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Building Websites: Footer Credits


Written on March 30th, 2010 by Erik Reagan

Today I asked a simple question on twitter and got more responses than I expected. Some of the answers also caught me off guard so I thought I'd extend the question to the blog so we had more room to chat and discuss. The question was regarding how many people/firms add their credits to the footer of the websites they build. At Ideal Design Firm we've been doing that since I can remember but lately I've questioned the purpose it serves. I can't recall a single instance where a client has asked us to remove our name or logo but I also can't recall an instance where we've received business from it. I'd discuss my suspicions as to why those have been our results but that's another topic.

So here's the question verbatim:

Web biz owners: Do you require your projects have a “credit” to you on their site? (logo or name in footer, etc)”

So, let's chat!

What has your practice been? What has led you to your decisions and what results have you seen from said decisions?

Here are a few responses I've already received on twitter:

yes we do ”

we usually add a link in the footer by default, but no big deal if we don't... Doesn't suit every design and/or customer ”

Usually, yes. Unless of course I'm being subcontracted. In which case I request that *NO* credit is used. ”

no--I hate that. Doesn't accomplish goals for your customers customers. ”

I ask, usually really small text in the footer. Not required ”

I place it in there during the design phase. Most of the time they don't say anything, but if they ask I'll remove it. ”

My theory is - I put one on, until someone questions it being there. I'm sure there are sites where its not appropriate however. ”

Yes, typically. ”

No. Maybe in the code but generally not public-facing. ”

I've received dozens of quality inquiries and a number of great jobs from simple credit links. Unobtrusive, effective marketing.

Consider, EE devs love to put "powered by ExpressionEngine" in the footer. Why the hell wouldn't you include your studio link? ”
@16toads, part 2

I just add it; no requirement. If a client wants it removed I do (that's only happened once or twice). ”

Nope ”

I don't, personally, but we do at work. Sometimes personal clients ask me to add a link back to my stuff though. ”

I think most high end companies don't. Your work and reputation speak for you. People interested will contact the business. ”



I think you missed my tweet on this

I ask, usually really small text in the footer. Not required

To expand on that, My first couple of sites, I required it, but then I figured the client was already paying me to do their site so I didn’t feel right requiring advertising. What I do now is ask and usually set it in the footer as a small unobtrusive text link.

One client was so happy he insisted that I place a 250x250 banner on his site, which actually led to another job about 9 months later.

Sean on Mar 30th, 2010 at 8:58 pm

I always put my credit in the footer of sites I design and build. Only once in seven years has a client asked me not to. I do get traffic from some of the sites too, though I can’t say with certainty that the link alone has led directly to business.

Bud Parr on Mar 30th, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Thanks for pointing that out. I missed 6 other replies on twitter because I didn’t scroll down enough on my “at” replies. I’ve amended the blog entry and added the other replies.

That’s pretty awesome that a client gave you free banner ad placement!

We have received traffic from the footer links. That I can’t deny. I suppose I could better state it this way: We are not aware of any business being generated from those links. Perhaps we have had a few folks come on board by clicking over but as far as we’ve learned (from asking “how did you hear about us”) the footer links don’t seem to have an impact. Again, I have some suspicions that are specific to our company as to why.

Erik Reagan on Mar 30th, 2010 at 9:22 pm

“I think most high end companies don’t. Your work and reputation speak for you.”

No offense, but this statement is pure crap ... in addition to being mildly offensive.

The issue of including a credit link (marketing link) is another in a very long line of stupid, purely subjective controversies creatives love to revel in in their attempts to set themselves apart from competitors they perceive as being lesser professionals or, perhaps, put more aptly, less enlightened professionals. It’s an opinion. Period.

Including a marketing link on a site you create is, in my humble opinion, smart business. It’s simple, and in fifteen years, I’ve only ever had one client ask me if it was mandatory. Credit links can be removed as easily as “No problem”. 

