The Theme Footer Where The Sneaky Stuff Resides

Footer General Blog Information

footerThe place to start when picking a new theme is at the bottom. One of the most overlooked elements of a theme is the footer. The footer is one of the first files I check when selecting a theme. It is a common practice for the footer to be the location for Copyright, the theme’s name and a link to the creator of the theme. The WP version is often included in the text.

Footer Sneaky Stuff or Where the Shenanigans Live

Some themes will tell you right up front they are free to use but have sponsored links embedded in the theme. The place these link typically exist are in the footer.

  • I want to know where this theme is sending links to.
  • I don’t want my blog linked to any “bad neighborhoods”.
  • I don’t want any hidden text in the footer (black-hat SEO that will bring you a penalty)
  • I don’t want an excessive number of links in the footer either.

Typically when I find this I move on. Once in a while I find a theme so engaging I will remove the footer, build one of my own and give credit where it is due, but if it is linked to bad neighborhoods or practices blackhat SEO which could be detrimental to me and my business. The best thing to do is skip this theme and author and move on.

I recently encountered a theme author giving away themes but with the stipulation you had to leave the footer intact. The code for the footer was encrypted and when you looked at the theme in the browser all appeared to be on the up and up; link back to the theme and theme author. But contained in the footer was white text on a white background with links to a highly suspect business. It appeared almost all this authors themes were the same.

Checking the Code and Theme Flow

You can not modify a theme easily and in some cases not at all if you don’t look at the code. This is how I found the hidden text and links in the footer code mentioned above. When looking at the Demo Site, or after installing the theme on your test site all you have to do is Look at the source code. In IE this is right click and “View Source” in Firefox it is right click and “View Page Source“. this will show you the code behind the browser. You will use this over and over again when modifying CSS and checking to see how the blog is structured to display in the browser.

When picking that new theme you should check the footer first, check the code using the view source and then decide if you can live with those links on every page of your blog. Personally, I think you already know, I don’t like sponsored link blog themes. I’m very happy to provide links to the author of the blog. I’m also not shy about saying the theme has been modified by me. This isn’t to brag or say “Look what I did” it is to let anyone know that is looking for a theme like yours that going to this theme link in the footer isn’t going to get you to a theme that looks like mine.

If you make significant changes to the theme it is perfectly acceptable to add “modified” at the bottom.

Start with the footer, it is a real waste of time to put a lot of work into modifying a theme then get to the footer file and find out you can’t live with links and practices in the theme footer. Once you know the theme has a clean bottom and it is the one you want to spend time modifying then we move on to what we want to modify and add to the footer.

Real Estate Blog Footer

For a Real Estate blog I think there should also be a couple of things added.

  1. Fair Housing Logo
  2. Information Deemed Reliable But Not Guaranteed

Those are what I call CYA additions.

Blog Tracking Codes

This is the best place to put your tracking code for such things as:

  • Google Analytics
  • Hittail
  • Woopra
  • Any Statistical Tracking Program

The Footer appears on every page and is easy to navigate and add those java scripts that tracking sites like you to add.

This is also one of the thinks that goes on our checklist.

  • Check To be sure you copy these codes from your old theme to the new.

If you forget to add these codes to your new theme, you will suddenly see there are no stats because you forgot to add the tracking codes to the footer.php file of the new theme.

The WordPress Theme Editor

This has always been one of my favorite parts of WordPress. I like the theme editor. The theme files to the right, the available themes on top. To me it is intuitive and easy to navigate.

Workflow Nugget: It doesn’t matter if you are using IE or Firefox you should use a tab browser. To make changes to themes I open one tab with the theme editor and one tab with the blog as it appear when opened on the web. Instead of making changes, clicking view site then back to make additional changes I make a change, save, click the other tab, F5 to refresh and tab back to make further changes. This will speed up the process of tweaking your theme especially when it comes to changing the CSS Style sheet.

Using the WordPress Theme Editor it is easy to copy code from one theme to another. On the Theme Editor page there is a drop down box with all the themes you have in your Theme Directory. You can edit or copy code from any of these theme without having to activate the theme. I love this feature of the WordPress theme editor. It is a quick and easy way to transfer tracking codes or other footer modifications and additions you have on your current theme to the new one.

Starting out with a good footer for a foundation and know you have a clean bottom is always a good place to start when selecting and modifying a theme.

Comments

  1. Dave-
    I usually just put nofollows on the footer links if they are semi-legit. I want to give credit, but save Google juice.

    You mention adding Google Analytics and HitTail manually. Why don’t you just use the WP Plug-ins for those?

  2. Steve Belt says:

    Dave, with regard to the fair housing logo, it is my understanding that our commission (Arizona) thinks the logo should be visible on EVERY page, and seen without scrolling. For this reason, I think it needs to be in the header, or at the top of the sidebar.

    That is, if the page has a visible advert for a home for sale. If there’s no evidence of a home for sale, I suppose it could be anywhere, or not at all.

    At any rate, that’s my understanding of the commissioner’s standards.

  3. Steve,

    I knew that was true of the broker Logo or brokerage name, but have never heard of it for the fair housing logo.

    Can you check that for me and send me a link to the specific rule, I would appreciate it.

  4. Steve Belt says:

    Dave, I don’t have a link. This is what I was told by my broker in a broker’s basic course I took a few years ago. I was also told this in a GRI class (or 2). In each case, it was a broker tell me their experience of the interpretation of the rules by our commissioner. Our commissioner has changed since these classes, and perhaps the rules are softer now, but I still prefer to be safe, rather than sorry.