There’s a prime piece of real estate sitting on your website. You may not have heard of the term “above the fold,” but it serves an important role in your web design. When utilized correctly, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor in terms of usability and engagement and ultimately increasing your engagement rates. You have less than 10 seconds to woo your visitors, so you need to make it count. In this blog, we’ll explain some best practices for above-the-fold optimation and some content tips for better conversion.
What Does “Above-the-Fold” Mean?
The term “above the fold” originated from the newspaper industry. The fold was the crease in the middle of the newspaper that separated the top half from the bottom half. Newspapers were folded so that the top portion became the front page and the most visible when displayed at the newsstand. The most eye-catching stories would go there to entice readers to purchase a paper. Websites operate the same way with viewers. The fold on your website is the top portion of your homepage that is visible before scrolling. You want your content strategically placed in this section to engage your visitors to explore your page. This can include important information such as the main headline, a call to action, and key images.
Research has shown that users are more likely to engage with content that is visible above the fold. This means that if a user doesn’t see something they’re interested in right away, they’re less likely to scroll down and continue exploring the page. Additionally, if a user has to scroll to find what they’re looking for, they may become frustrated and leave the site, resulting in a higher bounce rate. Above-the-fold optimization can help to improve user engagement and reduce bounce rates, which can lead to better conversion rates and higher search engine rankings.
Why is Above-The-Fold Optimization Important?
Above-the-fold content is the first thing users see when your website loads. It’s an important area for viewers and for SEO. If your content is optimized for search engines, you’ll improve your chances of being featured in the SERP or snippet. These sections are typically drawn from the best-performing pages – those that Google views as high-quality content and most helpful to the user’s search query. By including relevant keywords, engaging copy, and effective CTAs, you’re improving website visits, which improves your search rankings.
Google’s algorithms also emphasize page load speed and user experience as factors in the Core Web Vitals metrics. Optimizing your above-the-fold content to load in less than 2.5 seconds is a great way to improve your LCP score. The better your scores, the more your online ranking improves. As you build your above-the-fold content, it’s important to test your page load speed and Core Web Vitals. Using a site audit tool can give your site’s current CWV score and show any issues impacting your page load speed.
What Content Be Above-The-Fold?
As a general rule of thumb, good above-the-fold content should include internal links to other pages on your site and should be optimized for SEO. It should include a bold and catchy H1 tag that informs the users about other areas of your website so they’ll want to explore further. If a user lands on your page and they’re confused or unimpressed, they’ll bounce back to the SERP and head to your competitor’s links.
Bare minimum, these are the elements you should prioritize above the fold:
1. Unique Selling Proposition (Header)
Your USP is your all-inclusive statement that uniquely tells users what you have to offer and how they will benefit from it. It should be clear, compelling, and concise. Your goal here is to hook the user in with a big and powerful statement that clearly communicates what you do and what makes you different from the competition. You can also include some explainer copy below it that briefly elaborates to the user what problem you’ll solve for them.
2. Call-To-Action (CTA)
Another critical element is a powerful CTA that tells users exactly what you want them to do. It should be located in an area above-the-fold that makes it easy to find and immediately lets the visitor know where to go to take action. Your CTA should tie into your USP header to help drive immediate action. Make sure your CTA is motivating and unique but not so pushy that it drives users away.
Your CTA should be dependent on your goal, and which stage of the funnel your customers are in. Often times two CTAs can be used side by side above the fold. This way, you can help capture customers who are in the purchase phase and those that are still in the awareness phase. For example, one CTA could say “Get Started,” and another CTA next to it could say “Start Free Trial.”
3. Simple Navigation Bar
Ever visited a navigation bar where the drop-down menus included so many subcategories you don’t even know where to start? With navigation bars, less is more. Aim for 5-7 categories on the main bar. Keep your navigation simple and ensure each subcategory redirects visitors to other important pages on your website, such as separate service or product pages. Too many options can result in confusion and frustration. Consider adding quick-action categories such as “What’s New” or “Special Deals” to streamline customer navigation.
4. Contact Info
People don’t want to jump through hoops to figure out how to contact you. Providing your phone number and email above the fold makes it easy for users to discover how to contact you. It also adds trust to visitors that you’re a credible business. Your contact information doesn’t have to be big and shoved in their face. It just needs to be there.
Adding your logo, brand colors, font, and other elements is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and make a lasting impression on visitors. It doesn’t need to be over-the-top, just enough to make your website unique and eye-catching.
6. High-quality images and videos
Visuals sell. We love to look at pretty things, and captivating images and visuals are a great way to lure users in. Images can be photographs, illustrations, videos, or any graphic that compels users more than words can say. However, you must optimize your images for speed. Heavy images will bog down your website, leading to slow load time and irritated users. Make sure you have some image optimization tools on hand when loading your site’s content. When needed, you make need to customize the width and size values of images used, so have the right plug-in available just in case.
7. Focus on Mobile UX
It is crucial that your website is optimized for mobile. Make sure the padding for above-the-fold content is customized for smaller screens. Navigation bars often get neglected and lead to options that can’t be clicked because they weren’t resized correctly for mobile devices. Ensure navigation menus and buttons are all accessible by finger taps. This goes for your content, images, and other areas above the fold.
Above-the-fold optimization is essential in ensuring your website visitors don’t bounce off the page. By optimizing your content, you can increase user engagement and take the next step into becoming a customer. By following these strategies, you can help ensure that users can quickly and easily find the information they’re looking for and are more likely to stay on your site and take the desired action. These examples will help give you a great start in improving your above-the-fold content and user experience. If you have any questions about how to improve your website content or any area of your marketing, reach out to our team for more information.