Remaining competitive as a business owner in the modern digital age is time and resource intensive. If you wish to cut through the noise and outshine your biggest rivals, there’s a lot of work both on and off-site that you must take into consideration.
In this article, we’re going to focus on one very specific area of your website: ‘Above the Fold’. What does it mean in web design and what are the current best practices in 2023?
Read on below the fold and we’ll tell you everything you need to know…
What does ‘Above the Fold’ mean?
Above the fold refers to any content that is visible in a browser window when you first arrive on a website. Any content that you need to scroll down to reveal is considered as being ‘below the fold’.
The term ‘above the fold’ was originally a publishing term referring to any content on a newspaper that would appear on the top half of the page. As such, when a newspaper was displayed in a stand, the catchy headlines and bold imagery ‘above the fold’ would entice potential readers in to grab a paper and make a purchase.
Why is ‘Above the Fold’ important?
The way in which you lay out the content on your website is crucial to the overall user experience. Above the fold is especially important because, as briefly touched on, it’s the first thing that people encounter when they visit your website for the first time.
This is prime real estate.
Today, best practices dictate that you include all of the most important information that is critical for you achieving your business goals.
- You must grab your users’ attention immediately.
- The content should meet their expectations, based on their search activity.
- In B2B (business to business), you should have a clear CTA above the fold so your users understand what actions they need to take next.
As an example, this online marketing agency includes a brief introduction to who they are and what problems they help their clients solve. Additionally, to the right hand side of the page there is a contact form with a clear CTA: “Speak to a Specialist.” Following that, they immediately address social proof and case studies, thus indicating to their website visitors that they are a reputable agency worthy of trust.
How does ‘Above the Fold’ differ in mobile?
As mobile use is becoming increasingly popular, optimizing the fold for mobile use is very important. Given that mobile devices tend to be in portrait mode, your content should be optimized accordingly to fit that design style.
Some current best practices for mobile responsiveness are:
- Flexible layouts.
- Quality imagery.
- Cascading style sheets.
Where does SEO play into it?
Google has released a number of algorithm updates over recent years that will penalize websites who go overboard when it comes to ad-placement above the fold, thus pushing the critical content below.
As such, if you wish to achieve optimal results with your SEO, you should keep any ad-placement above the fold to an absolute minimum.
It’s all about balance – with a primary focus on the user experience.
A great place to start is by studying your analytics in order to determine your demographics. Which browsers do they frequently use? What is the typical screen size? Which devices are they using?
With this information, you’ll have a foundation upon which to optimize your website – based on how your most common users interact with your website.
Following that, you should look at A/B testing (or split-testing). That way, you can move various elements around the page and trial different layouts in order to determine which layout above the fold performs best.
It’s a lengthy process, but the littlest details can make the biggest impact in terms of your bounce rate, time spent on your site, and indeed your conversions – all of which are important metrics that will lead to optimal SEO performance.
- Above the fold refers to all content present on your web page before having to scroll downward.
- This is prime real estate and a great opportunity to hook, engage, and convert your website visitors.
- Optimizing above the fold with the user experience in mind is critical in reducing bounce rate, keeping your website visitors around for longer, and ultimately turning them into loyal paying customers.
Don’t underestimate the impact that the content and layout above the fold can have. First impressions are everything in digital marketing, so put your best foot forward!