Understanding Website Real Estate
According to the Nielsen Norman Group 84% of users visit the Home page section of a website that appears above the fold vs the section that appears below the fold. I like to use this section to appeal to my primary audience and explain what I am attempting to market to them.
What is “Above the Fold”?
If you think of a stack of newspapers at the newspaper vendor. The papers are folded in half. When you go up and try and decide if you want to buy the paper you scan the headlines and images facing you – above the fold. A website is the same except that it is digital.
If the user is unable to find what they are looking for within 2 seconds, they are highly likely to scroll to the footer.
What is a footer?
When viewing a print document often you find data at the bottom that repeats itself on every page like the name of the company, copyright and page number. That bottom section is called the footer.
A website is similar to a document in this manner.
Definition: A website’s footer is an area located at the bottom of every page on a website, below the main body content.
A footer is not a requirement for a website, however, not taking advantage of this space is a missed opportunity and may affect the Search Engine Optimization results.
Most visitors will scroll through all of the page content to the footer before they abandon the site.
There are two primary reasons that the visitor scrolls to the footer:
- If they are not convinced to sign up for the primary offering, they may seek an additional resource, like an opportunity to stay in touch via the company newsletter.
- They are looking for hard to find information.
A user may intentionally scroll to the footer to find information like social media links, contact information or website links not found in the main navigation.
What should you put in your footer?
From an SEO perspective ( based upon Google recommendations), the information that I would include are:
- All contact information. If the visitor struggles to find your contact information, you will lose them.
- Address – for a brick and mortar business a street address, otherwise include the city and state to enhance local search.
- Business hours
- A sitemap with all links in the site. Sometimes this is a replica of the main navigation, and sometimes this is a link to a separate page.
- Social Media links.
- Customer Engagement invitations, like a newsletter sign up or webinar registration.
- A testimonial and any awards to build authority and credibility.
- The date when your site was last updated. (If the date is 5 years ago, I will scroll to the next site.)
Pitfalls to avoid:
- Text appearance :The contrast of the footer text and background should be easy to read. The font should not be too small. If there is a background image, is it hiding some of the text?
- TMI – Don’t make the footer a mini website. Keep the presentation simple and easy to understand.
- Aggressive pop-ups and flyouts. If your pop-up email subscription form does not display an “X” or a “Close” button, you will be penalized by the search engines. Please check your site on mobile.
Remember the footer is often the last ditch attempt by the user before they exit your website. What can you do to offer what they were looking for or to have them to stay connected?