How To Silo Your Website: The Footer

This post is part of a series on How to Silo Your Website. The other parts in the series are: How to Silo Your Website: The Masthead, How to Silo Your Website, The Breadcrumb , How to Silo Your Website: The Content, and How to Silo Your Website: The Sidebar. For this last part, we’ll be looking at the footer.

Another strategy I’ve seen used that often has good results is the dynamic footer …

Ah…the website footer. Aside from meta keywords and descriptions, it’s hard to think of an area that’s been more abused. A common spot for selling run of site links, turning into a link brothel (looks in the direction of you Lendingtree), or for stuffing content below the copyright information that you can’t even argue is for bots not humans (looks at you

It’s hard to resist the temptation to abuse the footer, which IMHO is why links in the footer possess so little value compared to links in the sidebar, masthead, and content sections. So how can a site owner use the footer to their advantage?

First, let’s look at usability. All of those service links that I said you should remove from the masthead and sidebar: this is where they should go. Over the years, people have learned to look here if they need information. However, sometimes the amount of links can make the area look … well … excessively linky. If that’s a problem, I suggest checking out this post on beautiful footers to get some ideas about how to keep it looking good and easy to use.

Another strategy I’ve seen used that often has good results is the dynamic footer, first popularized by Weblogs Inc (the company Jason Calacanis sold to AOL for 25 million). The basic concept is to keep the links in the footer changing and pointing to new or updated content (for Weblogs Inc it was used to show links to new posts all from multiple sites across the network. See divester for an example). While this tactic isn’t as effective as it once was, keeping the footer dynamic is still a good idea worth trying (see How to Make Your Homepage More Dynamic for tips on how and what to include).

So what are the takeaways from this post:

  • Put all of the service links you removed from other sections here.
  • Look for ways to keep it usable and visually appealing.
  • Try to include as much dynamic content as possible.

While there are still some subtleties to siloing a website, hopefully this series has pointed you in the right direction. If you have any questions or followup posts you would like to see, drop me a tweet and let me know @Graywolf.
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