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December 14, 2020

How to Change a Footer in WordPress

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It's not something I do regularly, but I recently found myself needing to know how to change a footer in WordPress.

I'd recently converted my WordPress site to the new Shapeshift theme from Thrive Themes. I realized later I had left the copyright notice off. Shapeshift is their first theme compatible with their newly released Theme Builder.

During the conversion process, I used their site setup wizard. It was reasonably quick and straightforward to use. However, at each step, you had to make a choice of which template to use. In most cases, I opted for the minimalistic version.

Since then, I've found the need to revisit some of these template choices. The footer happens to be one of those elements I decided to resolve.

Create a New Staging Site

The first step when making structural changes to your site's layout is to create a staging site. I go through how to do this in my article How to Set Up a WordPress Staging Site.

The Design of My Current Footer Content

As mentioned earlier, my current footer design was minimalistic or straightforward. I had only the site logo and footer links for the about page, privacy policy, contact information, and blog categories. The blog categories were in a drop-down sub-menu.

The Design of My Current Footer

What I wanted to change is to include the copyright notice on the left side of the footer.

On the right side of the footer, I wanted to eliminate the About and Contact Information links. I also wanted to remove the drop-down menu choices so that a link for each category would appear instead.

I'd no desire to edit the footer code directly. The theme builder should have a drag and drop solution; there was something better than that.

Changing the Footer Section Using Thrive Theme Builder

I'm using the Shapeshift theme from Thrive Themes on my website. So I decided to look for an existing footer section I could change to avoid building it from scratch. Thrive Theme Builder is an extremely flexible theme customizer.

Editing your theme template is straightforward. From within, "Thrive Architect" is a gear icon next to the word "Page" at the editor's top left. A window displays the different sections of your page template. I clicked on the footer section.

Clicking the footer option brought me the next choice of editing the current footer or changing it. I wanted to change the footer.

How to Change a Footer in WordPress using Theme Builder

A new window popped up with at least a couple of pre-build footers to choose from. I wanted to keep the minimalistic style yet include the copyright along with the legal links. I selected the Shapeshift Menu 03.

I selected the Shapeshift Footer Design Menu 03

Changing the Footer Menu Using WordPress

The new footer style I selected was close to what I wanted, but not perfect. The new footer included a menu element. So to display the links I wanted, I had to change the menu in the WordPress admin.

Changing the Footer Menu Using WordPress

You will find menus under the WordPress Appearance menu. It's appropriately named "Menus."

WordPress Appearance menu

I selected the Footer Menu to edit. I then removed the links I no longer wanted and flattened the menu structure to display all the category links.

WordPress Menu Maintenance

This menu change brought me one step closer to my end goal. It's hard to see, but the logo and the menu elements are in different columns. Thrive Architect uses nested elements to achieve the end layout.

 In this case, the "Columns" element included two separate "Column" elements. There is a dividing line between the two "Column" elements. I have a red square around it in the image below.

I had to slide this divider to the left. This change made room for the entire footer menu to appear on one line.

How to Change a Footer in WordPress Step 1 Finished

The only task left was to set up the legal page links in the new footer.

Adding the Legal Links to the WordPress Footer

I previously had only the Privacy Policy link in my footer. The new style has placement options for the Privacy Policy, Disclaimer, and Terms and Conditions legal pages.

The legal links are a different kind of thrive Architect element. You can see they are part of a text element instead of the menu element. You can also see the name Legal with square brackets.

In Thrive Themes terminology, these are called Smart Site settings. You can access them from your Thrive Dashboard in your WordPress administration menu.

Thrive Themes Smart Site settings

Smart Site settings provide a means to define global fields. Global fields allow you to use these fields at any place in your site layout. The value of these, however, is determined in a central location.

Most often, you would use these with standard information that does not change frequently. Examples of this would be your company details, including name, address, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Other examples of data to use with global fields are Legal information. This information could include a privacy policy, disclaimer, terms and conditions, and contact data used within your WordPress site.

How to Change a Footer in WordPress Smart Site Settings

The legal information is what we're concerned about at this time. More specifically, privacy policy. I already had a privacy policy page created, and I needed to incorporate that into the standard footer design.

Editing the global symbol for this is the most manageable and most reusable solution. I only need to edit this "global field," enter the URL value to my privacy policy page and save the changes.

The new link value automatically updates all links in my site, which used this global field symbol.

enter the URL value to my privacy policy page

Original Goals of Changing My WordPress Footer Completed

What I wanted to change in my WordPress website footer has now been completed. It has Powered by WordPress in the footer now also.

Original Goals of How to Change a Footer in WordPress Completed

In the process, though, I realized that I needed the disclaimer and terms and conditions legal pages. The easiest way to this is by using the WP Legal Pages WordPress plugin.

This plugin is easy to install and use. Several of the generated page templates are free. The remainder requires a PRO version subscription. For now, I'm only going to create the DMCA and Terms of Use pages.

WP Legal Pages WordPress Plugin
Smart Site setting for Terms and Conditions
Smart Site settings for Disclaimer

My new WordPress footer is complete. At least until I think it needs changing again. For now, this concludes how to change a footer in WordPress.

MyPlaceIsHome Final WordPress Footer

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