Guest post by Kathy DalPra of The Online Close
“Above the fold” is a term that was originally coined in the newspaper industry to reference the top half of the front page, which is the part you can still see even when your newspaper is folded. It is considered the most coveted space in the entire newspaper.
Today, this same notion applies to your website. The area “above the fold” makes up the section of your home page, or any page in your website for that matter, that a visitor can view without scrolling down. When it comes to instantly engaging your website visitors, there is probably no space more crucial. A website owner that wants to capture their visitor’s attention quickly and inspire them to take action, needs to use this piece of web real estate wisely.
There are at least 5 key elements that I like my clients to have above the fold on the home page of their website to elicit a strong response from their visitors. Let’s take a look at these using our client site, Country Bouquets, a Mount Vernon, WA florist.
1. I always recommend that you list your phone number or email address at the top of every page in your site, if possible. If you want potential customers to pick up the phone and call you, then giving them the least number of steps to locate your phone number can only help your chances.
Equally important is to make your location visible at the top of your home page when you are a local businesses that serves a specific geographic region. We don’t want to make your visitors work to find out where you are.
2. Don’t overlook the power of having a compelling call to action in the top half of your home page. I prefer to use an opt-in strategy in order to help my clients grow their prospect list, but you can certainly implement another tactic if there is a different action you want your visitors to take.
3. One of the most common oversights I see website owners make on their home page is neglecting to clearly define what it is they do. A good portion of your home page visitors will be learning of your company for the first time and might not understand what you’re offering just yet. It’s your job to make this apparent as quickly as possible. In this example, we described the nature of the business right inside the logo tagline and supported it with descriptive photo captions that outlined each service available.
4. Naturally, one of the top elements that every home page should have above the fold is well-written, enticing copy that peaks the visitor’s interest and motivates them to continue through the discovery process. In the case of this website, we focused more on images than web copy to draw visitors in, with optimized copy following immediately after. However, for most service-based businesses, a professionally written marketing message that directly speaks to your target audience should appear front and center. The right words can literally make or break your visitor’s first impression.
5. Images and videos are highly effective for nearly every type of business. In an instant, they can tell your website visitors exactly what your brand is about and whether you align with them. For this reason, I recommend having one powerful image or photo above the fold that supports your marketing message and lets your visitors know that they are in the right place. For some businesses, videos can work equally well, depending on your target market.
6. Complex navigation is death to a website. If you want your visitors to take the time to explore your site and learn more about what you can do for them, then you have to make it easy on them. Navigational menus should be at the top of every page, neatly aligned using language your prospects will understand, not company terminology that takes a cipher to figure out.
Kathy DalPra is the creator of The Online Close™, a step-by-step process that helps small businesses to get more inquiries and close more sales on their website, while minimizing the work. Get free articles on how to turn more visitors into paying clients with her weekly ezine “The Online Close™” at www.theonlineclose.com.