“People interested will contact the business.”

This is a statement with which I absolutely agree.  But, I’ll one up the thought by stating that “potential clients who see a design they like while surfing the web and have the wherewithal to click on my credit link to find me” are usually excellent clients. Why? Because, with that simple gesture, they’ve already proven they did their homework before contacting me.

Like I mentioned, I’ve gotten many many inquiries over the years as a result of my credit links. Case in point, my biggest current job is just such an example ... I was one of three companies they contacted. I won the job despite the fact that I had the highest rates. It’s a great project, they’re great clients, and the budget is, well, great.

Sorry to prove the naysayers wrong, but credit links work.

Paul Burton on Mar 30th, 2010 at 9:24 pm


“Because, with that simple gesture, they’ve already proven they did their homework before contacting me.”

That’s a great point that I had not considered. Thanks for sharing more thoughts!

Erik Reagan on Mar 30th, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I always do and have never been asked to remove it yet. Another reason why you might want to include it there (and I’ve had this situation relayed back to me in the past) is if a client you’ve done a site for is having a conversation with someone about their site and wants to recommend you and they aren’t in front of a computer or have a pen & paper handy, they can say “The link’s at the bottom of every page of my site.”

John Faulds on Mar 30th, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Generally I ask and if they say yes I might give them a small discount, or knock off a month of hosting. Generally they don’t mind at all, especially when we both get something beneficial from it.

Zane DeGraffenried on Mar 31st, 2010 at 12:19 pm

An older company I worked for made it a priority that their name was on every single site they did, however, clients did ask them to remove it on several occasions and they never got any busines from it. I was against it then, and now in working for myself I never put my company’s name on a site. As a designer it seems odd. Would you put your name on a brochure you designed? How about a business card? If you do good work your clients will give you the credit you deserve for the project instead of advertising on their space.

Jeremy on Apr 1st, 2010 at 7:48 pm

We usually always add some type of backlink to work that we’ve done, unless it was work that we were hired on as a 3rd party - which in case the original web design company gets the link in the footer.

I think it’s pretty common for a freelancer/design company to add a link back to their site, sometimes it’ll lead to additional work and it’s another link to build your backlinks.

Daniel Veiga on Jul 13th, 2010 at 4:00 am

I do this for sites that I end up liking the design of - that is, when clients don’t mash it to pieces in their effort to forget why they were paying me to design something in the first place.

It helps with SEO and lets you put a little stamp on your work, though it should be very unobtrusive…that said, I usually use a single color version of my logo in the bottom right footer. Sometimes clients ask me not to have it on there, and sometimes it has generated work for me.

The argument that it does nothing for your clients’ customers doesn’t really sit with me - since I have had at least 3 projects confirmed from this practice, it’s helped 3 people. Having a copyright on every site doesn’t help customers either, but everyone feels like they need to have them on their anyway…

nathan on Dec 10th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

We do this for advertising reasons and also to guard against others trying to take credit for our work. I once needed some extensive work done and was looking for companies to help out. I joined a couple of those outsourcing job sites (can’t remember the names). Quite a number of companies from all over the world referred me to sites they had built, but honestly there was really no proof that they were the ones who actually built these sites. I only replied to those whose credits were actually on the sites they referred me to.

Efe on Jul 7th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

It’s not a must but on a lower-priced project I like to add it if possible. It’s nice for SEO, even subtly.

Thomas Bennett on Feb 21st, 2012 at 10:15 am

Very effective write about Footer Credits. I am read first and last. Thanks “Erik Reagan”

johnclark on Oct 20th, 2012 at 1:09 am

I add a credit note in footer on all the sites i build. It provides me a good backlink and exposure to people across the Globe ;)

Geekyard on Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:56 am

I was very appriciated on the post you have written. I enjoyed the information about Footer Credits.Thanks “Erik Reagan”

Mary Lau on Nov 9th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Your Words of Wisdom

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