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The Top 5 Design Elements to Put Above the Fold on Your Website
Digital marketing and print marketing both set very specific rules when it comes to the designing of websites. But sometimes they cross over into each other where marketers have coined and dubbed the top part of your website which is the first thing people see when they visit it as "above the fold". And being an expert webmaster and designer or SEO is just one part of website design you'll need to get right if you want to add value to your site.
By adding the right elements above the fold (the top part) of your site, you'll increase value in that site in the eyes of your visitors as well as trust and also increase engagement with it as well. Trust me when I say that most activity on your site will always take place above the fold. Just use any heatmap and you'll see after a while.
But knowing what the best design elements to put above the fold in your website is half the battle (most people don't even scroll down past the fold). The other half is actually implementing them. So here's the top 5 website design elements to put above the fold of your site for all of these reasons!
1. Your Byline, Motto or Slogan
Your business or companies byline or slogan is what people visiting your site should see first before anything else. Your byline, motto or slogan, otherwise known as or referred to as your "Value Proposition" tells visitors who you are and what you're all about and why they should even care and give you their time of day. So by making your byline clearly visible from the start you let people know right off the bat what you're about and why they will want to continue browsing and using your website.
A great example of good value proposition is the Moz.com website. Since they're an SEO service their byline says "SEO Simplified" which lets people know their business is all about simplifying SEO which is something someone completely new to SEO and needs it will like to hear. Of course, you could also put your business motto, slogan or byline in the footer of your website as well but nobody sees the footer first if at all so it doesn't work quite as well needless to say.
2. Social Proof & Connections
Every website that needs some credibility needs some social proof! What is social proof? Basically social proof, otherwise known as "social influence" is a kind of psychological phenomenon numbers game where you gain peoples trust in you or your brand or business by having things like testimonials, reviews or even celeb endorsements. Think badges and brand logos that people already know and can identify with.
Even if it's just links to your social networking profiles, pages and sites like your Facebook page, Twitter profile, Instagram, YouTube etc etc. But since social proof can be so effective at getting people to trust in your brand or business then if you do have pages that exist that reveal that side of yourself, your company, business or brand then you should take advantage of that by linking to before the fold.
3. Contact Details
I see a lot of websites that seem to deliberately make it hard for people to contact them. Even some big sites and names are guilty of this! Some of them put it in the footer or behind another page or tab and make them jump through hoops just to send a simple message or email to them. But being able to contact you is easily will increase trust, engagement and sales from your website visitors if you put your contact details above the fold in your site.
Whether it's just a simple link to your contact details page or a form that opens on the fly. But actually putting your phone number or numbers (landline/mobile?) along with your actual physical address or location can help gain peoples trust in your site and engagement too when you make it known and easy to contact you from the start, above the fold.
4. The Navigation
The Nav bar is the only way people can actually navigate around your website and find the important pages you want them to find. So of course, obviously the Nav bar needs to be above the fold in a prominent place. If your visitors can't see it and have to fish around for it it's likely that you'll lose them as they get fed up and go elsewhere.
And just like on checking the design aesthetics of a website, you need to make sure it looks right, is placed right and works right in virtually every website, screen ratio and computer setup that visits your site so it's accessible by everyone that does no matter what computer or browser or screensize and ratio they're using.
5. Call To Action
If you have space for it, (and if you're using good clean design you should) you can also put a Call To Action above the fold too. People will scroll and then start reading your content which then contains its own Call To Actions within it. But you could also just put a small horizontal banner or button that makes use of a Call To Action that prompts them to do something that people visiting that site want to do. Such as buy the product they're interested in or getting them to subscribe to your newsletter. If you don't already do this, and you do it, you may be surprised by how effective it can be at increasing engagements, conversions and sales!
Why did I post this?
You've probably seen the movie Idiocracy from 2006? Where they cryogenically freeze and store some humans who return in the future only to find that instead of people and the world getting smarter and more intelligent it was actually getting dumber. Well that movie is sort of coming to life for people today! Because the attention span for the average human is worryingly decreasing more and more. In the past 10 years the average attention span for the average human has gone from 12 seconds to only 7 seconds time!
Does that effect you and why should you care? Think about it, when someone visits your site you have only 7 seconds to make sure your site loads fully and then grab their attention and get your point across and then gain their trust and then give them an option to engage in one of or of all these 5 elements. And by taking advantage of these elements above the fold you'll find you get a better response and more engagement. And you can take that to the bank!
Have you implemented these design elements into you site?
Did you see an increase in engagement and activity from it?
What other website design elements would you put above the fold?