Above The Fold
Designing Above The Fold
The most value part of any web page is that part
which is shown in your browser before the need to scroll. This is
generally known as "above the fold."
Arguably, you have just 10 seconds to grab your visitors' attention.
That doesn't seem long, but as the brain can absorb thousands and
thousands bits of information per second...10 seconds is long enough
to get your message across!
The "above the fold" part of a web
page (especially of the home page) is the most valuable real estate
you have on your web site.
The first fold of your web site needs to communicate the biggest
benefit you have to offer your visitors. This is often referred
to as your Unique Selling Point or "USP". However, 7 out
of 10 web sites are poorly designed above the fold. Here are the
4 top pitfalls that drive visitors away.
1. Flashing banners
2. Too many links
3. No clear USP
4. Time consuming flash animation
1. Spell out your USP Answer the visitor's biggest question, "What's
in it for me?" Use a main headline and supplement it with a
secondary headline. Communicate benefits, benefits and more benefits
to the visitor. You should use a H1 or H2 tag for the main headline
and H3 for the supplementary headline.
Is your USP to save the visitor money? Offer a guarantee? Make
life easier? Help the visitor to earn an income? When you are working
out your USP and benefits...remember the difference between "benefits"
and "features." If you have a product that is reliable
- that is a feature. The benefit would be peace of mind or lower
2. Opt-in Email address or Bookmark If you offer your visitor the
chance to bookmark or opt-in to a newsletter or request more information
then place the links into the "above the fold." You should
do this for every page. You have worked so hard to build and promote
your website and now you are attracting traffic, but if you can
get an email address or allow your visitor to bookmark you, you
will increase your chance to continue promoting to visitors after
they have left your web site
3. Navigation I am sure some “smart alecs” will say your navigation
should never be above the fold, forcing visitors to scroll down
and read your copy.
I could not agree less.
You should have your navigation above the fold, giving your visitor
full control. Ideally, place your navigation bar somewhere on the
top or left hand-side of every page.
When visitors first arrive at your site, they should be able to
find what they want quickly. Don't frustrate them with quirky and
quacky titles either. Use titles that convey benefits like, "Special
Offers" or "Savings" or that are generally understood.
4. Professional Design Avoid banners and flashy animation. Not
only does it consume real estate, but it will slow the page download...a
cardinal sin. Keep it simple. Each page on your website should download
in 15 seconds or less on a standard
Even if you are promoting affiliate programs banners have a generally
poor conversion rate. It is 10 times better to sell in context with
text or product links. Besides selling straight off the home page
has little credibility.
Remember the 10 second rule and design to communicate your USP
and biggest benefits in headlines. Present the chance to opt-in
or bookmark your page. Give your visitors the chance to navigate
around your site and avoid flashy animation. Use the above the fold
part of your web page shrewdly. Keep it simple and offer clean and
effective web design. That is the way hold your visitors for longer.
About the Author
Rich Vicar has been
providing search engine placement solutions since 1998. He is expert
in submitting your web site in an ethical, efficient and effective