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© Ugur Akinci
Writing the perfect article footer is important to maximize you chances of getting back-links and visitors. A good informative footer is where the potential payoff is for you as an article marketer.
Do the footer right, and you’ll enjoy a steady traffic of interested visitors over the years.
Do it wrong, and you’ve just wasted your time and energy on giving out useful information for free.
The article body is where you make an investment in your readers and make them feel obligated for providing useful information for free. Anthropological studies have proven that “reciprocity” is a deeply-rooted principle of human interaction. When people are given something for free they usually feel the urge to do something to “balance out” the “psychic account.”
The footer is where you provide an opportunity to “redress the psychic imbalance” by inviting the reader to visit your web site or buy your product/service.
Having said that, I believe you should resist the temptation to directly sell something at the footer. It’s better to adopt a soft approach for maximum click-through rate.
Here are some of my recommendations, all based on my article marketing experience since 2006:
1) Separate your footer from the rest of the article by a graphic delimiter, clearly signaling where the article body ends and where the footer begins. I use a line made up of asterisks.
2) Try to have as lean and simple a footer as possible.
I used to have footers that read like a mini-brochure of all I ever did in life and all the services and products I had to offer. I’m now embarrassed when I look at those footers replicated in my web sites throughout the Internet thanks to all the readers who found some value in my articles and reprinted them, just as I intended. No wonder I did not get a lot of click-through traffic from those early articles. Nobody’s fault but mine.
These days my footers are just two lines. One line leads to a landing page presenting my e-book on writing well. The second line is an invitation to join my free writing tips newsletter.
3) Summarize who you are in the first sentence of your footer. Make it as short and relevant as possible.
For example, you might have worked as a longshoreman, race car driver, a math teacher and a Navy pilot in the past. But if your article is about car racing, then your readers do not need to know in the other details of your past. Just bring forward your credential as a race car driver and ignore the rest.
NOTE: Obviously the biographical summary you provide must be true and not made up just for the sake of the article.
Here are some biographical summaries for your footer, provided as hypothetical examples:
(After an article about cooking:)
“Ugur Akinci is a professional cook with 20 years of restaurant experience.”
(After an article about politics:)
“Ugur Akinci is a professor of Political Science at XYZ University.”
(After an article about writing:)
“Ugur Akinci is a Fortune 500 writer with 20 years of experience.”
4) Your footer links have to be in line with the main body of your article.
If you write an article on how to cook well, do not follow it with a footer that contains a link to a site that sells hub caps or football paraphernalia. A cooking article that is followed by footer links for free subscription to a cooking list or a book on cooking would be perfect and what’s expected by the reader. Don’t frustrate reader expectations and “work the wood along its grain.”
This also means that it’d be a good idea not to write a marketing article unless you have meaningful content and links for the footer. The footer should be the “tail that wags the dog” if sending visitors to your web site or products is the main reason why you are writing marketing articles.
5) Make sure you know what the HTML-linking rules are for the platform on which you’re posting your articles. Some sites will automatically convert your URLs into clickable hot-links. Yet some others won’t do that. If your web site does not automatically create clickable links, you can type in your footer URL as follows:
“Please visit My Web Site.”
That will create a live link. When your readers click on it they’ll be sent to your preferred destination.