What Does “Above the Fold” Mean and How Does it Help Your Website Convert?

Author: Tom Cottrill | Date Posted: Jun 20, 2022

When doing any sort of marketing, understanding how an audience reacts and receives your message is crucial to making sure it is hitting in the right way and creating the best plan of strategy. One important digital marketing tactic when developing a website is making sure the most important information on the site is above the fold and therefore easier for your visitors to access.

What Does Above the Fold Mean?

In web development, above the fold simply refers to the part of a page that is visible without having to scroll or click. So, whatever loads right when you go to a page’s URL, without having to touch anything to look for more content, is above the fold. The term comes from print media, where it’s actually related to the literal fold in the newspaper and what appears before people have to open it to read more.

How Has Above the Fold Changed?

Just as with all things digital, the concept of keeping content above the fold has changed quite a bit, but the importance of it hasn’t changed. The changes have mostly come from the transition from mostly desktop website views to mostly mobile. 

This means that even less information is visible for over 50% of website visitors without having to scroll, so any information that goes above the fold on the site has to be engaging enough to convince people to keep looking. Giving a quick idea of what the website will provide to the visitors and a little something to get them interested has to be done in 800×600 pixels in order to make sure it fits on various device screens. This includes making sure the menu and navigation are visible and easy for visitors to jump to exactly what information they want without having to dig too deep. Frustrated visitors with short attention spans—which constant access to cell phones has given most of us—will leave your site and go to a competitor’s.

The users on your site need to have a strong reason to want to scroll or click and further browse the website. It’s a space where you can tell visitors how your brand is different from the other sites they saw in their search results and why they should stick around and look deeper. All of this has become increasingly important as attention spans have shortened and mobile device use for searching the web has increased.

How Does a Website’s Above the Fold Help Conversion?

Aside from the crucial initial engagement you get by providing visitors information above the fold, you can utilize this part of your web page to really help visitors convert more often. The reason it’s so important for conversion is summed up in eight seconds. No, really. It takes people just eight seconds to lose interest and patience in what they’re reviewing online. That’s how long the average attention span is, but when it comes to looking for relevant information on a website, research shows that people will actually leave a site if it doesn’t load and start answering their questions in just four seconds. It probably took you longer to read this sentence. Keep that in mind when curating web content.

Above the fold is very visible and truly is the prime real estate of the site. Since first impressions are so important—and this is even more true in business—this is the single most important part of your page. It must scream purpose and interest to your visitors right from the very beginning. The better the above the fold on your page is, the more likely visitors are to browse the rest of your site.

Tips for Boosting Conversion

Using the above the fold part of your website to boost conversion can be very simply done if you follow some steps to get you going in the right direction.

Encourage Scrolling and Clicking

While the most engaging part of the content should be right there above the fold, treat the rest as a story. Encourage scrolling or clicking through by offering a preview of some content that lives below the fold or on another page, using a scroll graphic to show visitors that they have even more awesome information to look forward to, or include media that starts above the fold and ends below it (after introducing some really great content that they can see in its entirety). A website with content below the fold but no obvious indication that it’s there will confuse visitors and make them think the content they want isn’t there either.

Content is King

We cannot stress this enough. The single most useful tip we can give you is to include really quality content above the fold with clear CTAs. The quality of your content alone is what will determine whether people keep scrolling or clicking or if they just leave and move on to a competitor. Make sure your page’s H1 and taglines are both clear and engaging in a way that tells people exactly what kind of problem you’ll solve for them while still encouraging them to want to learn more.

Be Mindful of Ad Placement

Google algorithms have changed throughout the years and now penalize websites that place too many ads above the fold and push organic content lower. Make sure you’re not one of these websites, and don’t place more than one ad above the fold. Not only will Google penalize you, but it also looks spammy to the visitor and could cause an instant bounce from your site just because they aren’t even sure if you are a legitimate company.

Clear Navigation

As soon as a person loads your website, it should be very clear where they can go to get the information they desire. This means making sure the menu and navigation are clear and easy to use, a CTA button or link is front and center to guide them to the next logical location or easy contact, and that there are not too many options of places to go so they’re not confused. This includes making sure your website loads within 4 seconds and is easily accessible on all levels.

About Ignitro Studios

Since 2013, Ignitro Studios has been working to blend marketing and technology in support of agencies and other marketers. By understanding both sides of web development, we have a unique perspective and advantage within the industry. We provide design, development, project management, QA, and strategy, driving the bus so our clients don’t have to. We will work with our clients to get results while also empowering them to do their job better. Learn more about Ignitro Studios.

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