Footer links in WordPress

wordpress-logo-stacked-rgbWordPress footer links are those links which are generated by a code such as:

<a href=”<?php echo esc_url( __( ‘http://wordpress.org/’, ‘twentyeleven’ ) ); ?>” title=”<?php esc_attr_e( ‘Semantic Personal Publishing Platform’, ‘twentyeleven’ ); ?>” rel=”generator”><?php printf( __( ‘Proudly powered by %s’, ‘twentyeleven’ ), ‘WordPress‘ ); ?></a>

Some thoughts about those links:

  • From what I read, it is not illegal to remove the WordPress links.
  • It is nice & kind to keep the links.
  • From a security perspective, I consider it rather unsafe to keep the links.
  • From a branding perspective, most of the time, the links are a bit disturbing.
  • From the “keep things simple, don’t steal the attention”-perspective, the links should disappear.

There are other links, also, generated by code such as:

<?php _e(‘Designed by ‘,’DeepFocus’); ?> <a href=”http://www.elegantthemes.com” title=”Elegant Themes”>Elegant Themes</a>

About those links:

  • For a free theme, let’s say you want to translate such a code, but you find that the code in footer.php can’t be altered. The solution is described here:

    • As long as people use these themes, this practice will continue. It’s basic economics.If you can’t decode the footer, try this:In your index.php find the line that says<?php get_footer(); ?>Above and below it place some marker text like this
      <!-- Evil Footer Devil FOUND -->
      <?php get_footer(); ?>
      <!-- Evil Footer Devil BEGONE -->

      Now visit your blog, view source, and copy the HTML from between the two markers. Rename your footer.php and make a new copy with that HTML code.

      Change it to your hearts content. Remember to insert the <?php wp_footer(); ?> before </body> tag.

      Keep in mind that if your theme’s license for use doe not permit this, then don’t do it. If that’s the case follow MichaelH’s advice and get a friendly theme. (source)

  • Basically, what the guy says above is to create footer2.php, to put in that file HTML code, not PHP code (you can get it by viewing the web site and doing a View Source command; then just copy & paste the code in the footer are). And then in index.php, single.php, page.php and the others, instead of running footer.php (the original PHP file), you run footer2.php.
  • The above practice is OK if you only want to translate the text from another language to other.
  • As a legal matter, I read it is not illegal to remove the links, even if the authors of the theme specifically ask you not to do so. But it is rather unethical – they created the theme for the links, you don’t like the links, then don’t use the theme.
  • For a premium theme – I generally tend to remove the link. I met once a theme author who asked for about 50$ for the theme and still asked for links, and only an upgraded version allowed you to remove the link. At that time, I ignored the warning, as it was a paid-for theme. Yes, a bit unethical from my part.

Personal notes:

  • I remove the links to theme & WordPress as much as I can. I tend not to use free theme, only premium themes.
  • I use WordPress a lot, I am thankful they exist. :) I try to write guides & tutorials for them, but links – that’s a no-no. They steal attention, they take up space, they are a security issue, but most of all, I don’t want to tell my visitors about WordPress. I just don’t like this. “Hey, I’m a chef, and I use a X-brand knife”. It’s rather irrelevant.
  • I don’t brand the web sites I administer / create in any way. I don’t write “implemented & maintained by Olivian Breda”. If you really want to know if a web site is made in WordPress or not, you should be able to do so. Similarly, if you want to know who made X web site, you should be able to ask the owner. Or if he feels so, he can write a blog post about it. If not, then perhaps my footer is not welcomed, either.

Note: Also see the Yahoo! Group on which I present similar issues:IMRo. To join, email imro-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and reply to the confirmation email.

I am a Freelancer. My expertise is in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) / UX (user experience) / WordPress. Co-founder of lumeaseoppc.ro (series of events on SEO & PPC) and cetd.ro (Book on branding for MDs). On a personal level, I like self-development - events, sports, healthy living, volunteering, reading. I live in London, and lots of things live in me.

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