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Fat footers and free hugs

Posted by Malcolm Iliff, on 16th July 2014

A fat footer is the online equivalent of that well-turned phrase:  ‘Is there anything else we can help you with today?’ 

Whether it’s on the phone or in a retail store, it’s a pleasant prompt for the customer to ask a question that we can hopefully help them with before they leave. On your website, it’s the horizontal band at the bottom of the page where you can do the same. 

So what’s the difference between a fat footer and a traditional footer? Well, historically your footer is seen as the place where all the legal stuff goes: Terms & Conditions, your Cookies policy, your Privacy policy. Whilst some might consider these topics boring, they’re essential nonetheless!

You’ll find that corporate brands, such as Coca Cola and Apple, are still quite traditional. Corporate footers certainly tend to include the usual things:

  • A link to a Site Map, About Us, contact details
  • Trustmarks related to security (especially on e-commerce sites)
  • Logos relating to membership of professional organisations
  • A link to the ‘About’ section, or Job Opportunities
  • Where to find Help
  • Contact details or a link to the contact form
  • A link to the newsletter sign-up form
  • Payment and delivery information
  • RSS feeds 
  • Social links 

Most website visitors expect to see these things in a footer, so you should also give your visitors what they’ve come to expect. 

However, you do have the opportunity to offer a little more! Just because the traditional buffet lunch typically serves up sausage rolls, scotch eggs and pineapple and cheese skewers, you don’t have to do the same! Why not turn your footer into a Smörgåsbord? Fat footers offer that little bit more. They have a few more exotic things to choose from! Your footer can give your visitors an idea about the personality of your company and the way you conduct business. If your visitor has scrolled down that far, why not surprise them with some rich pickings? It’s an opportunity to highlight who you are, what you do and who else trusts your business. It’s your Highlights Panel.

So what are they key elements of a good fat footer? What might you put in yours? 

Fat footers help improve usability for your visitors and let you ‘shout out’ with a confident Call to Action. Either you provide the answer to an unanswered question (What are the top products they sell?) or you prompt them to engage with you further, by following you on Twitter or viewing a video demonstration of your product, for example. Fat footers are also another way to improve your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) by taking visitors by the hand to visit your most popular pages. 

Here’s a list of topics you might choose to include in your fat footer, in addition to some of the traditional ones listed above. We suggest choosing a total of 5-7 headline topics, with a similar number of sub-topics in each. This is just a straight checklist of suggested topics. Be sure to let the personality of your company shine through by selecting different words and phrases for the topics you choose:

  • Company values
  • Search function
  • Events and Training
  • Resources i.e. White Papers
  • Demos
  • Downloads
  • Social icons (to follow on Twitter, LinkedIn etc)
  • Social media content/feeds (Recent Tweets, Recent blog posts)
  • Shop or Store link
  • Store Card or Account details
  • Top products or services
  • Tag clouds
  • Article summaries
  • Recent news or top blog posts
  • Customer Testimonials
  • Community (Partner or Customer)
  • Blog followers

Fat footers may be bad for your health

Above all, be selective. Don’t lay out such a feast on your buffet table, that everybody misses the most tasty morsels! Consider your audience and highlight what they are likely to find most useful. What are questions people regularly ask? Which are the website pages they find most helpful? How will you keep in touch with them in future? 

Hold open the door for your visitor! Your fat footer is the friendly wave you give a customer before they leave or entice them into the inner sanctum. Give them a decent hug that encourages them to stay just that little bit longer or simply reminds them that they should come back for more.   

Like to know more?

If you’d like to know more about how CBJ Digital Ltd can help you with adding or updating your fat footer (or even redesigning and rebuilding) your website, please contact  questions_answered@cbjdigital.com or visit  our website

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