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. 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 🙂

@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  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?

Design Inspiration or Plagiarism

Smashpop (Jason) has been sharing with his friends about how another blogger had violated him. Artistically, that is. Well, I’m not here to rant on how this blogger copied that blogger.

Instead, I’d like to discuss about how some who were most likely inspired by another source, coincidentally end up designing their blog too similar to the original.

This is what the original looks like:

jason-smashpop

And, this is what the inspiration resulted in:

onz-weebly

Sometimes our intentions aren’t bad. And sometimes, it’s when realizations come from our friends or others that reach us then only we’d realize them. So given the benefit of the doubt, this blogger may have been over inspired.

There was an article I read before on how you can be inspired but be not over inspired. It’s a really simple technique by identifying what is it exactly which inspired you. Was it the detail? Was it the color? Was it the texture?

After you’ve identified this, then you store it either in memory or as a reference in your personal space.

It’s the easiest (and laziest) line to say, “I like everything”, but it’s more fruitful and helpful to be able to identify what is it you really like.

What inspires you most about your own blog design?

P.S.: Jason, if you read this, the guy looks like he wants to become you. 😛