a screenshot of the bookmark πŸ™‚

  6. @edrei
    I’ve not heard of footer-centric theme before. LOL! πŸ˜‰

    @goldfries
    True enough. Though I’m still deciding what information that should be too.

    @ikram
    Well, you’re the first I know who’s come forth and tell me you actually read the footer. πŸ˜› As for the screenshot idea, I like it and will look into it. πŸ™‚

  7. Really before read your concept I don’t know about the importance of
    blog footer design. Now I know perfectly that how much important this is for
    blog footer design. Thanks dude πŸ™‚

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