When customizing WordPress websites, there are many elements to edit, and you might overlook a crucial area in your site, and that’s the footer.
In this article, I’ll answer the questions about the footer and why it’s crucial for your WordPress site. I’ll also include five different ways on how to edit footer in WordPress to get the best features and functionalities you can.
Let’s get started.
What is a Footer in WordPress?
The footer in WordPress refers to the bottom part of your website. It includes fixed sections that are displayed across all your site’s pages. The WordPress footer plays a crucial role in your website and contains important information. Some examples of the sections included in the footer are:
- Contact details
- Resources sections
- Product or service area
When you install WordPress, you’ll notice that some of their themes come with WordPress-branded footer copy. While this doesn’t precisely harm you in any way but it also doesn’t bring any benefits to your site. Please include your branding rather than WordPress’s.
I’ll provide the method to change it later on.
WordPress themes will usually have three to four footer widget areas that you can make changes to. There, you can remove or add elements, change the layout, fonts, color, place your social media icons, and many more customization options.
The footer area is also a great place to put Trust Signals like verification badges from providers like Visa. You can also place analytics tools in the footer like Google Analytics and other third-party analytics tools.
A feature-rich custom footer can significantly impact the customer experience.
5 Ways to Edit the Footer in WordPress
There are various ways to edit the footer area. Each method serves different purposes, and it’ll depend on your WordPress technical expertise, the theme you’re currently using, and what kind of changes you want to make.
Let’s take a look at the five different methods.
1. Editing the Footer via Theme Customizer
This is a beginner-friendly and straightforward method to use. It doesn’t require you to work with code or install a plugin to edit the footer in WordPress. However, this method is not available on every WordPress theme.
To start editing using the Theme Customizer, head to your WordPress Admin Dashboard. Then go to Appearance and click on the Customize section.
Once in, navigate to the Footer section. Different WordPress themes might have various customization options, but usually, they’d have a footer setting section where you can customize the content, background, colors, fonts, and add or remove elements.
You can also edit the layout, sub footer, and logo in the Theme Customizer. The tool will also let you preview the changes in real-time.
The most significant advantage of using this method is the unnecessary need to use code. The disadvantage is that the customization options depend on the theme author, thus granting you less flexibility.
If you prefer more options and flexibility, these other methods might be of help.
2. Editing the footer.php file
This is a method for users familiar with coding and who don’t want to use a plugin to edit the footer in WordPress. To start, head over to the Admin Dashboard. Click on Appearance and head to the Theme Editor section.
The Style.css file will then open by default. Navigate to the Theme Files section on the right and find the footer.php file located under the Theme Footer.
Once in, scroll down and place the code to edit your WordPress footer right above the </body> tag. When you’re done, click the Update File button, and the changes will be applied instantly.
Do know that you should avoid removing any code lines from the php file, though WordPress checks the code before you save and will give an error message if something goes wrong.
One Important note is that you should create a child theme and apply the footer files’ changes there. You should do this because if you save it on your parent theme, the changes will only be applied to the specific theme until you update it.
When an update eventually comes, the existing code will be replaced with the new, so the changes you made before are all lost. You can use a plugin to help create a child theme. One simple-to-use option is the Child Theme Configurator.
WordPress also allows you to edit the footer.php template file on your computer. To get the code, simply go to the wp-content/theme/*the theme name*/footer.php. This will allow you to start editing using FTP (File Transfer Protocol). To start, you first need to create an FTP account. You can create one by heading to your control panel and look for the FTP accounts section.
FileZilla is our FTP client of choice, however, most clients work similarly, so you should be able to follow along.
After creating your account, open the software. Once you’re in, the left side will display files and folders you have on your computer, and the right side shows the data you have on your web server.
Right-click on the file and press the View/Edit section. A sample copy of the code will be downloaded to your computer. You can then proceed to edit the code using Notepad or your chosen code editor. Once you’re done with editing, you can upload it back to the web server.
Remember to check the website to see if there are any errors or not.
3. Edit the footer via a plugin
Another way to edit the footer in WordPress is by installing a plugin. There are plenty of plugins to edit the footer area. To start, find the plugin that fits your needs. I’d recommend the Insert Headers and Footers plugin. You can edit both header and footer at the same plugin.
