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
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 visitor's away.
1. Flashing banners
2. Too many links
3. No clear USP
4. Time consuming flash animation
So what should you do to capture the attention of your visitor?
Here are the things you should include above the fold.
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
live easier? Help the visitor to earn an income? When you are
working out your USP and benefits...remember the difference
bewteen "benefits" and "features." If you have a product that is
reliable - that is a feature. The benefit would be peace of mind
or lower maintainence cost.
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.
Conclusion 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 manner. He is also a public
speaker and writes on search engine placement.