Back in the old days, almost every website had a sitemap where they listed out all the pages. The purpose of the sitemap is to help visitors and search engine spiders to find information on the site. Now, a lot of modern websites have dropped the sitemap page, instead they place the sitemap in the footer area. I’m going to review 20 websites (from big corporation to small portfolio sites) who organized their footer cleverly to enhance usability.
Benefits of Placing a Sitemap in the Footer
- Engage user click and visit duration:
As you may know, online readers don’t read everything on the page, they scroll and scan. Footer is probably the last place they look at before exiting. Placing a sitemap in the footer may attract readers’ attention and increase page clicks and views.
- Make sure your visitors are not missing out:
Sometimes your visitors might be too lazy to click on the sitemap link or miss it all together, having a sitemap in the footer can ensure your visitors are aware of every page.
- Use your footer to promote links:
You don’t really have to use the footer to list out everything, you can use it as an alternative location to promote important pages.
- Save readers’ time:
Having a sitemap in the footer allows users to quickly jump from page to page.
- You save the visitors a click:
By placing the sitemap in the footer rather than a separate page, you save the visitors a click.
- Enhance layout design:
Don’t know what to put in the footer? Perhaps a sitemap can fill up the page and make your site look bigger.
Digg keeps their header nice and clean by placing only the content categories. The header is focused on the users while the footer is focused on the company.
Thanks to the footer sitemap, with just a glance, I know exactly what pages are available on the Mozilla website.
What if you have a huge website (in terms of content), putting a full sitemap in the footer may be insane? You can learn from the clever Apple.com, split the sitemap into sections. For example, go to the Mac section, you will only see the Mac sitemap.
Although GoodBarry doesn’t list out every page in the footer, but it does act as a sitemap where they list the pages with the most significant content.
In the recent redesign of the White House website, browsing the site has been made easier by using the dropdown menus and sitemap in the footer.
Miro separates the sitemap with a text bar “Looking for something?”.
You may also use the sitemap to connect to your network sites. Six Apart is a good example. In the footer, under the Six Apart Blog column, there are links to their sister sites: Typepad, Movable, and Vox.
In Clearspring, they split their Services section into two columns: Launchpad and WidgetMedia.
SquareSpace’s sitemap tells you which pages you’ve visited already. Notice the visited pages have a tiny check mark instead of the regular triangle icon?
SugarSync displays only the main level of the site in the footer, the full sitemap lists all pages.
Again, FreeAgent Central has a simplified sitemap in the footer with a link to the full sitemap.
FiveRuns creatively organizes their sitemap to put the main focus on their products.
I particularly like the "red nose" figures in the footer because they make the sitemap stand out.
Having too much empty space in the footer? Fill it with a sitemap. You don’t need to have a lot of pages to make a sitemap (Tigers is an example).
Get Satisfaction saves their header space by placing the main navigation (which is also their sitemap) in the footer.
Flashloaded sells Flash components, thus their footer sitemap only lists out the products.
Jamie Oliver displays a simpified sitemap in the footer and also provides a link to the full sitemap.
Nice and clean 5-column sitemap.
I’ve been showing a lot of big corporation sites. What if you have a smaller site? FortySeven Media is a good example of what you do with a portfolio site. They use the footer to display the latest entries of their blog and portfolio work.
This one is my favorite. Not only does it look elegant, but it also attracts readers’ attention by laying out the recent activities of the blog in a beautiful way.
Tips For Designing Footer Sitemap
Categorize – organize your links in categories.
Use Headings – use headings or titles for each category.
Be Consistent – the order of the links should be consistent.