Have you ever heard about the term “above the fold”? It has a lot to do with first impressions. When you are interacting with another human, you subconsciously decide whether you like them or not within the first 7 seconds.
The same thing happens when you visit a website – either it grabs your attention right away (within 8 seconds or so) and keeps you there, or your interest disappears, and you go to another page.
This is why above the fold (ATF) content matters. It is the first thing that you see, and ultimately decides whether your visit will be an immediate exit or you will stay for a while.
In this article, we are going to help you understand the definition of above the fold, and how to apply it for maximum efficiency.
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What Does Above the Fold Mean?
Not so long ago, people used to read newspapers as their main source of understanding what was going on in the world.
Newspapers typically came in a large format, and they were, more often than not, folded in the middle.
This meant that one side of the newspaper was instantly visible on the stands, while the other remained beneath the fold, so people could only read its contents, once they unfold the paper.
Naturally, publishers were aware of this. They knew that they had to make sure to place the headlines, lead stories, and appealing images at the top of the fold, in order to encourage readers to consider buying the paper.
Of course, nowadays, everything is digital, yet the “above the fold” model of attention-grabbing is more or less intact.
In terms of website design, above the fold is what is visible to users when they visit the website, without having to scroll.
Now, let us understand how to optimize your website and make it attractive for users.
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Above the Fold SEO Best Practices
- Optimize Your Headline and Copy
- Craft a Compelling Call to Action (CTA)
- Remove Distracting Backgrounds
- Ensure Website Navigation Is User Friendly
- Increase Your Loading Speed
- Build a Beautiful Design
- Analyze Website Metrics
1. Optimize Your Headline and Copy
Above the fold SEO should always start by optimizing your headlines and copy. You want users to be able to immediately understand what your page is all about, and how you will solve their problems.
Therefore, you must write a catchy headline that will both inform and spark the interest of people. Ideally, below the headline, you should have a short text that supports it with additional info, and summarizes what your business does.
For example, if you are a digital marketing agency, you’d probably want a headline similar to “Digital Marketing Services”, and a short listing of your services “SEO, PPC, Social Media Marketing, Link Building”, etc.
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2. Craft a Compelling Call to Action (CTA)
Naturally, on top of presenting your company, and what you do to your customers/readers, it is importance to tell users what action/s you want them to take. Keep in mind that a CTA is most effective when placed to the right of your content.
What is more, your call to action button should be motivating, and unique, with the ultimate goal of leading your audience to your sales page.
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3. Remove Distracting Backgrounds
Keep in mind that above the fold content should not be too overwhelming, or distracting. If you have too many elements – photos, text, background videos, pop-ups, and so on, visitors might leave your website in a hurry.
It is much better to focus on a simple, yet effective, and user-friendly design. After all, the purpose of the above the fold section is to place your best content there, not all your content.
Do not give in to temptation, pick your best image, craft a unique message to go with it, and you should be fine.
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4. Ensure Website Navigation Is User Friendly
One of the main aspects of a good user experience on any website is the navigation. Make sure you always follow website navigation best practices so that your website is easy to browse.
Essentially, this means you should have a simple and intuitive way to link to your most important web pages, such as: contact, about us, blog, features, plans/pricing.
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5. Increase Your Loading Speed
Above the fold or not, the loading speed of your website is perhaps the most significant factor of the entire user experience. A slow loading page will drive users away from your site, rendering even the most-finely crafted pages useless.
Always make sure your website is loading as fast as possible, as even a second can make a big difference.
A few practical steps to improve your above the fold loading time:
- Optimize your images by compressing, resizing, and reformatting them without sacrificing their quality.
- Structure your HTML in a way that allows your ATF content to load before anything else on the page.
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6. Build a Beautiful Design
Working properly and loading quickly is great for your above the fold content, but you should not underestimate the importance of looking great, too.
We talked about first impressions earlier, and a big part of making a good first impression is looking good.
However, although beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, there are some aesthetic design principles that are, more or less, universal. For instance, these include: balance, scale, hierarchy, repetition, contrast, proximity.
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7. Analyze Website Metrics
The only way to understand what is working and what could be improved on in your above the fold design is to check your website metrics.
They will tell you all about your bounce rate, exit rate, conversion rate, organic traffic, scroll depth, and so on. The best part is that you can access all that information through your Google Analytics.
Do not forget to regularly check how your website is performing, and experiment with different copies, images, and designs, in case you want to achieve more.
Additionally, you can also use behavioral analytics tools like HotJar and CrazzyEgg to help you understand how many users are scrolling through your website, and other vital information.
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What Should Go Below the Fold?
Now that we have established what should go above the fold, let’s talk a bit about what goes below the fold. After all, once you have the full attention of your audience, they will scroll down your page, and start looking around your site.
- Keep your content unique and interesting. Your below the fold content might have less visibility, but that does not mean you should neglect the content there. On the contrary, make sure that you keep the interest of users by providing exciting content that could potentially convert them into customers.
- Use bullet points and numbered lists. The way you format your content matters. Splitting your content into bullets and numbered lists makes it more scannable, and easier to read. It is especially useful for when you want to put an extra emphasis on certain features of your product or service.
- Place information in a logical order, based on importance. The most important information about your business should be placed above the fold, right? From there on, the most logical course of action would be to continue with additional key information. As users scroll through your pages, headlines, etc. any extra info should be important as well as relevant to what was advertised above the fold.
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Above the fold is not a new concept. It is still as relevant today as it was a hundred years ago. The only thing that has significantly changed is the way we access information.
Of course, the human attention span is now shorter than it was back in the day, and it will probably continue to decline. However, once again, first impressions are quite often what counts no matter if you are meeting someone new, or visiting a website for the first time.
If you fail to impress, chances are that you will not get a second chance to achieve your goals, and prosper. In fact, if you want to increase your odds of success, it is best to follow the best practices regarding above the fold SEO.
Last, but not least, remember that DevriX offers a wide range of services such as user experience optimization, content marketing, and website speed optimization. These services can help take your website to the next level and stay ahead of the competition.