When you’ve had someone build a website for you, it turns out to be common practice for that “someone”, usually a web developer or a web designer, to add a “design by” or “website developed by” footer link to your site. Let me make my point clearly: if they haven’t given you a discount to add that link, you should remove the link entirely.
Let’s draw an analogy: when you have someone build a house for you, what would you say if they’d say: “oh and btw, we’ll leave a banner up on your roof”, or to make the analogy better, when they said nothing at all and just did it? You’d either be mad and tell them to come take it off, or you’d throw it off yourself, right?
The question is of course: why do web designers and web developers do this? The reasons are simple: they’d like everyone to know that they designed that certain website and they use these footer links (if they’re smart), to increase their search engine rankings. Luckily search engines, most notably Google, have been aware of this practice and are pretty good at making links in footers of pages not work as well, but that doesn’t change the basic fact that the link should not be there.
The reason why this annoys me is that it’s abusing the fact that most people who have a website built either for themselves or their company don’t know the value of these links. It’s basically the web developer taking advantage of the ignorance of their customer. A customer who, in most cases, wouldn’t even know how to take a link like that out. Now what does that make them?
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying web developers and web designers can’t have these links, they should just be very open about it and not make it a default. If you’re a customer with footer links on your site, and it hasn’t been discussed with you, nor is it not in the contract with your web developer or designer, feel free to take it off or, better yet, ask for that discount.
If you’re using a WordPress theme or free template that has one of these footer links, and you’ve gotten it for free, I’d leave it there, because that’s how you “pay” the designer / developer. If it has multiple links like that, or really spammy ones like sometimes happens on non-legit theme sites, I’d personally take them out immediately, or not use the theme at all.