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Above the fold vs below the fold, and why it’s important

Quick post tonight about something it’s vital you understand (if you have a website).

It’s a bit of a throwback to when we read news from actual broadsheet newspapers.

Editors quickly realised that papers sold more (much more) when they put the main headlines in large font on the front of the paper, above the fold, so that customers’s attention could be grabbed while the paper was still folded on the shelf.

When the put the headlines on the lower half of the page (effectively out of sight before purchase was made), you guessed it, sales plummeted.

This translates, and is magnified in the digital medium, i.e. your website.

In fact, Jacob Nielsen, ‘father of web usability’ studied that exact phenomenon and found:

So it’s clearly very important what you put on the space on your site immediately visible to the user when your site loads.

So what do you need to include there?

The five second test

Five seconds may seem like a short time, but in fact it is more than enough time for a website visitor to determine if there is enough quality in your website to stay, or to leave potentially never to return.

Using a 5 second test to optimise conversion is a powerful way to improve the return on investment (ROI) of your website.

This is because a critical driver of website success is the ability of the home page, or any page for that matter, to deliver three pieces of critical information in five seconds or less:

  • Who are you?
  • What product or service do you provide?
  • Why should I care (what’s in it for ME)?

Websites that are able to quickly and efficiently communicate these three critical elements within 5 seconds typically have much better conversion, and thus ROI than websites that don’t.

Strong Call to Action (CTA)

Believe if or not, you visitors don’t want to dredge through a lot of stuff on your side to figure out a way to get in touch with you, or make a purchase, or leave their email address, or request a callback.

If they can’t find what it is they need to do next, they’ll simply leave your site and go to another – and if you’re a local business, it’ll probably be your competitor’s

If they can't find quickly what the next step is...

they’ll simply leave your site and go to another – and if you’re a local business, it’ll probably be your competitor’s.

So you need to tell them what to do – what’s the next step in their journey.

What is it you want your visitor to do next?

Images of your clients/community

The two points above can relate to ANY site, but this one is especially important when it comes to fitness sites.

For some, taking the first step to even request information from you is a HUGE barrior.

You want to make that barrier as small as possible, and showing happy pictures of your actual clients does that because:

  1. They see people similar to themselves, and think “Hey they’re just like me. Maybe I can do that”.
  2. People want to be part of something, so show them the great friendly community you have just a phone call away.
  3. Social Proof: You can read more of the background to this in Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, but the crux of it is that people will be lead by others, driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation. This is why empty restaurants place diners first at the window seats so passersby make the assumption that the food must be good if others are eating there.

Conclusion

What you put above the fold MATTERS. Not in some theoretical way, but in cold, hard cash.

If you’re not looking at this when it comes to your own website, you’re leaving money on the table.

 

Joe (Fitness Website Hero)
 

Joe's been working in diverse areas of computing for over 20 years. He's developed number-crunching systems for fisheries, database applications for local government, and experimental software for academic research. On top of all that, Joe is co-owner of one of the top PT studios in the country, and has helped grow that business from zero to hero from the inside out. His passion is helping FitPros blow their competition out of the water with an online presence that sells them and their services.

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