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What is a ‘fat footer’, and why should we have one?

5th November 2014

As technology evolves, so do websites.

Websites and the internet are constantly changing, with new ways being discovered to make the most of the space you have on the net and making yourself seen.

One of these changes is the way footers are created in websites – in the past, a footer would not really have existed, maybe except for one line of text with a link to a couple of your most important pages and your registered company number. The times have now changed, and footers are designed to hold a lot more information. This is not solely for the purpose of increasing content, though. There are multiple benefits and reasons for using a fat footer, and here they are:

More content

The fat footer can hold a lot more content that old footers used to be able to. Typically, a fat footer (also known as a deep footer), has multiple columns to split the area up, so the designer can allot certain content to certain columns, thus maximising the potential of the area provided.

Western Counties Equine Hospital footer

As you can see from the image above, there is a lot more content in the footer area, and it’s not just text. The usual content found in a fat footer is ‘About’ text, giving a description of your business/organisation, contact details and usually social media buttons and/or feeds. These can vary across websites, and as you can see in the image above, a Google map has been provided in the third column.

Visual

There is a lot more room to use striking visuals in a fat footer, which can greatly improve the appearance of your website. An example of this is the website we designed and developed for the Otter Valley Association, which you can see below:

OVA footer

We made good use of the images OVA provided us with, and created a visual footer which blends in well with the rest of the website. Rather than the background image coming to an abrupt end, it faded out subtly. Due to this large area of space, there is plenty a designer can do with it to make it to most aesthetically pleasing they can.

Search engines

The footer stays at the bottom of every single page on your website, which means it’s a great idea to have a descriptive piece of ‘About’ text, with all of your target keywords in. Why? Well when search engines such as Google come along and index your website, they index the content on every page.#

Google homepage

This means that if you have a strong piece of About text in your footer, the search engine will scan and index that same piece of text on every page on your site, therefore doubling up on keywords and content for each page. This is great for your search engine rankings if you get the keywords in the footer correct, so spend some time researching and investigating your keywords and target audience to really make the most of the opportunity.

Interactive

Many footers that we design have feeds of news and/or events, as well as social media feeds from networks such as Twitter. The great thing about this is that the feeds are updated automatically – you don’t need to do a thing!

Cosmic footer