To add plugins, head to the Admin Dashboard and click on the Plugins section. Click on the Add New subsection, then search for the plugin you want to install. Hit the Install Now button located next to the plugin’s name to begin the process.
Once installed, activate the plugin by clicking on the Activate button located where the Install Now button was.
Head over to the Settings in your Dashboard to see the plugin’s settings. Then click on it to begin customizing the WordPress footer. Insert the code you want in the footer area and hit Save. That’s it. You’re done!
Don’t forget to check the frontend to make sure it’s working correctly. The great thing is that the customization is saved in the plugin, so if your specific theme gets updated, it won’t be replaced by the new settings. Thus eliminating the need to create a child theme.
4. Add Widgets to Your Footer
Widget is another word used to describe areas to add content like text, videos and tools shown on your site’s sidebars and footer. To start adding, rearranging, or removing widgets, head to your Dashboard again. Then go to the Appearance section, then click on the Widgets subsection.
On the left side, you’ll find the list of the available widgets you can add, and on the right side are the widget areas on your site. The number of areas differs depending on the WordPress theme files you use.
To add a widget, just drag and drop the widget to the Footer Widget Area on the right side.
You might want to add links to your other pages on your site. To do that, head over to the Appearance section again and head to the Menu subsection. Then click on the create a new menu label.
You will then be prompted to provide a name for your new menu to place your links. Enter the word that fits the links, so it’s easily identifiable. Once done, click the Create Menu button.
You can now add the menu to your widget area, head back to the Widgets subsection then move the new menu to the right side.
It’s also a good practice to include your social media icons on your WordPress footer. To do that, you can install and activate a plugin. The Social Icons Widget plugin by WPZOOM is a good example.
Once you have the plugin activated, head back to the Widgets subsection and click on the plugin to expand it.
Select the Footer area you want the icons to appear and click on Add Widget. You’ll then come across the settings where you can set up how the icon will look like. You can select the social icons you want to appear and insert the URL to your social media accounts at the end of the settings.
Once done, click the Save button, and you’re done.
If you want to remove a widget from the footer, the process is similar to adding one. Click on the widget you want to remove. You’ll find the link to delete it. By deleting the widget, it will also delete the settings.
If you want to remove a widget from the footer temporarily, you can drag it to the Inactive Widgets area on the left side. You can simply add them back in again by dragging them to the right side.
5. Remove WordPress Watermarks From the Footer
As mentioned in the introduction, many WordPress themes – by default – show a “Powered by WordPress” or “Proudly powered by WordPress” link in their WordPress footer. When you click the link, it will redirect you to wordpress.org, where the site is built.
Luckily, it’s relatively easy to remove the link. You can either use a plugin or go to the Theme customizer.
If you don’t want to edit the theme files, you can try the Remove Footer Credit plugin, which – as the name suggests – removes the WordPress footer text credit.
First, install and activate the plugin, then head to the plugin settings. You’ll find two customization sections. Step 1 is to remove any text, and Step 2 to key in your own footer text credit.
All you need to do is enter the WordPress watermarks code in Step 1 and leave Step 2 blank if you simply want to remove the watermarks. Hit Save, and you’re done.
If you do want to edit using the Theme Customizer, once you’re in the customizer, look for the option to edit the site footer. Head to the Foot Bar and just delete your footer bar’s text with the WordPress watermarks. Hit Publish once you’re done, and the watermark should be deleted.
If your theme doesn’t support the option to edit the WordPress footer content and you don’t want to look for a plugin, you can always manually delete the texts. Login to your FTP client account in FileZilla and connect it to WordPress.
Since you already have the wp-content/theme/*the theme name*/footer.php downloaded, open it again and edit it in your Notepad or other text editors.
Find the line with the “Powered by WordPress” or “Proudly powered by WordPress” text and simply delete or change it to your own words.
Now you know the various ways to edit your site’s Footer on WordPress. Let’s recap on what those methods are:
- Editing the Footer via Theme Customizer
- Editing the footer.php
- Edit the Footer via a Plugin
- Add Widgets to Your Footer
- Remove WordPress Watermarks From the Footer
All that’s left now is to start customizing your WordPress footer, display the information that your customers might need, and remove anything unnecessary.
Remember always to always back up your site before making changes, and check it once you make an edit to check for errors. Checking before customers come across it is an excellent practice to positively impact the customer experience.