Have you looked lately at the average WordPress Theme footer? That little bit of color and text at the bottom of a WordPress Theme? Lately, it seems that the only time it gets any attention is when people are looking for design credit, embedded links and ads, and other nasties.
Sometimes I think the web designer puts so much energy into the rest of the Theme that they lose interest by the time they get to the footer. Some WordPress Themes don’t even show a footer. Or they emulate the Hemingway WordPress Theme and put all the navigation links in columns in the bottom, turning the footer area into the sidebar.
I think it’s time we took back our WordPress Theme footers and gave them the attention and respect they deserve.
The Purpose of a Blog Footer
The footer in a web design is the bottom of the page. It indicates the end of the page. The footer includes navigational links to move the reader into your blog’s content, but it does so much more.
It’s the last thing some visitors see after they finish reading your blog post and comments.
When you scroll down past all the content and comments, there lies the footer. Shouldn’t it be helpful? Shouldn’t it invite the visitor to dig deeper? To move around and find more information? Shouldn’t it give them one last taste of who you are and what you blog about?
In the early days of web design, the footer was the placeholder for links to the About, Contact, Copyright, and other information that helped the visitor learn more about the site. Like business stationery featuring the address and phone number at the bottom of the sheet of paper, the footer provided critical contact information. Somewhere alone the line, the footer became forgotten or overlooked.
What should be in your footer? Should you have a repeat of your WordPress Page links like About, Contact, Copyright, Policies, and other links? Should you have a list of your primary categories? Since it’s the last thing many readers see at the bottom of your blog post, what could you put in your footer to encourage the visitor to stay a little longer or learn more about you and your blog?
The WordPress Footer
The HTML code for the Default WordPress Theme’s footer is stored in the
footer.php template file:
<?php bloginfo('name'); ?> is proudly powered by
<a href="<a href="http://wordpress.org/" title="WordPress">WordPress</a>
<br /><a href="feed:<?php bloginfo('rss2_url'); ?>">Entries (RSS)</a>
and <a href="feed:<?php bloginfo('comments_rss2_url'); ?>">Comments (RSS)</a>.
<!-- <?php echo get_num_queries(); ?> queries. <?php timer_stop(1); ?> seconds. -->
<!-- Gorgeous design by Michael Heilemann - <a href="http://binarybonsai.com/kubrick/">http://binarybonsai.com/kubrick/</a> -->
<?php /* "Just what do you think you're doing Dave?" */ ?>
<?php wp_footer(); ?>
The first code is for a horizontal line, which divides the footer from the rest of the page. When the footer is generated on your blog’s web page, all that code displays is a paragraph with the sentence and links:
My Blog Name is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)
The Optional and Hidden Footer Code
Some of the rest of the “hidden” bits of information in the footer are optional and there to help you if you need them for troubleshooting.
Within the comment code (
<!- - text here - ->) is link and text that does not appear on your blog unless you choose to have it show by removing the comment code. Removing the comment code would display the credit line to Michael Heilemann and a link to the Kubrick site, if you want to give credit where credit is deserved for the Theme.
Inside of the
/* text here */ in the PHP code that says “Just what do you think you’re doing here, Dave?” is also a comment and doesn’t show, unless you remove those slash astericks. This is a little inside joke as the Theme is called Kubrick, after Stanley Kubrick, the director of the movie, Space Oddysey 2001.
Another bit of code hidden within comments is a PHP query used to test the number of database queries needed for each page load. This is a commonly used testing device and doesn’t show on your WordPress blog. If it’s in your Theme’s footer, consider leaving it there. For now, we’re going to ignore it.
At the bottom is a call to the
wp_footer() which is used by WordPress Plugins as part of the Plugin API Hooks to help run the Plugin and actions that take place at the end of the page’s loading.
Did you know all these things were happening behind the scenes within your blog’s footer? They are, but we’re going to deal with what the user sees when they reach your blog’s header.
In tomorrow’s article, I’ll cover Customizing Your WordPress Theme Footer.
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